Toy entrepreneur
Horse & Hound|July 22, 2021
Karen Clithero has revolutionised the soft toy market, turning her Crafty Ponies into widely acclaimed creative play products, with some very famous fans
Jennifer Donald

The Crafty Ponies business started 10 years ago as a craft kit, however people didn’t want to sew it up and kept asking me for a finished product. I couldn’t find a manufacturer in England, so my husband and I got on a plane to China – what an adventure!

Five years ago we brought out a pony, two rug sets plus a saddle and bridle. They were designed to help children learn about how tack and other pony equipment works and to role-play with products that look and perform just like the real thing.

The idea for the business formed 30 years ago. I found myself on my own with four children under five, it was coming up to Christmas and I was a bit upset at how I could give them presents. I was a self-employed T-shirt printer and commercial artist, so I had plenty of fabric ink and I had the idea to make the children a fabric pony each.

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