After creating the successful Stylfile nail care range, including the revolutionary S-shaped nail file, Apprentice 2012 winner, Tom Pellereau, has turned his inventing talents to a product for babies. The Nipper Clipper is a scissor device made to trim tiny nails with ease. The product comes with an S-shaped buffer to smooth edges and the Timmy Tickle Apple app, which was designed by Tom's sister, to distract babies while they have their nails trimmed.
The Nipper Clipper launched today at a pop up shop in London's Neal's Yard. Tom was accompanied by his two-week-old baby, Jack, his wife, parents, two sisters and his business mentor: Lord Alan Sugar. Tom won the £250,000 investment on The Apprentice last year, enabling him to launch the Stylfile business. We caught up with the partners at the launch party...
How did the idea for a baby nail clipper come about?
Tom: "About 12 months ago, a friend said how hard he found it to trim babies nails and could I sort it out. I do get invention requests quite regularly, although they are mainly for teleportation devices... I kept getting requests from Twitter about how to solve this problem, so I investigated further. Having just had my son Jack, two weeks ago, I can vouch for how hard it would have been. He was born with one particularly long nail and we trimmed it with ease with the Nipper Clipper.
It is possibly the first of many baby products, for me. I have lots of ideas - Lord Sugar keeps me on the straight and narrow. There are lots of baby product inventors out there so it's all about trying to find my niche."
How does the Nipper Clipper work?
Tom: "The Nipper Clipper works in three ways. Trying to get the attention of a baby for more than a split second is impossible, so...
1 - The scissor clipper action, made from surgical stainless steel, is neat and accurate
2 - The spy hole at the top allows you to see where you are cutting
3 - The distraction app, Timmy Tickle, presents moving colours, shapes, picture, sounds to distract the baby
I initially devised a kind of clamp to keep the baby still, but instead of launching something hat looked like a baby torture device, I decided the distraction app was the way forward."
Lord Alan Sugar, what do you think of the product?
"The Nipper Clipper is innovative. It has solved a problem that has gone back generations. I recall mothers biting their babies nails to trim them. It is good timing, as the launch specially commemorates the birth of baby Jack. Also, the iPad app gives it a point of difference and makes it unique."
How does the business work and how do you work together?
Lord Sugar: "The Nipper Clipper is a real evolution of Tom's initial product designs. Starting with nail buffers, he will continue to develop this range as the brand s becoming more popular. He runs his ideas past me, especially when he needs advice on whether logistically and commercially, they will work."
How can we encourage children to develop business skills?
"I think it's a big ask to get babies interested in business skills. I don't think until the age of about 10 or 11 years old should you start installing any kind of business sense and explaining to them about the commercial world. At two weeks old, I'd say it was a bit too soon for Tom's young son to be thinking about getting involved in the family business!
I am very proud of the work I do with the Young Apprentice. Also, Asda recently revealed the results of a survey where they spoke to children about lots of topics. One of the questions was 'who do you aspire to and why'. Interestingly, a lot of business leaders came out on top, including myself. In fact, I did come out on top of the list above all these youngsters."
Tom: "Even above Peppa Pig!"
Lord Sugar: "You'll have to excuse me that I don't know who Peppa Pig is. But it's great to see that children are interested in business and business minds."
Do you think the role of a father has changed over time?
Lord Sugar: "Yes, definitely. When I think back to my generation, I was at work from seven in the morning and never saw the children until the weekend. It's a different environment we live in now. Fathers these days are more hands on. It's a good thing that I wasn't born in this era! I've seen it with my own children and grandchildren: my son-in-law is really taking part in the day-to-day bringing up much more, whether that is school or bath time."
If you were five years old again, just for one day, what would you do...
Lord Sugar: "At five years old I don't think you would know what you wanted to do. Today or back when I was young either, really. So, it's one of those questions I can't answer, I'm sorry to say. Although, I might feel like getting a bit of mud and throwing it at someone...
I suppose I might be fixed looking at one of those play station things or an iPod touch - ridiculous things. There is a serious problem with children now, a serious, serious problem with them being glued to these things. There should be a law against it. It's the parents problem really, they should take the devices away from them.
If my grandchildren come out for dinner with us now, their parents bring all these gadgets with them and they sit with their heads down. I think that in 30 years time we are going to be facing a lot of neck problems, because of it. Maybe Tom can invent a preventative measure for that..."
The Nipper Clipper, £9.99, is sold at Asda, Sainsburys, Amazon and independent boutiques.
Photography Catherine Hudson
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