A few days ago I posted to the Equipad Instagram asking you, my fellow Equestrians if you had any questions you wanted to ask me and you sure provided.
If you too want to ask a question, you can do it right here. Whenever there is enough questions, I will do another blog!
Q: How old are you?
I am 20 years old, turning 21 in June.
Q: Can you bring back the grey and blue Equipad?
Unfortunately, this beauty won’t be back in stock and we currently have no plans to bring it back (eep I’m sorry!).
Q: Do you own any horses? How many horses do you own? Breeds, heights, names?
I currently own two horses, their names are Andy and Bluey.
Andy was my second horse who I’ve now owned for 8 years, he’s a 15hh, Bay Quarter Horse. He was the first horse that taught me how to ride together we mostly did a lot of pleasure riding with the odd competitions in games, dressage and jumping, here and there. He’s now retired.
Bluey was the fourth horse I ever owned and so far my last. I’ve had him for 6 years this year! He’s a 16.1hh grey thoroughbred. Together we did a lot more serious riding, starting off together in Eventing which didn’t really go to well but slowly settled with jumping where we were competing up to 1.05cm (3’4”?). He’s currently now on lease with the most amazing lady. Running a business and having work commitments can be really time-consuming and sometimes you have to part with the things you love most for a while until you can find your groove - I miss riding and being around my horses every day but I know one day it’ll all be worthwhile.
Q: How long have you been riding?
My parents never let me ride until I was about 12, which means I’ve been riding for 9 years? Although I’ve been horse crazy since I knew what a horse.
Q: Will the next collection be limited or will you restock?
The next collection will still be limited as that’s just how we roll however it is possible we will restock some colours, however, this is dependant on certain circumstances.
Q: What motivated you to start your company and what’s the ultimate goal for it all?
I always find this question so hard. In all honesty, since I was younger I always knew that a traditional 9-5 job life was never for me and that starting a business was something I never thought about not doing. After I left school I knew University wasn’t for me either so I deferred my course, worked for a year and slowly found my groove which was when I started Equipad. My ultimate goal is to grow Equipad into one of the biggest Equestrian brands. Expanding further than just saddle pads, however always coming back to our roots.
Q: Where did you find the funding to start your business?
I try to be as frugal as possible. I really try and do everything I can on my own, like the website, networking, designs, campaigns, marketing, sourcing, research and everything in between. For products, in the beginning, I started with a drop shipping method, so buying bulk wasn’t really something that I had to worry about. When it came to launching the following collection, I was given a loan from my mum (I feel very VERY lucky to have such a supportive parent) which helped me fund that collection. Since having sold out that collection I have been working in other ways than Equipad, even starting another business and working another job, to add the extra cash flow to fund the next investment. It’s really a matter of just doing, if there’s a will, trust me, there’s ALWAYS a way.
Q: Personal Instagram Account?
I don’t post much at the moment (no horse life = a lot of my cat on my story) but you’re welcome to follow mine and Equipad’s journey on @katielea.q.
Q: When are you going to start selling pads again?
I’m with you here, for real. That’s why I’ve written an essay about this whole subject which you can see here.
Q: Are you going to sell horse boots, polos, halters, etc?
For sure! We already have horse boots and polo wraps in the planning however other things like halters and rugs will come down the line. I like to perfect something before moving on!
Q: Where is Equipad from and how long has it been running? PS can you make lime green and bright blue shirts for summer.
We started and are based in Brisbane, QLD Australia and have been selling saddle pads since 2016. I will keep your suggestions in mind - love them!
Q: What discipline do you ride?
Although I don’t ride much lately I am a Show Jumper through and through.
Q: Any tips for riding a really lazy horse and turning without pulling on your reins?
Hard one as it really depends on the circumstances and individual horse. If they are being ignorant or simply not listening to you lazy, I say go back to basics and see why this is happening, I know from personal experience, a lazy horse can be created from OVER using your leg so learning how to use your leg and if needed, spurs, correctly is the key here. Starting with a “whisper” or a slight squeeze, if they don’t react be more firm with your leg and again if they don’t react be even more firm and at this point a tap with a spur or crop. It's all about asking, getting a reaction then taking away that pressure that caused them to react.
For not pulling on the reins, this can be caused from your horse not listening to your leg, being able to use your legs with light hands to help move your horse is the aim and if you’re missing the element of your horse listening to your leg (and body) than it makes the work a lot harder for your hands.
Q: How did you create the brand and start the business (equipment, etc)?
It was fairly easy, I literally spent like 5 minutes on the name. My logo was $5.00 from a website called Fiverr (ironic?) and as per equipment, all I needed was my laptop and my phone, so that was a check, check. From then to now I have just been developing my design skills to help bring the brand together as a whole.
Q: Are your saddle pads handmade?
Our saddle pads are part hand and machine made. The use of machines allow for more accurate results as well as producing larger quantities with lower irregularity and fault rates (aka better quality saddle pads).
Q: What programs do you use to design your beautiful numnahs? Or do you freehand?
I use to do freehand/illustrator but I’ve been lucky enough to have the help of someone to start creating my designs in a lot more detail. They help me put all my ideas in to the most perfect digital illustrations, something I really wish I could do but unfortunately am no the best at.
Q: How do you come up with such cool designs?
Thank you, I mean I really don’t know, I just will look at colours, other designs or think of designs I would like then develop ideas from there.
Q: How did you go about starting a business so successfully? I’ve been tempted to start my own and seen others start theirs but I’ve also seen a lot of them not do so well. Are there certain steps you took? Or a specific plan or something?
To be honest, I had nothing except for myself. I didn’t have a plan, I didn’t have steps, I didn’t have help from a mentor or business owner, I didn’t have anything except for my passion and the internet.
Failure is apart of the risk you take when starting a business, heck, it's a risk you take when you ride a horse. I really don’t have any magic tips for success, my personal drive has pushed me through because of the thought of “what would happen if I didn’t do this” vs the thought of “what could happen if I keep trying” was stronger than anything else.
Also, plan ahead and think of worst case scenarios and how you could fix them, in most cases your worst-case scenario won't even be that bad.
- Do your research on literally everything from business competitors to how to make a website.
- Don’t see failure as a bad thing that just falls on some chosen individual, see failure as “okay, something is happening for this to happen, how can I fix it and what can I do to take action now”.
- Your business, your brand, your products, especially in the beginning need to be from yourself. I’m not saying don’t outsource help from a designer, but making sure it’s all your own visions and ideas. Copying another brand will only put you in second best, being about to be your unique self will stick with you and your business for the long run.
- Just do it. Forget what your parents are worried about, forget that friend that doesn’t support you, forget that businesses fail. Their’s only one way to find out, it’s by taking action and doing something about it. If you’re truly passionate about it, nothing can stop you from making your dreams come true.
- If you’re not all in, get out. The thought of starting a business is tempting to so many people, especially younger generations but if it’s not something you really and truly feel deeply passionate about (like butterfly excitement passion) then take a rain check and maybe try some personal branding for a while? Creating a personal brand can bring as much, if not more, opportunities as a business can. Don’t get me wrong, both are as hard as each other but a personal brand will mean less weight on your shoulders from things like products, customers, finances and other stuff like that!
Q: Do you guys sponsor?
We do have an application that is closing soon, this is NOT a competition and due to the number of entrants it will take a while to go through only privately messaging people we deem appropriate, due to size, we won’t be able to message everyone who was not lucky this year round. With that, we’re only searching for truly passionate and talented Equestrians, if you are only looking for free equipment, we ask for you to not apply to allow other equestrians a better chance.
That's it for this Q&A, let me know what you think by leaving a comment below or sending a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.