Two women striving to keep kids seen and safe on the road with Vizymates

Vizymates makes hi -viz tubes and straps for bags, boats and bikes. They aim to make children safer on the roads by adding detachable fluoro, hi-viz tubes and straps to their bags and bikes. They are a fully Australian owned and managed business from Thornleigh, established 6 years ago and run by Amanda Collins and Susan Hughes.

Check out this Q and A with Amanda and Susan!

Why did you start your business and what’s your story?

We created our business to create a safety accessory for children to help keep our kids seen and safe on the roads.

When Susan was 8 years old, she was knocked over by a vehicle who didn’t see her. When she became a grandmother, she was determined to ensure that her grandchildren were kept seen and safe and didn’t go through the terrible experience that she did. Susan teamed up with a fellow entrepreneur and created a unique safety accessory which was then piloted and tested before successfully going into production. The result was Vizymates: high viz, reflective fluorescent tubes and straps that attach to schoolbags, backpacks, bikes and prams. It’s the only product of its kind and has been hugely successful with primary aged children with many schools on the North Shore purchasing the product for their uniform store or as a fundraising product for the school. Customers can also buy the product directly online via the Vizymates website.

We’re a passionate start up!

What are the benefits of your products and services?

The product has two parts: swinging tubes that attach to the schoolbag or backpack plus Velcro straps that go around the backpack straps. Visibility is 360 degrees as the child is seen from the front, sides and back with the product attaching to key points on the bag. The movement of the fluorescent high-viz swinging tubes catches the eye of drivers and the straps give high visibility from the front. The product is machine washable, lightweight and transferrable from bag to bag. They can also attach to bike frames, prams, mobility scooters and walking frames.

How do you help your customers?

The product helps keep customers safe on the roads around high traffic areas such as school crossings, shopping centres, footpaths and intersections. The fluorescent colour and reflective strips ensure the user has high visibility in poor weather, at dawn and dusk. The product helps keep customer seen and safe on our roads, when the pedestrian injury rate is increasing annually.

What is unique about you and your business?

We are two women who are parents and grandparents, with a passion for keeping kids safe in our community. We are self-funded and do everything in the business ourselves, from product development and improvement, sourcing a manufacturer, negotiating freight and transport deals, business development and marketing (we had to learn social marketing pretty quickly!).

Why are you passionate about your area of work?

As there are only two of us, we wear many hats and love the challenge of bringing a new product to market. Our product is unique, and we love the opportunity that it brings to helping keep people safe in our community.

How do you keep yourself and your team motivated?

We meet up on a regular basis at a local coffee shop to catchup on our marketing and business development strategies, how we can partner with organisations and bring the product to a broader market. We motivate each other by bringing ideas on product development, marketing and gather feedback from our existing customers to cultivate our ideas. We are both passionate, energetic people who are genuinely excited about our product!

Why do you love being a local Hornsby Shire business?

Being locals, we love the fact we can bring our product directly to the area via our schools. We piloted our product with Hornsby North Public School, which was very successful and then we were delighted to supply Vizymates to Turramurra PS, Gordon East, Normanhurst West, Thornleigh West and Pennant Hills PS. We are proud to support the local community with our product and it gives us a real thrill to see children walking to and from school with a set of Vizymates on their schoolbags!

Why are you a member of the Hornsby Chamber?

Susan is a passionate community advocate, and a proud member of the Chamber. Susan has lived in the shire for over 30 years and as a business entrepreneur, understands the importance of businesses supporting each other and collaborating for the good of the community. Susan loves being an active member and being part of the fun and interesting events.

Why do you think small businesses are so crucial to the local communities and the Australian economy?

We are strong supporters of the vision ‘Think globally, act locally’. Starting at the grassroots level by supporting our local small businesses will then benefit the bigger picture nationally and then internationally. Small business is the lifeblood of the community and contributes to the culture and vibe of the community.

Who inspires you, and why?

Adventurous people who take the leap of faith and start a small business are very inspiring, especially when they are self-funded and are rookies at running a business. Young entrepreneurs like Harrison George who established his web design business whilst still completing his degree at Uni is very inspiring and we’re delighted to have partnered with him on the development of the Vizymates website.

To find out more about Vizymates, visit their website page: https://vizymates.com.au/.