Fish Insurance
Speak to one of our experts 0333 331 3770

Fish teams up with The Blue Badge Company


A business founded in a Bristol bedroom is growing fast as the Blue Badge Company satisfies a growing desire for more choice, control and above all else style among disabled consumers. The Hub spoke to managing director Ellen Green about how and why her designer Blue Badge wallet business is such a success – and where it goes next.

Sometimes we all need a spur to find our way in life and often that spur presents itself as a seemingly negative event. For Ellen Green it was being made redundant from her job helping pop and rock acts like Madness, Charlotte Church and Libertine Carl Barat maximise revenues from their various income streams – records, gigs, merchandise and so on.

From that apparently glamorous world she suddenly found herself in her designer friend’s bedroom in Bristol, stitching together specially designed wallets for Blue Badge permits. Whilst that may have been seen by some as a career setback it was in fact the launch pad for a business that now employs 20 people and is shifting sizeable numbers of units via some of the UK’s biggest retailers.

Exuding enthusiasm and positivity, Ellen is instantly likeable, someone you sense is doing well because, rather than doing others down, she does well by them too.

“Giving people rewarding, sustainable jobs changes lives”

“One thing that’s always driven me with Blue Badge Company is the idea that companies have a responsibility to contribute to society,” she says, “and one thing I’ve discovered is that giving people rewarding, sustainable jobs changes their lives. Employing a variety of different people is what I’m most proud of. We’re tapping into a workforce here that has been largely ignored.”

The reward is more than just a warm glow though because, she reports, “the dedication we get from the people we employ is exemplary and we have very low staff turnover which is always good for a business.”

Since she took the plunge, bought out her friend and assumed the helm, things have moved fast. A trade exhibition stand attracted a buyer from Boots which swiftly lead to a 10,000 unit order, a huge deal for a company that had shifted only 8,000 in its previous two years. Since signing on the dotted line in 2013 Blue Badge Company has sold the best part of 50,000 wallets through the retailer.

A deal with Royal Mail soon followed and then this year the company’s secured its second biggest order with none other than Fish Insurance. The 5,000 unit order is for an exclusively designed fabric wallet which, whilst carrying a retail price of £18.00, will be given away free to people who take out a Disabled Car Insurance policy.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity with a very reputable brand”

Ellen’s trademark enthusiasm kicks in once again. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for us because it not only gets our products out there and in people’s hands but it’s joining forces with a very reputable brand. Fish’s brand, core values and policies are very much aligned with ours. It’s a great fit.”

The contract is the latest landmark on Blue Badge Company’s swift route to growth, a journey from that bedroom to first one then two and three workshop units.  The fuel has been Ellen’s desire simply to do things better.

“One of the reasons for wanting to set up and pursue Blue Badge Company was that I was really disappointed with the products that were available. Anyone who had any kind of mobility impairment was being offered clinical and dull products. I just thought we can do better than this.”

“Disabled people are demanding more choice and control”

She also recognised an appetite for things that were a little less utilitarian and a lot more stylish and appealing. “We’ve seen a shift in society where people are demanding more choice and control when it comes to buying and using assisted aids. There’s also a lot more appreciation and education about all forms of disability as well.”

That last point is important to her. She draws staff from across society with a piecework scheme enabling not just people with physical or learning disabilities to gain work, but others in society such as primary care-givers, who may struggle to work fixed hours out of the home.

Her staff, around 40% of which have some form of disability, are also a source of inspiration and support, providing invaluable feedback on designs and new product ideas.

“It’s absolutely essential that we’ve got this amazing workforce that can give us comment and feedback on products that they themselves, or their friends and family, might use. We work with a Bristol-based charity called Pluss which helps people with long term disabilities get back into work.

“It’s been an amazing experience for staff”

“We’ve had three very successful employees come through their trainee programme and all have mental illnesses and learning disabilities, rather than being physically disabled. It’s been an amazing experience for the rest of the staff to gain an understanding and appreciation of the diversity of people’s backgrounds and experiences because these are our customers as well.

“Having that understanding within the workplace has meant we’ve been able to create great products and give a really high level of customer service to the end user.”

Those products include not just new designs for the core fabric and leather wallet range, but newly launched wheat bags, reading glasses with natty cases and similarly stylish RADAR key fobs. There genesis is pretty straightforward. “If I see a product that I think we can do better I will sit down with Ane Worthingham, our workshop manager and we’ll work out how we can actually improve on it and then, technically, how we can make it and organise the production line. It’s very much a team effort with the ops manager Tom First really helping us with the numbers and making sure it’s commercially viable.”

It’s an ongoing process and one that is now being backed with external support as Ellen looks to move Blue Badge Company into new markets. “We’re working with Coventry University’s design department and really do have so exciting products in the pipeline,” she confides. “We definitely see ourselves evolving into a product design company.”

Want to claim your free Blue Badge Company wallet?

This beautiful fabric wallet designed exclusively for Fish Insurance comes with a timer clock and is “hologram safe”, meaning it complies with Department of Transport guidelines which state the anti-fraud hologram which features on all blue badges issued since January 1st must always be visible.
To claim your free wallet simply take out a new Fish Disabled Car Insurance policy by calling 0800 088 3016. Your wallet and timer clock will automatically be sent to you with your policy documents. These limited edition wallets are available only whilst stocks last.

For help, speak
to one of our team
call 0333 331 3770

A photo of a customer service employee.