A bright spark from Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen will hit TV screens this week as part of Sky series Make Me a Millionaire Inventor.
Daniel Sutherland (34), 3D Design course leader at Gray’s, features in an episode of the reality show which sees two specialist presenters identify promising patents by British inventors which have not yet made it to the shops and give the designers the opportunity to take the product to market.
Daniel, who is originally from Tain in Ross-Shire but is now based in Newtonhill, came up with Milkistar, an innovative take on the traditional baby bottle, in 2010.
The product has already attracted significant interest over the years, with Daniel winning funding from initiatives such as Starter for Six, Scottish Enterprise and Shell Live Wire to develop it. However, it had never quite made it to market.
He will hit screens in the fifth episode of the show on Sunday, May 11 at 7pm on Sky Pick.
“It was a bit of a surprise when the team from the show pitched up on my doorstep with cameras,” Daniel said.
After he had recovered from the shock, he was then guided through a variety of stages such as prototyping and product testing, as well as receiving expert help to hone his business and pitching skills.
Daniel said: “It was all very dramatic. The most nerve wracking bit of the process for me was hearing the feedback after the infomercial was screened to potential consumers. I had some sort of control over the rest of it, but I couldn’t control what the consumers thought of the product. Thankfully they all said they liked it and would buy it, which was fantastic to hear.”
Milkistar stands apart from competitors in the marketplace due to its unique four column design which minimises the time it takes to cool a freshly prepared feed.
Daniel, himself a father of three, explained: “By increasing the surface area of the bottle, it means that feeds can be heated and cooled much quicker. Using the Milkistar bottle, fresh feeds can be prepared in the less than six minutes which is a 75% reduction in comparison to other products. When you have a hungry baby in your arms, time is precious.”
He added: “The shape of the bottle also means that it’s really easy to hold.”
At the end of the episode Daniel pitches to a panel of potential investors and distributors who have the opportunity to fund the product – with very positive results.
He said: “In five years there has only been one point where I felt like giving up on the product, but then I realised that I’m addicted to what I do. There is a sense of wanting to prove people wrong who thought that I couldn’t do it.
“Parents are one of the most discerning consumer bases that you can come across – they want the best for their children so they will research these products to the nth degree and you need to be very clear about what the product is. You need to do an awful lot of leg work to change people’s perception of an established product.”
Daniel, who is a graduate of Gray’s School of Art himself, believes that there is support out for those hoping to develop new products.
“I’ve taken full advantage of everything that’s on offer in Scotland for trying to get a product to market,” he said. “You do need that bit of extra support. We live in a country where if you have an idea for a new product there is a lot of support and advice available to help you. You do not have to go and remortgage your house.”
Daniel Sutherland will feature in Make Me a Millionaire Inventor on Sunday, May 11 at 7pm on Sky Pick.
Communications Officer | Design and Technology