Dog coats drive company expansion
Client: Equafleece Ltd
Opening of new Equafleece Ltd factory, Tuesday 10 September 2019
Devon based fleece Dog Coat manufacturer, Equafleece® Ltd, is planning to double production within the next four years, following its move to new premises.
The new factory, based near Okehampton, was officially opened by long-time customer, Caroline Kisko, on Tuesday 10 September. Over 60 local business and community leaders, suppliers, customers and their canine companions gathered for the celebration, a tour of the new facilities and luncheon.
Director, Mary Leigh, started the business in her kitchen in 2000, before moving into a large workshop near Lydford in 2006. This year Equafleece’s turnover reached over £2 million, it currently employs 21, and exports its dog coats to France, Germany and the US.
Mary Leigh, director at Equafleece® Ltd said,
“It is amazing that so many people and dogs were able to join us today, to celebrate this company milestone. We are proud to manufacture our products here in Devon with dedicated and skilled local staff. Demand in the UK pet care market is currently forecasted to grow by over 17% to 2023, in addition our sales overseas are increasing by 50% each year. This new facility will enable us to continue to grow to meet rising demand here in the UK and abroad.”
Mary originally started making horse rugs and riding apparel from Polartec® fleece because of its warmth, wicking and rainproof properties. But it has been the demand from dog owners that has fuelled business growth over the last ten years.
Caroline Kisko, former secretary of The Kennel Club, commented,
“I was delighted to be invited to cut the ribbon to officially open the new factory. I bought my first Equafleece dog jumper in 2003. Interestingly none of my fleeces have fallen apart but have moved from one generation to the next. One of my dogs, Fly, pretty much lived in his, so I have followed Equafleece’s development with a keen interest. It is wonderful that they are manufactured here in Devon”.
The new factory provides over 1,000 square meters of space, producing 18 fleece product lines for dogs, horses and farm stock which is manufactured, packed and dispatched from its current location. The move has facilitated the installation of a new state-of the-art cutting textile machine to help improve productivity, that was demonstrated to guests.
Cllr Tony Leech, Mayor of West Devon Borough Council who attended the opening commented,
“We are very slow in this country when it comes to praising success, and the rise from a kitchen table to a company that now employs 21 members of staff, with a turnover of around two million pounds has to merit the highest praise we can give. I sincerely hope that Equafleece Ltd will continue to grow, as this will be brilliant for the economy and employment in West Devon. This is a perfect example of what we can do here in Devon, as well as what can be done nationally if we run with our ideas and are willing to work hard”.
The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas has supported Equafleece Ltd in preparing to meet its future growth plans with assistance to purchase new capital equipment.
Notes to editors:
Equafleece Ltd, Holdstrong Workshop, Coryton, OKEHAMPTON, Devon EX20 4PQ www.equafleece.co.uk