A few summers ago, Stephen and Lee were sitting around with old friends listening to music at the Mt Hotham Cool Summer Fest. Of course, we have a great picnic spread to celebrate a birthday. A friend pulled a bottle of red he’d been saving for the occasion. It was a cracker, so he brought proper wine glasses to ensure we enjoyed the experience!
Unfortunately, most of us didn’t get to enjoy the wine because we put our glasses down on the grass in a spot where we thought they were safe, but of course, they topped over.
Problem solver Stephen decided it was time to invent a coaster that you could slide onto a glass to stabilise it – not just on grass but any outdoor surface. Importantly it needed to be light, easy to use and slip in your back pocket so you would use it.
Twenty-one prototypes (the first 19 were on a 3D printer) and several glasses of wine later, we had Glass on the Grass™, the slide on coaster that stabilises a wine glass outdoors.
We’ve always loved picnics, BBQs, outdoor cinema, visiting wineries, going to festivals, camping, so testing was lots of fun.
We moved to the Northern Beaches of Sydney so we could produce the coasters locally in Australia. Being as eco-friendly as possible meant using partially recycled semi-translucent resins with brilliant colours custom made in Brisbane. In addition, we’ve recently introduced a new line of muted tone coasters made from Bambacore, a bamboo waste product.
At the request of our retailers, our next step was to add a complement product – aptly named ShooFly by our six-year-old; these are stylish, versatile, eco-friendly food throws.
Inspired by Lee’s grandma, a home science teacher, who made her food covers because the shop-bought ones were always too big, ShooFly comes in two practical sizes you will use. Platter & Feast, both rectangular because that’s how most people line food up.
Made from fine stain-resistant, eco-friendly RPET mesh (recycled bottles) edged in eco linen with recycled zinc weights that can be thrown in the wash. We have launched with five fabulous prints, and we have solid shades on the way!
We hope you love using our thoughtful picnic accessories.
Stephen Flewellen & Lee Drury, inventors, co-founders and joint owners of Glass on the Grass are business and life partners. Together they also own Breathe Create Pty Ltd, their company that holds the Design Registration and Trademarks for Glass on the Grass™. Their love of outdoors, passion for intelligent design, and track records in making things happen compelled them to join forces.
Born in South Africa to British parents, is an Industrial Designer highly accomplished in Retail Point of Sale designer with 20+ years of experience spanning the UK, Europe, United States and Australia.
Stephen has a proven track record in product design. Glass on the Grass is the first product he has 100% joint ownership.
Five years ago, after numerous visits to Australia, he moved here permanently.
Stephen is responsible for the product design, development, prototyping, tooling, production and point of sale. He has worked closely with world-class product and fabrication engineers throughout the development and manufacturing journey to ensure form, function and usability.
“We were determined to make our final product in Australia. We partnered with an Australian managed world-class prototype and tooling company based in China to further develop our prototype and then make the injection moulding tool needed to produce our product. We then shipped our tool that weighed a tonne into Australia!”
Stephen also came up with the name Glass on the Grass™
Born in Australia, has a hands-on approach to building a brand. Degree qualified with over 20 years’ experience in brand development, marketing, communication, and events across the Event, Wine, Global Hotel Chain and Not for Profit Sectors.
Lee, Glass on the Grass CEO has set up the business and worked with consultants to create the brand, manage design registration, trademarking, communication and packaging.
She heads business strategy, sales and marketing. She has appointed an excellent lawyer and, accountant.
‘In our first year, we have sold over 100,000 units and have 150+ retailers right across Australia, New Zealand selling our clever Aussie Invention with expansion into the US well underway. "
Lee is determined to make the Glass on the Grass brand experience exceptional. They have chosen to embrace being a small business by giving customers a personal experience at each stage on the way.
As part of the personal approach, we encourage our customers to join our Picnic Club
From original idea to launch the product has taken almost three years.
We began with sketches, then technical drawings to create 3D models using our 3D printer. These technical drawings were modified until we had two fully functioning prototypes. Once we were happy with the basic design and functionality, we put them to the test. Feedback for these early prototypes was incredible – they were a brilliant conversation starter. We were overwhelmed with positive comments
“I could so use one of them right now!”
“Where do I buy them from?”
“I need one now, please let me know when you start selling them.”
Our next step was to partner with Star Rapid, an international world leader in working with designers and inventors to transform working prototypes into production-ready prototypes ready for tooling. At the end of this process, we had our own custom-made one-tonne steel tool and our first test production run. Our case study can be found here.
While this was taking place, we registered our design, trademarked our brand, and our business planning was well underway.
The formal prototype testing process took place over 12 months to test materials, flexibility, usability, function and form. Testing took place all over Australia. We also had teams in NYC, the UK, Spain and Greece testing our product.
While a distinctively Aussie product, our plan has always been to make Glass on the grass a global brand so even in our production sample stage we have been working with professional photographers in Australia, USA, UK and Europe. We’ve since added Japan to the list.
We have invested heavily in production and development because we believed in our product. We have had a lot of positive feedback throughout the process. As a boutique company, we recognise the importance of collaborating with our partners, who are leaders in their field.
As a small business getting the word out about our product is our key. We are authentic and approachable.