The Queen's Awards Magazine 2018

Case Study Fairfax Saddles Ltd

website has a really helpful blog, and we signed up for various webinars about writing award entries. We also spoke to a previous winner about their experiences, which gave us great insight. What planning did you do beforehand? It helped to get as much information to hand as possible, especially regarding the evidence to back up the entry, such as the accounts and product information. We checked all the figures thoroughly, and also the entry criteria, before we started the application process. How did you find the application process? There’s no denying that it’s time consuming and challenging, but once we’d made a start, it got easier. Did you learn anything about your own company during the process? The exercise made us realise just how far we’d come and reinforced our commitment to continue on our development path. Did you engage other teammembers? Yes, because everyone involved in the design, manufacture, marketing and selling of the product remembers and sees things differently! Getting the bigger picture is invaluable – but we gave just one person the responsibility for writing the submission. Now you’ve won an award, what advice would you give to others thinking of applying? Check the entry criteria before you start – it sounds obvious but it would be an awful shame to get too far into the process and find you’re not eligible. Then, go for it – it’s nowhere near as daunting as you think. Would you consider applying again in future? Definitely, if we are eligible. What do you consider to be the benefits of being a Queen’s Award holder? The saddlery industry is not immediately associated with innovation, so this award brings credibility and recognition to Fairfax’s unique approach. The Awards are respected worldwide and, as exporters, this is an added value to us. l

AWARD CATEGORY: Innovation SIZE OF COMPANY: Fewer than 100 employees WHERE BASED: Walsall, West Midlands TYPE OF BUSINESS: Saddlery manufacture PEOPLE PROFILE: Rupert and Vanessa Fairfax

JOB TITLES:  Managing irector and development director, respectively

Company background Fairfax Saddles Ltd manufactures equestrian equipment in the West Midlands. Saddle manufacture is still a trade steeped in heritage, employing methods that have remained unchanged for generations. Fairfax Saddles in unique in its approach of combining new designs, scientific research and technological testing with traditional craftsmanship to develop products that are proven to relieve pressure on the horse and enhance its performance. The Queen’s Award for Enterprise was awarded for Fairfax’s Performance Girth which was used by Team GBR at the London 2012 Olympics. This is the first time Fairfax has applied for the award and it is the only saddlery manufacturer to ever have been recognised in the Innovation category. We have made substantial investment in scientific research and technological development – and we hoped the award would recognise and reinforce our commitment to innovation in the equestrian industry. What research did you do about the awards/application process? Plenty of help is available. The Queen’s Awards What made Fairfax Saddles apply for a Queen’s Award?

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