The UK’s leading supplier of vehicle adaptations has entered into a trade partnership with a company which sells attractive and stylish living aids – and whose founder tamed a TV Dragon. Autochair, whose market-leading products include sophisticated hoists designed to lift mobility scooters and powered wheelchairs into cars, has struck a deal which will see promotional material distributed on its behalf by Bristol-based Blue Badge Company.
Blue Badge Company was founded by Ellen Green and supplies eye-catching designer hand-stitched wallets for Blue Badge parking permits, as well as a range of living accessories including walking stick bags, hot water bottles and lap trays.
Earlier this year, Ellen appeared on BBC2’s Dragon’s Den looking for investment in her company and received an offer of a £70,000 cash injection from investor Touker Suleyman. However, feeling that his demand for 35% equity in her business in return was too high, she turned him down. She has agreed to work with Autochair after agreeing to join its Partner Scheme at the recent Trade Days exhibition, which brought businesses from across the mobility, independent living and assistive technology markets together for two days at the NEC in Birmingham.
Autochair was at the event to promote the scheme, which is a commissions-based referral arrangement, as well as publicise its new website, brochure and corporate branding. Jules Allen, sales and marketing director at Autochair, reported that around 40 companies signed up to the Partner Scheme during the course of the two day show and welcomed Ellen and her company on board. He said: “We are extremely pleased to be working with Ellen and Blue Badge Company. She has been so successful because, like Autochair, she understands that her customers want products that don’t identify them as disabled but instead add to their quality of life.
Ellen has agreed to send out leaflets advertising our products to customers who have ordered a wallet from her, which will enable us to reach a new audience and let them know how our products can help them to continue to enjoy independent motoring.
“Blue Badge Company was just one of a number of excellent companies to have joined our Partner Scheme during the Trade Days event, so it’s fair to say our appearance there was a resounding success.”
Ellen Green added: “This is a fantastic opportunity to join forces with a very reputable brand”. “Blue Badge Company and Autochair share very similar values in having a proactive approach to life for disabled people.” Autochair’s hoists range from the 40kg-80kg Mini-Hoist to the Olympian, which, with a lifting power of up to 200kg, is the most powerful hoist on the market.
The company also manufactures the best-selling Milford Person Lift – a wheelchair-to-car transfer system which gently lifts the driver or passenger out of their wheelchair and into a car seat with a minimum of fuss. Its products are capable of being fitted into more than 300 different makes and models of vehicle and can be installed in just two to three days.
The company employs around 70 people at its factory in Alfreton, Derbyshire, and has a growing export operation. Over the past year it has made a number of key appointments as well as overhauling its ordering system, undergoing its re-branding process and achieving ISO 9000 status.