After realising the business potential in Hicks and Hides, Bridie began to establish a design and manufacturing strategy to her work. Initially, the scale of the company meant that production could be done by hand at a high-quality with a fast turnaround. However, as the company began to grow so did Bridie’s work load.
After her first show season, it became apparent to Bridie that labour time needed to be reduced to keep up with the ever-increasing popularity of the brand. Every belt was handcrafted – cut to width, measured to size, carefully creased and the edges polished. However the lack of machinery and tools meant Bridie spent hours patiently stitching, time which could be spent more productively. Even with a lot of practise and tricks she picked up on the way to quicken the process, she realised her business would never grow without new tooling or a sewing machine. These machines are not cheap, Bridie had to make the decision as to whether the leap would be worth it and if she wanted to make a career out of her hobby. When Bridie made the decision to make Hicks & Hides her sole job, she had to give it her all. This meant giving up another passion which was incredibly close to her heart…
…Her beloved chestnut mare, Paddy, otherwise known as Buckle & Hide. She had come to Bridie when she was just 4 years old, she came off the race track and had never even seen a fence before. Paddy had been a project of hers to bring up and eventually sell. Bridie soon took Paddy to pony club, events and hunting, transforming her into the perfect horse and making it harder and harder for Bridie to give up. However, the demands of a growing business meant Bridie did not have the time or money needed to keep Paddy, selling the horse was the only option to progress her business.
Finding Paddy a lovely new home became the next big step for Hicks & Hides. It enabled Bridie to purchase new machinery that cut production time in half whilst maintaining a high-quality. It gave Bridie space to breathe and book more shows.
Paddy played a huge part in Bridie’s life and she still plays a role in Hicks & Hides – she is the ‘Hides’ in Hicks & Hides.