Horsing around! Businessman’s thinking outside the (horse) box

Business owner Mark Marston
Business owner Mark Marston

A business owner who converts old horse boxes is gearing up for the festival season after receiving support from St Helens Chamber.

Mark Marston, of Bespoke Trailer Conversions, converts old, abandoned and unloved horse boxes.

“We buy abandoned horse boxes from farmers’ fields and turn them in to things of use like catering wagons, mobile bars, play houses and campervans, anything you can think of,” he said.

The trailers can be designed to fit a variety of needs, and supply a niche in the market with the ever growing popularity of pop up bars, festivals and outdoor events.

Mark continued: “It’s mainly festivals, weddings and outdoor events but we also have customers who have pitches in local markets and are looking to do catering.

“I’m currently working on a mobile bar, this is a customer’s design although I have done my own designs in the past.”

Previously unemployed, Mark was signed up to the New Enterprise Allowance through his local Job Centre Plus and after being referred to St Helens Chamber, was assigned a dedicated Business Coach to help him into self-employment.

The New Enterprise Allowance is a package of government support to assist unemployed people looking to start their own business.

The help that Mark has had from his dedicated adviser has helped him get his business of the ground.

He said: “I’ve had a lot of support from St Helens Chamber especially from my mentor, Stella. She has pointed me in the right direction and given me help with budgeting and finding suppliers.

“It’s really helpful to be able to throw ideas around, and if it’s a bad idea the mentor doesn’t have a problem telling me it’s a bad idea and that saves me a lot of time researching and finding out on my own.

“I’m getting a lot of business from down south and have even been contacted by someone from Bulgaria about doing some work.

“I’ve started getting more active on social media, we have a website and use social media sites like Facebook and Instagram where my followers are growing.”

Although these bespoke converted horseboxes are in high demand during festival season, Mark has secured contracts outside of this period.

He explained: “The response that I’ve had from my designs is looking good and I’ve got other projects in the pipeline for after the festival season, such as converting one of the boxes in a play house.”

Stella Libertini, Business Adviser at St Helens Chamber said: “Since January Mark has converted three trailers, two from his own design and one specified by the customer.

“He has invested the profits from the first couple of conversions in tools and machinery and Mark looks like he will be making a good profit within his first six months of trading.

“I will continue to provide further business support for Mark over the next six to eight months.”

To find out more about Bespoke Trailer Conversions visit the website at https://www.bespoketrailerconversions.co.uk/

For more information about the support available from St Helens Chamber to start a business, call 0845 340 9980, email startup@sthelenschamber.com, or visit http://www.sthelenschamber.com/startup

If you are unemployed and thinking of starting a business, speak to your JobCentre Plus adviser for more information about the New Enterprise Allowance Scheme.