Black Country inventor hopes Dragons’ Den appearance will write headlines

A Black Country inventor is hoping that an appearance on the BBC’s Dragons’ Den will enhance the launch of his unique stationery concept, after some typically fiery feedback was given on the hit television show.

Brierley Hill based innovators Write Size Ltd went head-to-head with the notorious entrepreneurs on the BBC 1 programme, when they pitched their revolutionary writing product which aims to make writing easier for children to learn.

The Write Size team, headed by inventor and managing director Ross Williams and operations manager Surlender Pendress, presented their bespoke pencils in December and their fortunes in the den will be aired on Sunday July 24 to millions of viewers.

Write Size has developed a range of pencils to scale for children aged two years to 10+ in an attempt to make handwriting less daunting, easier to learn and more enjoyable amongst children as a result.

“This is either bonkers or genius,” said dragon Sarah Willingham, when seeing the products for the first time.

The Write Size concept was originally brought to life in 2012 by Ross Williams, after watching his young children struggling to learn to write with a tool which was not in proportion to their hands.

Watching his own children struggle with pencils that were too cumbersome and not in scale with their tiny hands made him realise that pencils needed to be in scale for their use, just like every other product is in any other walk of life.

“It took two years to get the initial idea off the drawing board, with the first products being stocked in shops in New Zealand in January. We kicked started a number of research programmes with teachers, children and parents which reaffirmed the impractical use of adult sized pencils when teaching children to write.

“Around 14 billion pencils are sold yearly, yet they only come in one size – the right size for adults’ hands. And yet, a five year old’s hands are only 50 per-cent as big as an adult’s. Clearly this makes a pencil feel twice as long as it does to us.

“Consider this, would you give a five-year-old an adult cricket bat, full size football or rugby ball, full size trumpet, full size violin? The list goes on.

“It became apparent to me that the only product that is not manufactured to meet the specific needs of a child is a pencil. This is the only tool they use at school. They are even taught on seats and desks that are in proportion to their arms and legs. It just doesn’t make any sense.

“Working closely with my team, we decided that getting our product onto the Dragons’ Den – where some of the UK’s most influential business people could give us retail knowledge and potential investment – was an opportunity to pursue. At the very least, it would give us a platform to get people talking about the logic of the product,” Ross added.

Since filming, the company has steadily built a reputation for its products that inspire young and old alike to take a fresh look at what sized writing instruments should be used and why.

Write Size products are now being launched in a number of retailers across the UK including Webbs Garden Centres, LPC Stationers, Ruddocks of Lincoln and national retailer Rymans, who will stock the products.

Products are already available in New Zealand and the Middle East.

The Write Size team believe that a number of recent plaudits and accolades add weight to the viability of its concept.

It was recognised by ex-Dragon Theo Paphitis in his Small Business Sunday campaign on Twitter. In addition, Write Size was a finalist in the West Midlands Business Master Awards and the Express & Star’s Innovation Award. Write Size has also been commended by the National Handwriting Association, whose aims are to raise awareness of the importance of handwriting as a vital component of literacy.

Ross concluded: “The Write Size team prides itself on creating stationery that is innovative and inspiring and we are delighted with the overwhelming response that we have already received from stationery buyers, the industry and more importantly, our customers from around the world.

“We are really looking forward to seeing the edited version of our time on The Dragons’ Den on July 24th. Our experience on the programme has been a real eye opener and we have taken the feedback on board. We are approaching a very exciting time with the product and brand. Who knows where this will lead us.”

For more information about Write Size and its range of pencil based products, visit www.writesize.co.uk