Michelle started her working life as a florist, after serving an apprenticeship with the same florist she had been employed by whilst still at school.
Marriage soon after saw Michelle move to Germany for 3 years, where she adapted quickly to her new surroundings and took on various roles that included childminding and running a snack bar at the local swimming pool.
At the age of just 22, Michelle returned to Scotland and set up her first business – a florists. However this venture coincided with ‘supermarket shopping’ becoming the norm and the business along with many other local smaller shops was soon squeezed out of the marketplace.
Not one for standing still Michelle took up a cleaning post within the mental health service sector. Her natural affinity of being able to work with people and accommodate their needs was obvious and she was offered the opportunity to train as a nurse.
At the time however, the oil industry was hungry for people to go offshore. The lure of a healthy salary together with the experience of working offshore was hard to turn down. It was during this seven year career spell that the ‘first seeds’ of Scaffpad were sown.
Known for her practical approach and sewing skills, the Scaffolding Foreman on the rig where Michelle worked, presented her with the task of providing a solution to a problem that was frequently being encountered in his, and many other, working environments. He had identified the need to prevent the recurring minor injuries, damage to clothing and equipment from the protrusions regularly seen in scaffold structures. Hazardous areas needed to be highlighted to workers as well as protecting them – and the solution had to be better than barrier tape, rags and old boiler suits tied around scaffolding.
Armed with two scaffolding poles and a coupling bracket Michelle spent her on-shore time developing a solution – the Scaffpad was born.
The very early stages of the business saw Michelle using her onshore time to manufacture Scaffpads at home on a domestic sewing machine. Her customer base grew and product quality and resilience was being proven. (Six years on customers informed her that the original products were still ‘going strong’).
With demand growing Michelle knew that she needed to take the next strategic step to increase production capability and grow her business.
A partnership with a business consultant saw Scaffpad through its next business phase, it became VAT registered and a manufacturer was found. Then in 2007 Scaffpad became a limited company. In 2012 links were made with international distributors making Scaffpad Europe a global distributor.
In 2014 a buyout saw Michelle at the helm of Scaffpad independently and moving forward with a corporate rebrand and further development of the product.
Scaffpad’s products are now available in a range of sizes and colours; use a technically advanced material that is extremely resilient and the Scaffpad has a definite UV value of 50+.
Scaffpad is a global company and has a distribution network of 3 suppliers covering 13 different countries. This year alone has seen over 40,000 pads go into circulation despite the current slump within the Oil & Gas sector. The company has also seen interest from new potential distributors in Brazil, Canada and Australia.
With a new product for a completely new market about to be launched Michelle is looking forward to the challenges ahead.