Meet the Inspiring Man Behind Dyson
James Dyson, the man behind the brand
If you are a fan of home cleaning, you’ve probably heard of Dyson. Dyson is a household brand that revolutionizes the art of home cleaning, with futuristic gadgets that are more suited to The Jetsons than the time now. Its claim to fame is the Dual Cyclone in 1993, which was the world’s first and only vacuum cleaner technology that with no bag and no loss of suction. Since then, it has created even more hi-tech gadgets like the Dyson digital motor, the Dyson Airblade hand dryer, the Dyson Air Multiplier fan, the Dyson Hot fan heater, and most recently, the Dyson Digital Slim, a cordless vacuum powered by the Dyson digital motor.
Because of its innovations, the brand has been awarded Design Week’s Designer of the Decade in 1999 and 2000, Japan Industrial Designer’s Association award in 2002, The Queen’s Award for Innovation in 2004, and The Queens Award for International Trade in 2006.
But who knew that the man behind the brand, James Dyson, faced a lot of rejection when he was building his brand?
James Dyson with his revolutionary air multiplier. Even with the new iPhone 6, the air multiplier still looks ahead of its time
A rural upbringing in Norfolk amongst a family of academics and clergy might seem an unconventional route into engineering, but James Dyson showed an obstinate streak from the off. He was a man with a determination to do things differently.
While at school, James followed in his father’s footsteps by studying classics. The murky world of manufacturing loomed like a threat. In those days, a factory was where those who failed their exams would end up, but James earned a place to study art at the Byam Shaw Art School in London. Here he found himself increasingly drawn away from art towards design. Next stop was the Royal College of Art where James took the leap from furniture design to industrial design – a chance to get his hands dirty, working with plastic and stainless steel. And so began a lifelong passion for functional design.
After graduating from the RCA, James was employed by local engineering company, Rotork, where he designed his first project, the Sea Truck, a high-speed landing craft. Working alongside Jeremy Fry, James adopted an Edisonian approach to design; making prototype after prototype until he got it just right.
For James, frustration has proved the mother of invention: a wheelbarrow which sank in the mud and chipped paintwork was the inspiration for Ballbarrow. Ballbarrow had a large inflatable ball instead of a wheel, which along with chunky feet, gave it stability. The barrow itself was made from plastic, which didn’t rust and didn’t dent walls.
Then in 1979, when James bought the ten top of the range vacuum cleaners, he became frustrated with how it instantly clogged and began to lose suction. James emptied the bag to try and get it going but this had no effect. The engineer’s instinct kicked in. He ripped open the bag and noticed a layer of dust inside, clogging the pores. A fundamental flaw with vacuum technology, undetected and unchallenged for almost 100 years. James became determined to develop a better vacuum cleaner that worked properly.
The new Dyson handheld vacuums look more like robots than household cleaning products, but that’s what makes it more fun to use
During a chance visit to a local sawmill, James noticed how the sawdust was removed from the air by large industrial cyclones. Could that principle work on a smaller scale, in a vacuum cleaner? He took his vacuum apart and rigged it up with a cardboard cyclone. He then began to clean the room with it. Amazingly it picked up more than his old bag machine. The world’s first vacuum cleaner without a bag was born.
But that was just the beginning of James’ battle. One by one, short sighted multi-nationals rejected his idea. Even when they were satisfied that the technology worked, none of them listened; they were more interested in defending their own product – and making a pretty profit from the lucrative bag market, worth $500m a year worldwide.
By the mid 1980’s James was heavily in debt but doggedly continued on his one-man licensing tour. Eventually, James received a call from a Japanese company, Apex Inc. An Aeroflot flight and several all-night meetings later, James had signed a deal and in 1986 production of ‘G-Force’ began. It took 15 years of frustration, perseverance, and over 5,000 prototypes, for James to finally launch the Dyson DCO1 vacuum cleaner under his own name. Within 18 months it became the best-selling cleaner in the UK.
Wired magazine featured James Dyson on its cover, with the tagline “How one man transformed six industries (and how he’s doing it again)”
James founded The James Dyson Foundation, a registered charity, in 2002 with the objective of building on Dyson’s history of philanthropic work. It aims to support medical research charities, design technology and engineering educational work and community projects in and around Wiltshire.
Today, Dyson is one of Britain’s most inventive companies, filing the second highest number of patents after Rolls-Royce. Every year, the company invest half of its profits back into research and development labs in Wiltshire. Dyson employ 3,900 people worldwide, of which nearly half are engineers working across the UK, Malaysia, and Singapore.
Their current turnover is over £1bn and Dyson vacuum cleaners are available in over 50 countries. In the UK, one in three households now owns a Dyson vacuum cleaner. Instead of enjoying his money and fame, James still continues to work alongside his team of engineers and scientists, developing new technologies to overcome everyday frustrations.
This inspiring story proves how hard work, determination, and passion can pay off in the future. How about you? What’s your passion? Share it with us!
Website | www.dyson.ph
Stores | Dyson Concept Store in Century City Mall, Makati; Rustan’s Makati and Shangri-La; Robinsons Appliance, Magnolia; SM Appliance Rockwell and Megamall; and Abenson Alabang. (exclusively distributed by Whiteplanet Inc.)
Contact Number | 09172711543 / 7226587 / 7274092 loc 123 (Monday – Friday 9:00 – 5:30PM)
Meet the Inspiring Man Behind Dyson