Two weeks today and EquestriMen will be at their first event at the prestigious London Olympia Horse Show.
It got me thinking about the journey so far of setting up my business and all that has happened to get to this exciting point.
When I first came up with the concept of EquestriMen in January this year, it was only going to be an online shop. I took my time finding suppliers that supported my idea, but the more time I spent looking the more I realised what a massive task I had set myself. It also made me realise precisely why I was doing it, and how important the whole idea would be. To be able to give the male rider the ability to walk into an actual shop and try on different styles and brands of equestrian clothing, something as a woman I take for granted, but men just don’t get that opportunity.
I looked at the spread of male riders around the country and knew instantly that a normal retail store just wouldn’t work, even though I’m pretty central in the East Midlands, there was no-way there was a thick enough concentration of men to make a static shop worthwhile. It’s not like my little shop in the middle of a country town would all of a sudden become a must see place for male riders!
So, I knew that if the riders couldn’t come to me, I would have to go to them instead!!
Most male riders compete, so the idea of exhibiting at shows started to form.
I first contacted Olympia at the beginning of August 2019 initially asking for information about exhibiting at the show in 2020. I made the website live in the middle of July, so it was still all very early on in the life of EquestriMen.
They came back with a lovely email telling me about the special “Olympia Introducing” section of the show designed to help new start-up businesses in their first year of trading. I was told that these places are very popular and that I needed to get my application in asap, as competition for a space would be fierce. I duly applied the next day, not giving myself any time to consider the implications of exhibiting at one of the most prestigious shows in the world!
I had an anxious wait, I switched between “oh my gosh! This could be amazing!” to “Oh my gosh! I don’t know what I’m doing!!”
It took them less than 3 weeks to offer me a space, I think I was one of the first in the “Olympia Introducing” section to be asked.
On the 1st September I signed the dotted line, and since then it has been an absolute whirlwind!
Placing orders with suppliers, as some is made to order came first, and stock is still trickling in, but we have a hell of a line up to go with already.
Designing the stand was next and it is all coming together really well. There is so much detail to consider – everything down from card machines and changing rooms to clothes hangers, those little sizing cubes and paper carrier bags!
I have never been so excited, or stressed in my entire life, but I am loving the challenge of getting everything together. If you are coming to the show, make sure you head to the Gallery, stand H272 on the outside corner, you won’t miss us!