The inventor of Tennis Rattle talks to us

May 16th, 2011

The founder of Fledgling Sports and inventor of Tennis Rattle, gives us some highlights and a timeline of the development of his product. From the birth of his son and the inspiration for the Tennis Rattle, right through to the first batch of Tennis Rattles being produced and delivered.


Dec 2008 – my son was born and I had the idea for a baby’s rattle in the shape of a tennis racket. The idea for Tennis Rattle was born!

After doing some research on the internet and finding nothing else like the Tennis Rattle available, in January 2009 I started working on the initial design. I put together some sketches and experimented with colours to see what the product might look like.

April 2009 – Commissioned Innovate Design to conduct a World Wide Patent search

July 2009 – Innovate Design produced 3D CAD drawings of the product. This step was one of the highlights of the journey, seeing the 3D images really brought the concept to life.

Sept 2009 – Secured the IP by registering the designs with the OHIM (Office of Harmonisation for the Internal Market).

Sep 2009 / Jan 2010 – Explored different routes to market.

Feb 2010 – Found a distribution partner.

Feb 2010 – Sourced a manufacturer.

Mar 2010 – Modified the product designs to comply with European Toy safety standards.

Apr  2010 – Received the first physical Tennis Rattle prototype from the manufacturing partner. This was a highlight in the whole process and was a great feeling to touch and hold something that started out as a rough sketch!

May 2010 – Reregistered the designs with the OHIM.

May 2010 – Researched what information must be on the packaging by law.

May – Sep 2010 – Innovate designed the packaging for the product. This was another highlight. The designs exceeded my expectations and made the proposition far more marketable.
Jul 2010 – Held a photo shoot of the product in use (a baby holding the rattle for the packaging).

Jul 2010 – Decided on “Fledgling Sports” as a brand name.

Aug 2010 – Secured Fledgling Sports as a trade mark with the OHIM.

Aug 2010 – Tennis Rattle tooling made ready for mass production (Manufacturing partner).

Nov 2010 – Physical Packaging samples made for proofing (Manufacturing partner).

Jan 2011 – www.fledgling was designed by Innovate and went live. This was another highlight of the journey, the site looked elegant and gave me the opportunity to showcase the product and brand to the world.

Feb 2011 – Received first order.

Mar 2011 – Fledgling Sports Limited incorporated as a company.

Jun 2011 – First batch of product due to arrive in the UK.


All in all it has been a fantastic learning experience with plenty of memorable highlights. It has not been without its frustrations though, most of which revolve around time: you are always thinking two or three steps ahead so things never seem to happen as fast as you would like. Also, there is a limit to how proactive you can be due to the dependencies between tasks. I still think that the biggest challenge is finding channels to reach the target market.

Innovate have helped at various stages of my brands life cycle from patent searches, product development, packaging and website design. Their vast array of services and talent means they can support your needs over the long term which makes them a good company to partner with. I had the pleasure of working with the Graham Ormiston on the last two occasions; he was responsive, helpful and creative throughout and most importantly he totally nailed the final deliverable which far exceeded my expectations!

Founder of Fledgling Sports,

Thank you for taking the time to talk to Innovate Design about Tennis Rattle’s journey. We wish you the best of luck for the continued success of the product.