A Walsall based saddle maker is venturing into new markets by creating an innovative saddle solution thanks to an £8,000 funding boost from Walsall Business Support.
Bliss of London received the grant to finance the tooling costs for an innovative, fully adjustable saddle system which is unique to the equestrian market and will generate employment opportunities.
A traditional saddle is a bespoke piece, crafted to fit a specific horse and rider; however, the new adjustable saddle system will have the flexibility and functionality to adjust as the horse changes resulting in a longer lasting, sustainable solution.
Established in 2011, Bliss of London is an internationally recognised saddle maker, exporting around 1600 of their high quality, handmade leather saddles to countries across the world.
Currently employing 27 full time employees, it is hoped that the popularity of the adjustable saddle system will boost sales and create employment opportunities for an additional three full-time employees.
Bliss of London is keen to promote Walsall’s rich saddle making heritage by partnering with Performance through People to offer apprenticeships in leather skills, promoting saddle making as a career for life.
Formed by leading local business figures to distribute funds collected from the legacy of Walsall Chamber of Commerce, Walsall Business Support provides grants to applicants who want funding for projects to enhance business life in the borough.
WBS Board Member Rob Colbourne OBE said: “We are pleased to be able to support Bliss of London with their ambitions of creating an innovative product, generating employment in the region.
“Our aim is to offer grants for businesses looking to bring growth, skills and employment to the borough of Walsall. With the rich history of leather skills in the area we are thrilled to fund the tool needed for Bliss of London to venture into new markets.”
Bliss of London Managing Director Nikki Newcombe said: “We are extremely grateful to Walsall Business Support for the £8,000 grant which will enable us to finance the tooling costs for our unique, innovative adjustable saddle system.
“The idea for our adjustable saddles has been created in response for a more sustainable, saddle system from the equestrian market.
“We have a strong, growing workforce and hope the new saddle offering will enable us to provide employment for three additional leather workers.
“We are pleased that Walsall Business Support recognise the importance of saddlery in the region and in the equestrian industry, together with the employment opportunities for those looking for a career as a skilled saddle maker.”
Walsall Business Support can provide grants and a free training needs analysis to businesses looking to generate growth, create employment or shape training opportunities for the borough of Walsall. Using an online application form on the WBS website, bids for financial support can be submitted by businesses needing investment in a new project or a company wanting to improve skills.