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Dusky Moon boss champions UKTI scheme 

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The Dream Tube is a double-sided, portable guard, which prevents young children from rolling out of bed and onto the floor. Allerton came up with the safety-invention idea with co-founder and friend Venetia Fuller: “We were both exhausted mothers – our children kept falling out of their beds!” she explains. “I had a bed protector but it only fitted onto one side and my son Freddie’s arm kept getting stuck down it. Plus it wasn’t very travel friendly.” The pair’s invention is essentially a fitted sheet with two pockets down each side, which hold inflated tubes: “It’s smaller than a beach towel so you can take it to granny’s, no problem,” she adds.

The pair had a prototype made and safety tested it in Reading. “They looked at us like we were crazy,” recalls Allerton. “But they simulated a child falling out of bed at a 45 degree angle and the Dream Tube worked! They said that, with minor modifications, it would meet British Safety Standards.”

The pair started manufacturing the Dream Tubes in China (“it’s 40 per cent cheaper there”) and received their first batch in January.

“We booked an appointment with Laura Tenison at JoJoMaman Bebe and she got it immediately. She was our first client,” says Allerton. “We exceeded our three-month forecast in two weeks. Next, Mothercare came on board. We got a slot on Chris Evans’ Radio 2 show and, that night, we had 3,000 hits on our website. It snowballed from there. The Dream Tube is now sold through 150 retailers in the UK.”

Allerton and Fuller applied to UKTI’s Passport to Export programme in June and have since been on several courses. “They cover everything from managing websites and distribution through to the legal stuff,” says Allerton. “Did you know there are 20 different shipping terms? If you get it wrong, you’ll find yourself delivering to Russia."

Twenty per cent of Dusky Moon’s £250k turnover comes from overseas trade. Allerton expects that to jump to 60 per cent next year.

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