A TRIP to the theatre with his two daughters led Tony D’Amarco to start new a business sideline.
Isabella and Lilianna, aged seven and five, had been looking forward to seeing The Lion King in the West End but could not see the stage over the adults sitting in front of them. The theatre had no cushions left, so the girls had to sit on rolled up coats.
Tony’s usual business is the exhibition and display equipment company Jet Exhibitions, at Place Farm, Ingham, but his solution to his daughters’ theatre seat problem, Boosterz, is now taking off.
Tony said: “It’s one of those Dragons’ Den stories where I had a problem and thought it needed solving. It’s an inflatable cushion – not much more complicated than that.
“The trouble with ordinary cushions is that they take up too much space in these old buildings but 100 deflated cushions fit in a box 50cm square.”
Though the need for them seemed obvious to him as a parent, the firm sent samples and emails to theatres for a year before any great interest was shown.
“Andrew Lloyd Webber loved them when he saw them and gave them his royal seal of approval,” Tony said. “Once the theatres were receptive to them, they couldn’t get enough and now we’ve run out of stock.”
But not before he sold some to Bury St Edmunds’ The Apex.
“It’s good to have them accepted in your home town,” he said. “If this takes off I’ll be able to employ another person to look after it, doing my bit for the country’s employment figures.”
But there are also children getting a better look at Shrek The Musical and Wizard of Oz in the West End as well as productions in theatres all over the country.
“We also sell them through our website to parents,” he added. “They want them not just for theatres but for restaurants and cinemas, anywhere the children need a boost.”
Individuals can buy the cushions for £9.59 at www.boosterz.co.uk but there are discounts for bulk sales.