XX February 2013 Case study EQUINE ACCESSORY IS A PERFECT FIT IN EU MARKETS EEN 58/2013 Inventor and entrepreneur Clare Albinson wanted an expert to help her assess demand in Europe for her unique saddle fitting kit, so Marie Kerkhof from Enterprise Europe Network (EENW) really was the perfect fit. As an amateur horse rider herself, Clare knew the importance of a well-fitted saddle, and her product – the Saddle Fitting Kit – was designed to help reduce the pain horses and ponies endure if a rider’s saddle is not fitted correctly. “There are lots of aspects to fitting a saddle correctly”, explains Clare, “and our product not only eradicates unnecessary pain for the horse or pony, but educates riders about fitting skills, such as how it should feel and look.” Having launched the business in 2011, Clare was confident that the Saddle Fitting Kit would prove popular with the UK’s horse-loving population, because there was no other product on the market that did the job in such a comprehensive way. Clare says: “In the first year, sales exceeded our expectations, but our main concern was not making a profit.
We were just delighted that people were using the kit to fit their saddles correctly and that we were getting the message out there.” Next, Clare turned her attention to taking the product overseas, and looked to countries such as France, Germany, Italy and Spain as her initial targets.
Whilst people in these countries ride horses as much as people in the UK do, many of them don’t have access to saddle fitters. “Without saddle fitters”, Clare continues, “it is impossible for riders to know if their saddle is being used in the right way.” On her own, Clare knew that she would need all the help she could get to take her product overseas, and her first port of call was the Enterprise Europe Network North West (EENW). After initial discussions over the phone, Marie Kerkhof, information adviser at EENW, provided Clare with information on the equestrian industry and stables across Europe.
She also suggested specific countries to target, and sent Clare the contact details of relevant stables and distributors in those countries. Marie says: “Clare came to us needing advice about which countries to target in Europe, as she was unsure about where demand for the Saddle Fitting Kit was strongest. “With a unique product such as hers, it is vital that we learn what it does and what it offers before we begin speaking to our network of contacts in Europe. “Also, for a company such as The Perfect Fit, it is important that we take on board the company ethos, and understand how their product might fit in the European marketplace.” As a result of EENW’s advice, Clare is now on target to begin selling the Saddle Fitting Kit in Europe, and is already successfully trading in Australia, New Zealand and Ireland and Canada. For more information about EENW and the help and support we can provide for companies looking to trade in and with Europe, go to www.eenw.org, or speak to one of our expert advisers by calling 0844 259 8571. ENDS
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