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Interview: Jason Iftakhar, co-founder of Swifty Scooters

Swifty Scooters is a fine example of a company proving that British manufacturing and innovation can, and do, go hand in hand.

Jason and one of his Swifty One Scooters

Jason and one of his Swifty One Scooters

The Swifty One Scooter, with its unique and innovative folding mechanism, is everything that ‘Made in Britain’ should stand for in the 21st Century – this is futureproof craftsmanship at its best.

Who are Swifty Scooters, and when did the company launch?

The company was founded by myself and wife Camilla. We both trained at the Royal College of Art and graduated in 2005. As a product designer with an interest in eco design, my passion for sustainable products and the great outdoors is at the very foundation of Swifty Scooters. I built the first prototype by hand and an early edition of the Swifty scooter was presented at 100% Design in London in 2009. We launched properly last year.

What makes your products futureproof?

Our aim is simply to produce the best, UK made, adult kick scooters in the world. Through the power of design and engineering Swifty Scooters demonstrates a 21st century relevance to urban mobility, answering the need to save time and have fun. A Swifty Scooter is of premium quality, locally sourced and designed for life.

Swifty One Scooter

Swifty One Scooter

Where in Britain are your products made, and why, as a start-up, did you decide to manufacture in Britain?

Our products are all handmade and designed in Manchester. We work with several suppliers locally and do all the assembly in house in Salford. I personally check every scooter before it goes out.

We wanted to make them here because we are proud of British manufacturing and heritage and believe in supporting it. There is much to be said about growing a start-up company from the ground up and the benefits of sourcing locally. For example, the cost of traveling back and forth to an overseas supplier would be enough to make a small batch production here in the UK.

Swifty One Scooter

Swifty One Scooter

Also with production being local you can keep your eye on it. As a start-up company we had to be extra careful that the quality and details were correct. We are not only producing a functional product, but a thing of beauty and of the highest quality.

What has been the hardest part of getting the scooters made in Britain?

The most difficult thing to overcome has been the cost of manufacture, and also the lack of support from the government. I am sick and tired of the complicated schemes and plans that ultimately are always geared to a particular agenda or demographic. I find the government’s support of UK manufacturing utterly disgraceful.

And the best part?

The fact that we are a start-up company less than a year old, and in a recession have successfully managed to export an innovative, British-made product all over the world. We are exceedingly proud of that.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_bzMud4OQk]

To see more videos from Swifty, including how the scooters are made, check them out on You Tube

www.swiftyscooters.com

This article was first written for BoB magazine

Comments

6 Comments

  1. John Robertson on March 17, 2013 at 10:17 am

    “For example, the cost of traveling back and forth to an overseas supplier would be enough to make a small batch production here in the UK.” – great to see that said!

    For those who want to supplement DIY production with batches made in a factory, there is an internal list of tube-and-wheel or bike manufacturers at WheelsForWellbeing.org.uk the disability cycling web site. They’d certainly email anyone a copy and might be persuaded to put it online or work with anyone else who wants to. From memory the biggest in the UK are Brompton and Pashley.co.uk and Brompton.co.uk with Remploy Healthcare are still manufacturing wheelchairs, but it’s the smaller workshops with one or two specialist products that are harder to track down.

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