Hello and welcome to my blog!!
Today I wanted to write about how you start an equestrian clothing brand, as its the question I get asked so often when at trade shows or events, and my honest answer is I am still not sure! I came into this business with one objective and that was to create something very special but also pay the bills, when you are forced out of a well-paid job to suddenly have no future income its very scary and throw in their two children and animals you have to make it work. There was no fall back and that has always been a big driver for me, because everything that I design has to work, I have to make sure I don't make big and costly mistakes, of course I have and however down on myself I get, I have to remember that it's a lesson learnt and I won't make that mistake again!
Here is what I do know though, I started this brand in January 2021 and I didn't get the first sample until the March and then we started selling in the May of 2021, in those first 6 months, my business was most definitely not a clothing brand, I bought and sold tack, I went to multiple equestrian car boots most weeks across the midlands, I did market stalls and at my livery yard I did a stand on a Saturday selling new and preloved tack, rugs etc. It truly was a hustle to get enough cash in to fund the next design or the latest product I wanted to bring in.
But surprisingly people liked my brand!! So I made it my mission to buy the best quality products and material that I could afford so I could build a reputation and my customers would trust me and my brand, and we started to grow and that felt amazing! The next stage was to buy a gazebo and upgrade my decorators table on a Saturday morning to a pop up stall! But small details like this swallow cash and so every small decision we made would inevitably impact the bigger vision, but this was a great decision! The pop up was a great success and I did it every Saturday and Sunday until the weather stopped me!
At this point I have started to try new products and expand the preloved part of the business and again it was working, so I pushed harder for a larger order in the riding sets and brought in saddle pads. These sold out and the demand kept growing, so I focused on the next product and worked with my manufactures, who are abroad at this point to bring the vision to life! Now I hear you asking, "But how did you find the manufactures??" This is a secret that I am not giving away because it took me a lot of time to find truly good suppliers, and that mission doesn't stop as we grow bigger, we have to change the business and suppliers to keep up, but that can sometimes mean much bigger risks! My only advice is sample, sample, sample and wear it, wash it and ride in it, walk in it, wear it three days in a row. Just be very thorough and if it's not right start again. At the beginning I was so caution of overspending but this is an area you have to spend on, alongside your designs as every detail is so important, and there is something magical about receiving that order that has taken you months or years to come to market!
This was part one of "How to Start an Equestrian clothing brand" part two coming next week.
Thanks soph x
Ps photo is of the very first leggings we brought in, and they're still the same!