Bonnie Grey - the Shetland pony from Tattenhall that inpsired an interiors range

PUBLISHED: 13:55 06 June 2012 | UPDATED: 21:28 20 February 2013

Bonnie Grey - the Shetland pony from Tattenhall that inpsired an interiors range

Bonnie Grey - the Shetland pony from Tattenhall that inpsired an interiors range

Kim Minshaw from Tattenhall has taken inspiration from her tiny grey Shetland pony for her new interiors range WORDS BY EMMA MAYOH PHOTOGRAPHY BY KIRSTY THOMPSON

There have been many passions in Kim Minshaws life: travelling, skiing and the Cheshire countryside are some of them. But the 31-year-old is now combining two of her biggest loves horses and sewing in her new business.

As a girl Kim, who lives in Tattenhall, was mesmerised by the movement of her mum Anns sewing machine. She also taught herself sewing skills over the years. The former Moreton Hall School pupil has also had a lifelong love of all things equestrian and she recently worked as a polo groom at Cheshire Polo Club in Little Budworth.

Just a few months ago she launched an interiors business, Bonnie Grey, which is named after her miniature grey Shetland pony. Working in her studio at her mums home in Willington, she makes everything from tea towels, oven gloves, aprons and napkins to peg bags, cushions, pet beds, memo boards and draught excluders all from a fabric she has designed.

It started because I decided I wanted to make something for myself out of polo fabric, she said. I searched high and low and couldnt find it anywhere. During all of last summer, when I was working as a polo groom, I was thinking about it.

Because its such hard work I wasnt able to do anything about it until recently. Ive always wanted to do something for myself though. It feels liberating to finally be able pursue it. Its lovely to have the business named after one of my ponies too.

The fabric, which features an equestrian image, was designed for Kim to transform into her own products. She enlisted the help of Knutsford-based equestrian and canine artist and photographer Sarah Clegg who sketched a photograph she took at a Cheshire Polo Club match. This image is now printed onto Wexford linen by a specialist in Macclesfield.

Kim said: I love Sarahs work; she is very good at what she does. It seemed like the natural choice to have one of her images. I was very excited when she said she could do it.

The fact the picture is from Cheshire Polo Club makes it even more special and I actually know the two riders in the image. Its very exciting.
Since graduating Kim, who has a business studies degree from Leeds University and Manchester Metropolitan University, has had several jobs which allowed her to see the world. But it is only with Bonnie Grey that she has found something she really loves. She is also following in her parents footsteps as they too run their own businesses.

I love the fact Im working for myself, said Kim. Everything is down to me; Im completely responsible for all of it. After university I didnt really know what I wanted to do. I am very fortunate that I have lived a full life so far but I really wanted to do something for myself.

Ive always been creative but now it is about channelling it in the right way. Its taken me a while but I have found something I can be really proud of.

Kim hopes to sell her products at some of this summers equestrian and county shows. She already has plans for more country pursuits themed designs. Every part of the creation is undertaken in Cheshire, from the fabric image through to the printing and, subsequently, it being fashioned into products.

She said: It was important to me that it should all be made in Cheshire. Its about representing the county but also about supporting local firms. Having grown up with parents who have their own businesses I realise how important this is. Its very early days but Im really pleased with how things are going.

The print version of this article appeared in the June 2012 issue of Cheshire Life

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