Name:

Andrew Flynn + Martin Keane (MEng Product Design Engineering, 2014)

Job Title:

Founders of POTR

Department:

Product Design Engineering

Image:

POTR
Image: Courtesy of POTR

POTR

Profile
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Andrew Flynn + Martin Keane

What attracted you to the Product Design Engineering (PDE) programme at the GSA?
Martin: I’m not the best at drawing and had never thought of going to art school. At the University of Glasgow Open Day, one of the tutors convinced me that PDE was much more my thing. Andrew: I enjoyed both art and science at school, which made the decision between studying engineering (and getting a “reliable job”) and studying at art school really difficult. Luckily for me, I also discovered PDE at an open day and learnt it was possible to combine these two skill sets. I now think it’s almost impossible to separate the two: being an inventive engineer requires creativity and to be a successful product designer you need to understand how things work. I can’t imagine having studied anything else!

Can you tell us a bit about your work in the industry after graduating?
Martin: After graduating I was at Hewlett Packard for three years working on app development and UX design, before finding my way back to physical design at Dyson. Both are big corporations so start-up life and being in charge of the company’s direction is a big change. Andrew: I moved to Munich directly after graduating to complete a fixed term industrial design contract at future transport specialists Bauhaus Luftfahrt. On return to the UK I worked initially for start-up incubator Radial Labs in the Whisky Bond before moving to Bristol to work as an industrial designer at Dyson. It was only a matter of time before Martin and I started collaborating and POTR Pots was formed.

What was the inspiration behind POTR Pots?
Andrew: Plant pots have stayed much the same, in terms of design, for centuries. Our light bulb moment came when we discovered the environmental impact of delivering items such as plant pots, by van, is around 100 times more polluting than posting an item in an envelope. This led us to designing a plant pot that would fit in an envelope and can be posted through your letterbox. As product designers, we not only look for new product opportunities, we also look to define new ways of making products. POTR is a simple product which allowed us to show it was possible to make an environmentally friendly product locally in the UK using materials sourced in the EU.

What was your reaction when your Kickstarter campaign secured 4250% of your initial target, generating £25,512?
Martin: We have a lot of pots to make! In all seriousness though, as well as being ecstatic we were somewhat overwhelmed at both how well the product had been received and the realisation that we were going to have to scale our production plans.

What are your ambitions for the future of POTR?
Martin: We want to show that it’s possible to create an innovative, modern brand based on sustainable principles. As product designers we feel we have a real responsibility to ensure that the products we are creating are not having a negative impact on the environment. Ultimately, we want to build a brand that people love, reach new audiences and partner with like-minded retailers to ensure every house plant gets a greener home. POTR has a good roadmap of products ahead and we’re excited to reveal them to the world!

What advice would you give a student with a new product idea?
Andrew: Don’t be afraid to share your ideas with others! We used to keep ideas totally secret in case someone tried to copy them, only to find out a year down the line that it wasn’t such a great idea after all. You refine an idea so much by sharing it and when you see someone get excited by what you have shown them; it gives you the energy to keep going.

POTR Pots Website

POTR Pots Website |

Visit the site here