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Member Focus – Handy Spelling Ltd

Between them, Sally and Maggie of Handy Spelling Ltd, have over 40 years of experience in education and design. In our latest Member Focus we explore the history of this educational design duo, and find out why they became members of ACID. Sally teaches spelling to groups and coaches teachers how to make kids excited about spelling, and Maggie practises and teaches communication design. More importantly, they are both mums of dyslexic kids and know first-hand how Handy products can help. We want to share a fascinating insight into these UK-based designers of educational & literacy tools for kids, all the inside stories of our amazingly diverse membership have one common theme – protecting their intellectual property to achieve growth and putting IP at the heart of their business strategy. Handy Spelling is no exception!  

When and why did you first start creating your products/designs?

Handy Spelling Stationery has been designed to support children with dyslexia, English as a foreign language or those who struggle with spelling.  We are both teachers and mums of dyslexic kids who didn’t want others to be put off of writing because of spelling like our own sons. We won the Stationery Award prize for new children’s stationery and have been supported by Jamie Oliver, Susie Dent and Holly Tucker – we are thrilled. Maggie and I have actually been developing and testing our products for about a year before we launched.  There was a lot to think about and we had great fun testing prototypes on children of different ages.

Did you have any knowledge of intellectual property when you started your business?

Early on, we went to courses run by the British Library to help with the legal considerations of setting up a new company and it was actually really scary with lots of people talking about how their ideas had been stolen by small, medium and even large nationally recognised companies so we were initially really secretive but then there comes a time when you have to get ‘out there’ so we knew we need legal protection first, it was a huge relief to find ACID, which I think we found via another small business that we were monitoring at the time. As we started talking about our concept, the one comment that kept coming up was, ‘That’s a great idea, I hope you’ve got it protected.’  So we were more than keen to sign up.

Which ACID Membership services have you used and how have you benefited from being a Member?

We have plastered the logo over all our social media and we like being part of a UK organisation.  We have made everything in the UK and would like all services and manufacturing to be sourced here.

Have you brought anything new to the marketplace recently that you would like to share?

We launched a series of pencils, tattoos, stickers and colouring mats all in one go in August, but there are plenty of new items in the pipeline.

What is the best aspect of ACID Membership for your business?

Undoubtedly, the security of being protected by experts in this ‘mine’ field.  The logo is a great deterrent and it’s more than helpful to be able to publicise ourselves to other small British brands in this article and on your website.

What advice would you offer to a new designer?

I would say be your own most severe critic in the initial stages and trial everything, then you have the joy of knowing you’ve done your best and the market is ready for you…. of course, you still make mistakes and that’s part of the drama of putting yourself out there, oh, and get covered for Intellectual Property via ACID.

ACID values the support of its members to enable it to campaign for design law reform. Do you have any messages for Government/Policy Makers on IP issues?

We hope the government will be mindful during Brexit to the threats that may come our way as we leave the EU and immediately demonstrate their intention to protect British businesses.

Handy Spelling Ltd

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