Alice Reins – Creating a product to support horse riders with disabilities

Tell us your name and a bit about your family? When did you become a Mum and to whom?

Hi my name is Jacqui Edwards, I became a Mum to Alice in 1999 when I was 33 years old. I have been a single Mum for the last 17 years!

What’s your business called?

My business is called Alice Reins Ltd

Can you describe it in one sentence?

I design and have made horse/pony reins for disabled people and those who have difficulty holding their reins.

When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?

I first became a Mumpreneur 12 years ago when I trained to become a professional dog groomer, I set up my business in my back garden in a shed because I wanted to be able to take Alice to school and pick her up and also be at home in the holidays. I then had to have an operation which meant I could no longer dog groom for a living because it was too physical. It was then I had to think of something new.

My daughter Alice was born with one functional hand and wanted to ride a pony independently of me when she was 6 years old. To make this possible for her I designed and had made a pair of special loop reins and now she competes with the able bodied at everything!

Alice inspired me to set up Alice Reins Ltd because it dawned on me that maybe my design could help other people and so Alice Reins Ltd was born almost 2 years ago.

How did you fund your start up?

To fund my start up I trawled the internet gathering information about starting a business and ways to fund it, I eventually found MAS the manufacturing advisory service who, after an initial interview about my idea, granted me match funding, this was fantastic as I had nothing! A very dear friend loaned me a small amount too to whom I will be forever grateful.

How do you manage working around your children?

When I was a dog groomer it was easy as I was at home working in my back garden for myself and so I had complete flexibility. I still work from home now and it is even easier because Alice is that much older.

Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?

A typical day for me would be the school run in the morning then I would come home and do the usual bits of housework. I then check my emails and make sure those are dealt with. I would then manage my social media ie Facebook, Twitter, Instagram , Pinterest and LinkedIn. I would also spend time researching to see what was going on in the equestrian world to keep up to date with it all. I would also look for new ways of marketing, speaking to our media manager and website developer etc. It is a constant learning curve which I am thoroughly enjoying. I would do the school run again and take Alice to ride which is always a pleasure.

What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?

The main challenge in the first instance was to learn to make the right decisions about things I knew nothing about! To overcome this I spoke to as many people as I possibly could about so many different things. IP protection is a mine field but is essential to your business and products and so is important to be aware of things that could happen and the rights you have. Advertising is very expensive and so I have to think constantly how to promote my business in other ways ie social media and attending events such as Para Dressage which is a total pleasure. This may sound strange but I found it a challenge to become tougher but this is a must if you are to enter the business world of negotiation!

What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?

The best thing ever is being able to have spent and spend time with my daughter.

What are your plans for the future?

My plans for the future are to expand my business, ideally I would like our own factory and create employment. Oh and I would love to move house!

What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?

The best advice I could give is believe in yourself and your idea and make it happen, I started with nothing and that is no exaggeration, with hard work and an inquisitive mind and the ability to talk to people you can do this!

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

Yes, I would like to say a huge thank you to all those who have advised me and helped me continue grow my business, I owe them a whole lot. Also to all those who are thinking about setting up their own business, it really isn’t as scary as you think, just be very nosy and ask a lot of questions! You’ll be fine.

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