Transitioning from Utterly Horses
Penned by Becky Benfield, founder of Copperfox Model Horses
October 1st, 2015
Whilst the time has come for Utterly Horses to go on to new pastures and to retire, this is not the end as we shall be dedicating more time to our own Copperfox range of models and new projects, both equine and in business consultancy. We shall continue to developing our other passions that include encouraging small businesses and entrepreneurship.
Our new Copperfox website full of information and news will be up shortly and we will let you know as soon as it's ready for it's first visitors. In the meantime our online UH website will be closing at the end of September and our UH retail shop is open whilst stocks last.
2015 has been a rollercoaster year, with us experiencing challenges and problems that many companies would never see in a lifetime. This year we have been endeavouring to forge a new trading partnership with a major model horse manufacturer with the aim to combine resources, knowledge and expertise. It seemed logical to work together to develop the model horse market here in the UK and make reality of all our plans and dreams that we have gathered over the years.
As you can imagine, we had quite a few!
Sadly, it was not meant to be, and this is where we find ourselves now.
We have made the tough decision that 2015 will be our final year. The next few months will see us close down Utterly Horses and re-home all our remaining stock and products. Our successful Copperfox Model Horse project still remains very active but without a confirmed date of fruition for Regular Run models as yet.
Utterly Horses is going out with a bang! We are hosting some free Breyer Stablemates painting days in our retail shop over the next couple of weeks, in addition to a stock clearance running online and in the shop. Visitors to our shop will also have the chance to purchase items that do not appear on the website, including some secondhand models and ex-display pieces.
We would like to thank you for all of your support for Utterly Horses over the years and sharing with us your stories, pictures and passion from your own individual worlds of model horses. It has been incredible to be a part of it all. We have had many, many enjoyable years and now the time has come for us to write the last chapter of our Utterly Horses story, and to open the next book.
The Copperfox Story
Penned by Jackie Radwanski, author of the "Copperfox Guide":
Copperfox Model Horses is the result of years of collecting and working within the model horse hobby and being frustrated with the lack of British breeds that were being made.
Becky Benfield has collected model horses for as long as she can remember. After leaving school at 16, she set up Utterly Horses as the place to find everything model horse related. From models to stables, riders to accessories and everything in between.
Utterly Horses is known as the Home of the Model Horse. Over the years, customers asked for breeds of models like Welsh Cobs, Dales, Fell, Exmoors and Welsh Section Cs, but no correct model version existed of these popular British native breeds.
In true British entrepreneurial style Becky created Copperfox Model Horses, a dedicated brand created to deliver beautifully crafted models of the great British horse breeds to eager collectors. An amazing and true story!
Becky was a teenage entrepreneur having founded Utterly Horses in 2001 at the age of just 16. She has won considerable recognition as a successful businesswoman over the last 14 years. With 30 awards and counting! In 2014 alone she has won 3 Young Entrepreneur of the Year titles at local and National levels.
The Copperfox models were started as a Kickstarter Project. The project was launched on the 14th November and ran until 5th January 2015 (52 days). The aim was to raise a total of £25,000 - the final amount ended at a stagering £31,106! A grand total of 291 people backed the project and became Founding Foxes.
Eleda Towle, of Triple Mountain Model Horses conducted an interview with Becky Benfield in early 2017, which can be viewed here:
The middle years were bustling with world wide model horse shows and events, and Copperfox burst onto the scene with shows all over the U.K., U.S.A, Australia, and Canada.
A surprise announcement came through social media platforms in July of 2018:
"Regretfully, Copperfox Model Horses will be shutting it’s stable door on the 14th August 2018.
We set out to create a range of model horses of British Native breeds for horse lovers worldwide to cherish and with your help and support through many challenges, we achieved this goal. Your encouragement and belief helped us achieve what many thought was the impossible, so a truly heartfelt thank you for making it all a reality.
Our journey now though has sadly come to an end for a number of reasons. We have had a turbulent few months trying to negotiate with our factory and in short, the factory does not want to produce our models, at the quality we know our customers would expect, for a reasonable price. The factory find the models very labour intensive and therefore want to increase the price considerably, which obviously we cannot accept as it’s unsustainable. Despite our ceaseless efforts we have been unable to find an alternative factory in China nor an alternative plan of how we can continue production of the plastic models. The paint team at the factory have already been disbanded as the factory are adamant that they do not want to produce the models. This has added to the ever increasing costs of plastic and shipping, exchange rates, tooling costs and their maintenance, as well as a never ending list of production obstacles.
This difficult time has had to made us review the business in-depth. Since it’s formation, it has put us both under an immense about of pressure taking an extreme toil on our health, well being, family and finances. Bedtimes and family commitments have been missed due to us trying to make it work, together with countless sleepless nights as we were both utterly committed to making Copperfox Model Horses a success. With sadness, we have made the decision that the time has come for us to step away from the model horse world, a community which has changed so much during the 20 years we have been a part of it.
This news means that there will be no more plastic Copperfox Model Horses, even though we were on the verge of a next production run. The samples were confirmed but the production never finalised during our negotiations so no models were created.
We shall be re-homing all our remaining stock from our warehouse over the next few weeks. Both our new models, Winston and Scamp are available, whilst stocks last, in resin as originally planned but there will be no plastic versions of these models.
We would like to thank all you, once again, our Copperfox Ambassadors, Fans and Followers for your continued support and helping us make it all possible. Thank you for joining us on this fabulous journey and giving our models wonderful forever homes.
- Becky and Sharon
Copperfox Model Horses"
Copperfox Model Horses was then purchased by the very first Ambassador for the brand, Julia Eldridge~Nichols. Hailing from New England, she has run several successful businesses and been part of the hobby since the 1980's, running a successful e-commerce site selling model horses through the 1990's. Julia is accompanied by a team of supporters, her son Cody, who is finishing a degree in business management to assist with the family business, Sarah, a social media manager, and Paige, a creative marketer, along with countless vendors, artists and technical team members. The team researched the feasibility of moving the company to the US for over a year, finally settling and incorporating in May of 2019.
In the fall of 2019, funding and engineering began for the project. The first item on the agenda is getting the British shire into plastic, which had a great many steps to accomplish. Due to his original sculpt being destroyed, and the resin casts being damaged, the Copperfox team has worked tirelessly with the original sculptor and multiple CAD houses to ensure Winston is produced true to scale and retains every detail of the original. The additional hurdles include painting, and Copperfox Model Horses, LLC. is pleased to announce in early 2020 the operations will be moved to a large warehouse with 60 painters and artists on site. Finding this artist community was key to finding finish artists for the models, as US factories are very different in how they are run. One-stop-shops where they make packaging, paint, finish, polish, and mould are not the standard in the US for a small hobby business unless you are ready to produce tens of thousands of models! Whilst they are small, they are mighty and ready to bring all the beauty that is Copperfox back into the market again.
Further news about the plans and future of Copperfox can be found in an interview by Eleda Towle of Triple Mountain Model Horses on her website here: