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Paul Aubin

Holloways Beach, Far North Queensland

BOG OUT has shown strong consumer demand as a new way to recover a bogged vehicle by turning a vehicle's wheels into winches. From an idea sparked in a time of need, BOG OUT have a product that is fulfilling needs in Australia, with strong potential in the overseas market.

My name is Paul Aubin, my business is Bog Out, based in Cairns.

Bog Out is a vehicle recovery device that we invented. We manufacture it and we now market it internationally.

My background is mostly engineering, but management.

Wev'e been assisted along the way with a couple of government grants. Firstly was with a small grant with our technology to help us along, with Business Queensland, and then we got quite a good strong grant with Ignite, in the Ignite program, and that's really allowed us to get a very professional makeover to our business.

Desperation drives innovation. I was bogged in a very remote spot in the bottom of a creek, started to rain, and no prospect of getting the vehicle, no one else to help. The traditional methods to recover a vehicle, which I was quite familiar with and had, all failed, and I invented the Bog Out, which uses the wheels of the vehicle to be the winch of the vehicle, and when you think about it, that's fairly logical.

The idea for BOG OUT was formed on a remote track in Cape York, when existing vehicle recovery equipment failed to budge a dangerously bogged 4WD. BOG OUT is a rope harness that attaches to a bogged wheel, and is secured to a strong anchor point. With the power of the vehicle's engine, it converts the wheels into winches - a lightweight, compact solution that works in both forward and reverse, unlike front mounted winches. It doesn't use metal shackles and is a safe and reliable way to independently recover a vehicle from a bog.

After 10 years of vigorously testing prototypes, BOG OUT was launched in 2014. The launch was a sell-out success that set social media alight, with more than 1.7 million people reached with 1,500 comments over 2 Facebook posts. As a family-business based in Cairns, getting access to local production was important for quality control, production on demand and on-the-job skill training for staff. With assistance from the Queensland Government, the challenge of local production was overcome with the help of a local correctional facility's rehabilitation program. Machinery was imported and adapted to meet BOG OUT's special manufacturing requirements.

However, unexpected challenges slowed sales, including fierce competition from existing vehicle recovery systems and difficulty accessing distribution decision makers. This was despite overwhelming interest from consumers, and achieving over 4,000 online sales without any returns due to product failure. Facing a turnover plateau in 2016, the business model has pivoted several times and target markets have been narrowed and defined to ensure continued success and growth.

With the help from 2 Mentoring for Growth panels, BOG OUT have been able to define new paths and streamline processes. Travelling the coast with a demonstration trailer showing customers how the product worked, they now have displays in over 35 retail stores across the nation. As sales increase, the business plans to grow their team to keep up with demand from an expanding market.

The BOG OUT brand has been established via Facebook, and customer enquiries are regularly received from overseas. The business is undertaking international and wholesale distribution opportunities, hoping to expand in the American market, which is 10 times the size of Australia.

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