Nebusiness.co.uk - Full Article
Nov 25 2009 by Andrew Mernin, The Journal
You don't have to be a mammoth corporation with a bottomless pit of capital to make it big overseas. Andrew Mernin finds out how a growing band of the region's small businesses have become exporters on a shoestring budget.
A HORSE called Tiffany with a bad back was the unlikely catalyst for the creation of a globally successful firm in a tiny village in Teesdale.
Tiffany's owner Les Spark, an endurance riding enthusiast, set about designing a saddle which would allow him to ride the horse without being thrown to the ground in anger at her own discomfort. And so the flexible, and apparently ultra-comfortable, Free N Easy saddle was born.
Seventeen years later, the saddle is sold in 20 countries across five continents and has given the village of Low Selset, near Barnard Castle, its own international success story.