Two North East entrepreneurs are behind a new business aiming to revolutionise the home adaptations market.
Laura Wood, 31, and Paul Pentelow, 33, are the innovative duo behind Invisible Creations®, a start-up business founded to create inclusive and attractive home adaptations, and new ranges of innovative product solutions, to aid mobility and better support people as they age.
The idea for Invisible Creations® emerged when the two housing professionals, who worked for North Star Housing Group and Karbon Homes at the time, were part of a project team on the National Housing Federation’s ‘Creating our Future’ Programme in 2018. The award-winning innovation programme provides a platform for housing associations to collaborate on a sector-wide scale to tackle housing’s biggest social challenges.
The company’s now Director of Marketing, Laura Wood, and Head of Product Design, Paul Pentelow, spearheaded a project team as part of the initiative that came up with Invisible Creations® – a business that is passionate about creating attractive and inclusive home solutions, designed to remove the stigma currently associated with products for older people.
Now, the entrepreneurs are making their business idea a reality thanks to the support of housing associations, Johnnie Johnson Housing, Karbon Homes and Anchor Hanover.
The three social landlords, who have properties across the North East, have collaborated to turn Invisible Creations® into a business that aims to future-proof housing stock and support people to live independently in their homes for longer.
Yvonne Castle, Chief Executive of Johnnie Johnson Housing, and Chair of the new company, said: “At Johnnie Johnson we’re absolutely delighted to be working with partners to lead the way in revolutionising adaptations. It’s been great to work with like-minded organisations like Karbon, Anchor Hanover and the National Housing Federation to make this happen.
“We all have a desire to create adaptations that aren’t the ugly looking ones that are in the marketplace at the moment. We should all be able to age in our own homes and be proud of how they look. That’s the aim of our new company Invisible Creations®. It’s an exciting time for innovation in housing.”
Laura and Paul were chosen from hundreds of employees across the housing sector to take part in the ‘Creating our Future’ Programme that challenged five teams to develop solutions to transform lives.
Laura Wood, Co-Founder and Marketing Director at Invisible Creations, added: “This journey has been a very personal one for me, as the inspiration for our idea came from my Gran, Sheila. Like millions of others, she needed support to get around her home, but she refused to get any of the existing grab rail products installed because they look clinical and make you feel like you’re bringing the hospital into your home.
“The reality is Sheila isn’t alone in this, research shows that people would rather put their health at risk than get these adaptations installed. Millions of people across the country are making dangerous decisions that damage their health, rather than using the current products available to them.
“So, we thought the solution was simple, design better, give Sheila and the rapidly ageing population products they actually want, not just ones they need.
“Invisible Creations® was born from a desire to design products that don’t define us by our age. Our aim is to completely disrupt a market that fosters negative stereotypes and makes people feel vulnerable. By providing more attractive, dual-purpose adaptations, that are desirable rather than off-putting, we aim to get these installed in homes earlier, therefore preventing falls sooner and supporting people to live independently for longer.”
This is an exciting time for Invisible Creations®, which aims to position itself as the first choice for inclusive designs to support people as they age.
Jo Ray, Executive Director of Customer Services at Karbon Homes, said: “We are delighted to support Invisible Creations which is the fruition of many months of research and development. We know from our extensive experience of providing homes and support for older residents, that people often put off having adaptations installed in their homes until after they have experienced a fall or a stay in hospital.
“The products offered by Invisible Creations® will encourage residents to consider installing adaptations earlier, which we hope will enable them to live independently for longer in their homes.”
The start-up has already seen early success, as Invisible Creations® was awarded the Healthy Homes Outstanding Innovations Award at the prestigious National Healthy Housing Awards 2019.
For further information about Invisible Creations®, visit www.invisiblecreations.co.uk