The designer of a new bicycle accessory for supermarket shopping hopes that an appearance on BBC’s The Apprentice television show will help him take his product to market.
Royal College of Art graduate Paul Thomas presented the Bee3POD, which clips on to bike racks and stores carrier bags, on last night’s show. The Apprentice contestants were tasked with choosing two products from a range and selling them on to retailers.
Despite being chosen by the losing team, the Bee3POD attracted interest from Heal’s, and Thomas says his company Spring3Design is in discussions with the retailer about stocking the product.
Thomas says he developed the Bee3POD last year, while studying at the RCA, after he nearly fell into traffic while cycling with carrier bags on his bicycle handlebars.
He designed the prototype for the Bee3POD in one night, then entered and won Imperial College’s Ideas competition. He was approached by the producers of The Apprentice after the Bee3POD was featured in the RCA’s end-of-year show.
Thomas says he was ‘quite nervous’ when he presented the product during the show’s filming last October, adding ‘at the time I had no idea what [the candidates] would be like’.
The Bee3POD came in for criticism during the show, and Apprentice candidate Philip Taylor, who was fired last night, was forced to cycle up and down a shop with the Bee3POD on the back of his bike, to prove that it was a feasible design.
Thomas, who had not seen the episode until last night, describes this as ‘a scary moment’, but adds, ‘I don’t think it went too badly overall’.
He is tipping candidate Debra Barr as the overall winner, saying, ‘She’s quite hard, I think she’s got a good chance.’
Thomas hopes to launch the Bee3POD to market in the next three or four months, and says that as well as Heal’s, a supermarket and a company that produces reusable bags are also interested.