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Sam Knight is the inventor behind the innovative new Aussie cycling brand Jigsaw Jumps.
A business born from the Covid pandemic, the need for entertainment and exercise during lockdown saw Sam make his first ‘backyard’ prototype in July 2020 and take an exciting step towards realising one of his many inventions in ‘real life’. A passionate cyclist since childhood, Sam’s idea to develop modular, portable ramps to ride his bike on immediately attracted attention. When he trialled his homemade prototype jump in the local park, kids started appearing out of nowhere – encouraging him to take the next step and explore commercial viability, production potential and demand.
In what seemed like a leap into the abyss, Sam left his employment as an environmental consultant in late 2020 and moved to Warburton to give his full attention to his business idea, and to invest in the lifestyle, community and cycling opportunities the region offered.
“Being part of the growing cycling scene in the Upper Yarra Valley felt like a great step to take, and I wanted to show the community how new businesses could bring something fresh and valuable to the area. My partner and I started connecting with people in town before we even moved, attending a Zoom meeting with Koha café, volunteering, and meeting fellow bike enthusiasts and potential neighbours. We bought our house and moved to Warby in November 2020. A huge part of the attraction here was also the business incubator at YREC.”
“As a start-up, finding a cost-effective industrial space within cycling distance from home was fantastic and I took on my studio at YREC in January 2021. It’s been a fast learning curve and I have been focused on refining my prototypes, moving through the development tasks of patent registration, material sourcing and manufacturing, insurance and legalities and general business set up. We are close to launching our online store, and social media is already helping spread the word,” he says. Sam has also invested in a CNC machine for the precision cutting of his designs out of plywood.
For Sam, being part of an incubator community has provided insights, connections, support and mentoring that has been indispensable.
He is proud of his ‘as local as possible’ approach, which includes sourcing some materials from sustainable Australian pine plantations, finding ingenious solutions to packing and easily transporting his products when dismantled such as the Aussie-made Shockloc straps, and in the future, will include employment opportunities for local people.
Jigsaw Jumps is all about empowering children and adults to get outdoors and develop new cycling skills while having fun and learning. Sam is planning an official launch in mid-2021 and is already receiving interest from potential retail stockists and recreation groups.
Keep an eye out for his little red ‘Jigsaw Jumps’ vintage Subaru – it’s going places!