Martin Hannaford, current owner of the company who has been running it since it was set up, has set his sights on applications for new markets such as water sports, mountain biking and walking after hard-fought success with the snow version.
With no direct rival and hailed by professional skiers including Britain’s most successful women’s Alpine racer Chemmy Crawford-Alcott whom it helped come back after injury, the battery-free Mojo weighs just over 1lb or half a kilo.
Its patent-protected spring recoil technology works as a shock absorber for knees and legs, cutting a wearer’s physical effort by some 30 percent.
“Skiers can enjoy the slopes for longer,” says Hannaford who undertook a radical product redesign in 2010 that also coincided with the wider switch to digital and changing social attitudes.
All those factors had a major influence on his business surviving, moving into profit and now expecting a £500,000 turnover this year.
“By turning an awkward bit of kit into a light, comfortable discreet aid of benefit to any skier we transformed the business,” he explains.
“Advances in technology from CAD design software to 3-D rapid printing of prototypes made it possible.
Chemmy Crawford-Alcott with Martin Hannaford (Image: Max Cisotti)
“Then our market broadened from older skiers to include those in their 20s and 30s who seem more open-minded in their attitudes about sport and injury.Using the device discreetly is no longer an issue.
“It isn’t viewed so much as lack of resilience if you wear a Ski~Mojo. It’s gone from being regarded as a cure to prevention too, a sensible piece of aesthetic equipment people are happy to display. Some now wear them on the outside of their ski pants, rather like athletes display body strapping.”
The Mojo is not medical device, however Hannaford has heard from people with disabilities or mobility problems who have found Mojo helpful.
The firm’s largely self-funded journey, sometimes using the family home as security, has been harder than he first thought. “Sheer bloody-minded determination and belief in the product kept us going,” he admits.
Alpine racer Chemmy Crawford-Alcott (Image: Max Cisotti)
Specifically designed to adapt to any size, “we always intended the product to be as universal as possible. The only tool customers need is a simple allen key,” he adds. “We’ve reached the stage however where scaling is the priority. The aim is grow 50 percent year on year.”
Ninety per cent of parts are UK manufactured with assembly and fulfilment carried out at the firm’s unit in Sussex. A pair of Mojos can be rented in resorts or cost from £480 with the company selling directly online and through distributors in Europe, Australia, and Japan, and most recently the US.
Until now a seasonal business with sales coming almost entirely during late autumn and winter, expanding the applications will also balance that aspect.
Seeking other investment is being considered to help with the next development stages including proof of concept and working prototypes. One major market – walking – because of the mechanics involved in a highly complex action – will pose the biggest challenge.
“It will take a couple of years, but by then we should be unveiling new products and increasing output from a bigger unit,” he promises.