Co Down equestrian firm Rolltack's innovation set to enjoy global sales
A SMALL family equestrian firm from Co Down is attracting interest from Australia, Dubai, the US, Japan, Britain and Europe.
Dromara-based Rolltack has come up with an easy and safe way to transport heavy and awkward riding gear around yards and shows, combining a saddle trolley, boot carrier and grooming kit bag.
The firm, established in December 2011 by Clare Medland, aims to create three new jobs over the next year, and is targeting one of the most dynamic and fastest growing global leisure markets.
Miss Medland, who runs the business with the support of her sister Anne and niece Louise, said that the idea for Rolltack came from their own experiences in handling heavy riding tack.
"Putting a saddle, for example, into the back of a vehicle can result in damage and additional cost to repair," she said.
"Lifting it into and from a vehicle can also cause back, arm and shoulder injuries.
"When I discovered that there wasn't a suitable product I decided to design and make my own. I hadn't any design or manufacturing experience and turned to Invest NI for help."
Rolltack received export start support from Invest NI and used an Innovation Voucher, Proof of Concept funding and technical advice to turn an initial concept into a commercial product.
"I was included in the design development programme which provided me with the design of the company logo and product branding with Paperjam Designs," she said.
"The Innovation Voucher scheme enabled me to work with the Northern Ireland Technology Centre at Queen's University in refining the design for manufacture.
"This also led to a link up with Clarehill Plastics in Moira for the production of the moulds and the main body of the trolley.
"Invest NI's marketing information services provided a huge amount of data about the market opportunity and the best events, especially BETA, the main international equestrian exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham, at which to show the new product."