Online for Equine gallops to success

Online for Equine gallops to success

A Stafford-based online equestrian retailer has seen overseas sales soar and has expanded into new premises as the company continues to grow.

Business partners Lesley Thomas and Victoria Highfield set up Online for Equine as an e-Commerce business in 2011 and have now opened a new retail store to increase their offering.

Selling equine supplies to cater for every budget and taste, the duo are also set to take on two new members of staff to cater for the increasing demand.

Lesley Thomas, joint managing director, said: “As the online business grew, we needed bigger premises, a better website and more staff to cope with the demand.

“We were starting to sell our products all over the world, and needed more space for stock and distribution.

“Feedback from customers also indicated that a retail presence would be beneficial for the business, so we began looking for a new site that would allow us to expand our offering online and as a retail premises.”

After finding a suitable location at Home Farm, Milford, near Stafford, the Online for Equine team began costing the move, and looked to see if there was any funding available to them.

Lesley added: “I spent a great deal of time online, looking at funding opportunities, but I struggled to find much support available for business to consumer companies like ours.”

After researching online, Lesley got in touch with Staffordshire Business Innovation Centre (BIC), who told her about the Small Business Grant they could apply for, which would cover 33% of the cost of expanding the business.

The Small Business Grant from the Growth Hub is part of the range business services provided via the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

After working with the BIC on the application, Online for Equine secured a grant for just over £2,700 to help with the costs of the move, and to employ two new members of staff.

Lesley added: “Since the move we’ve been able to really grow the business. As well as the online side of things, our retail premises is doing well, and we’ve recently opened a tearoom for customers to enjoy when they visit us.”