Young Innovators Success Stories: Liam Murphy, Stix Mindfulness Ltd, London
The young innovator making mindfulness fun for kids
Liam Murphy first started practising mindfulness while studying product design in Brighton. Studies have shown that deep breathing and other mindfulness techniques can boost mental wellbeing and reduce stress and anxiety.
Liam had the idea for Stix Mindfulness when he realised how useful the practice would have been for him at a younger age.
Stix aims to make mindfulness fun for kids. It is a screen-free electronic device that uses light, sound and vibrations to guide a child through a variety of mindfulness exercises. When Liam won the Young Innovators Award, he had already developed a working beta prototype and gained strong user feedback.
As one 11 year-old user said: “I like Stix a lot because they make me feel calm and chilled. It’s a really good product because there are calming activities and also exciting ones.” (Stixmindfulness.co.uk, 2022)
Routes to market
Liam’s primary goal during the programme was to establish a route to market. He needed to decide how much Stix would cost, the channels he would sell through and the brand he wanted to present.
The first milestone was a Kickstarter campaign. The campaign would test B2C (business to customer) demand, build a customer base and raise money for manufacturing.
“The campaign was a success, reaching 160 percent of its funding goal. It helped us to understand the price sensitivity around our product,” Liam explains.
With the support of his Innovation Champion from Innovate UK EDGE, Liam has also tested the waters of the B2B market by setting up pilot studies with schools, charities and education organisations.
“The support from my Innovation Champion really helped to develop a more robust route to market. We’ve now developed a B2B model for product sales, which we’re aiming to launch in 2023,” he says.
“An underrated area of the programme’s support is simply the fresh perspective from someone outside of your day-to-day workings. Having an innovation champion helps to challenge your current assumptions and develop your thinking. It also opened doors and started conversations with leading organisations.”
A high-growth year
The next step for Liam is to get Stix Mindfulness devices into customers’ hands. He’s currently working with UK manufacturers to create a batch of customer-ready products, which will be delivered to Kickstarter backers by Christmas and used for ongoing sales.
Liam has set his sights on a “high-growth year” in 2023. In addition to a full product launch, there are new concepts and an app subscription on the horizon.
“We just received the Design Foundations Grant from Innovate UK. The grant will support further innovation in the company, plus we’re launching our app subscription and expanding into new age groups through content development. We’re planning on raising seed funding too, which will help us meet our growth goals,” he says.
Despite the ambitious growth plans in place, Liam is keen to still make time for more research and studies. There are exciting partnerships in the pipeline that will help him to test the impact of Stix on children’s mental wellbeing.
“We’re really excited to have developed working partnerships with the UK’s leading neurodiversity charity, the ADHD Foundation, to set up a pilot study with primary schools based in Liverpool,” Liam explains.
“The data we will gather from this trial will be important in analysing the efficacy of the Stix remotes on children’s mental wellbeing, and will be the foundation for further clinical studies with the product.
An exciting challenge
Liam believes he’s grown in confidence during the Young Innovators programme. This has helped him with outreach to potential partners and collaborators, and he feels more resilient as an entrepreneur.
“The past year of development has been an exciting challenge. I’m now more resilient and ready to take on all possible challenges presented to me,” Liam says.
“For future applicants: this programme will provide you with 12 months of support from leading innovation advisors. Make sure you make the most of every piece of advice they give you and every introduction they set up – you never know where it might lead!”.
Join us and become part of the Young Innovators community. Find out more about the programme here.
Read the other Young Innovators’ success stories here.
The Young Innovators Awards are an annual competition from Innovate UK that finds, supports and celebrates young people with great business ideas.