A Wiltshire manufacturer of horse clothing has joined a new government-backed initiative to boost overseas sales.
Holt-based Snuggy Hoods – which supplies horse clothing to The Queen and sponsors Olympic horsewoman Mary King – has joined the new South West Animal Cluster, which brings together firms working in the same sector, but with different products, to share knowledge, contacts and expertise when exporting.
The cluster has been formed by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) and is targeting markets in Eastern Europe with help from a £3,000 grant from the European Regional Development Fund.
Initial work has included production of a series of information sheets about the companies involved which will be translated and distributed to potential customers in the area.
Other cluster members include Hilton Herbs from North Perrott near Crewkerne – twi-times winner of the Somerset Exporter of the Year Award – Verm-X from Taunton, Pro-Motion Equine from Theale near Wedmore, Totally Smart, from Culmstock, and Griffin Nuumed from Ashcott, near Street.
Snuggy Hoods operates with an in-house team of six people in the UK and a factory with 22 employees in Sri Lanka.
The company specialises in the manufacture of equestrian clothing for horses and ponies including hoods and rugs with a range of coordinating accessories for the rider, dog and tack room.
Snuggy Hoods has been family run in the UK for almost 30 years, and was awarded the prestigious Warrant of Royal Appointment by Her Majesty the Queen in January 2012.
Rebecca Godfrey-Faussett, of Snuggy Hoods, said: “Having had an increase of sales worldwide, we realised the need to get a more permanent arrangement overseas – resulting in the launch of a US website in June 2013.
“We are working with the UKTI in the hopes we can discover and expand into other countries we have not encountered before, such as Eastern Europe, South Africa and China.”
UKTI International trade adviser, Hilary Charman, who brought the South West Animal Cluster together, said: “Joining together as a group of companies to work towards a goal such as increased exports, is an energising experience.
“It brings a range of benefits including cost savings and increased efficiency but companies most often comment that they most benefit from interchanging ideas and improved business practice.”