Blackhorse Lane Ateliers, a London-based denim atelier, has gained recognition for its commitment to sustainability, community engagement, and unparalleled denim quality. This case study delves into their transformative journey, focusing on their collaboration with the Productive Valley Fund (PVF) and the impact it had on their business.

The Need for Growth:

In April 2016, founders Hans and Ingrid embarked on a mission to redefine denim production in the UK. With 25 years of industry experience, Hans envisioned a multifaceted atelier that not only crafted premium denim but also served as a community hub. However, to achieve their ambitious goals, they needed financial support.

Discovering the Productive Valley Fund:

Ingrid shares, "We saw flyers through Waltham Forest Council – informing businesses about the loan and got in touch via the Productive Valley Fund email address. It was easy to start the conversation."

Benefits of the PVF:

Hans emphasizes the peace of mind the £168,000 PVF loan provided, enabling the expansion of their lab infrastructure. The loan facilitated the creation of the UK's first fully integrated denim washing facility, saving on costs, time, and transport. Ingrid adds, "PVF gave us an opportunity to understand our own finances," highlighting the support in financial literacy and the subsequent recruitment of a consultant.

The Process and Support:

Ingrid reflects on the collaborative process with PVF, praising the constant help through phone calls and emails. The timely updates and assurance during the loan application process allowed them to place orders for crucial machinery before approval. Their positive experience has led them to encourage other businesses to apply for PVF loans.

Utilization of Loan Funds:

Ingrid details the allocation of funds, including machinery down payments and financing building modifications. The loan played a crucial role in overcoming delays in machinery delivery, ensuring a seamless launch of their state-of-the-art denim washing facility.

Social Outcomes:

Hans notes the creation of 16 full-time jobs, apprenticeships, internships, and collaborations with educational institutions. Blackhorse Lane Ateliers actively engages with students, hosting workshops and providing access to the new machinery lab for research purposes.

The case study concludes by introducing the Productive Valley Fund as a £2.7 million flexible loan initiative supporting industrial growth in the Upper Lee Valley. Emphasizing its openness to businesses committed to local production and job creation, the PVF stands as a catalyst for transformative projects like Blackhorse Lane Ateliers.

This case study highlights how strategic funding partnerships, like the one with the Productive Valley Fund, can propel businesses toward innovation, sustainability, and positive social impact.


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