Joann Burton invented VOQA with a vision to make stylish protective sportswear that would prevent bruises from dance routines that required a lot of floor work. As a British / Filipina athlete she enjoys partaking in various sporting activities and wanted to change people’s perception of protective sportswear while filling a gap in the market.
Working with Innovate Design
As a first-time inventor of protective gear, the main challenge Joann faced was choosing the right materials to offer full protection. We were there to offer some knowledge and support in this area giving Joann the confidence to make a product that was affordable for mass market availability. Joann initially used orange peels as a prototype, from these she made paper mache and then eventually plastic moulds. Here at Innovate Design, we were able to create a prototype that was ready to send to potential manufacturers.
Joann’s biggest success was getting funding from start-up Virgin and launching her website in December 2021.
VOQA believes it is their mission to support the community and fight against social injustices. They currently give 1% of their sales profit from any set to Big Life Foundation, a charity that works in East Africa and supports local communities through natural preservation. In addition to this, they plant 1 tree with every order via the PayPal partnership with Ecologi; facilitating the funding of carbon offset projects and tree planting around the world.
Have an expansive mindset. You never know the outcome until you’ve tried. Explore your craft. Ask and gain knowledge in the areas you want to grow in, even when you feel underqualified.
“Practice patience and trust in the process.”
Seek collaborations, surround yourself with people who are willing to put in the effort to see your vision.
Joann has recently moved to the Philippines to start teaching dance classes. She is hoping to make some marketing content from this as well as testing out prototypes of outdoor ranges that may be released in the future. VOQA’s long term mission is to become more environmentally friendly by reducing the use of unsustainable materials in their manufacturing process.