May is for Mares and Mothers!

Continuing our series on Motherhood and Riding, we have a special treat today! 
Two professional women, who love horses and their young children, share HOW and WHY they have stayed active in the horse community during this busy chapter in their lives.

I think it is a shame that women leave the saddle during the young-child phase, though I can certainly understand why.  Horses and children can both be expensive, time consuming, and demanding.  But I believe that with the right planning (such as co-leasing your horse), and the right collaboration with your horse service providers (your stable, your trainers), more mothers may be able to stay in horses.  Even if this period of your life requires you to sell your horse in your family's or your horse's best interests, I would still advocate the value in continuing to be involved in the horse community, even if you are not regularly mounted yourself.  The soul-soothing it can give you, the value in exposing your children to the barn, and the value and encouragement you can add to your fellow equestrians are all compelling reasons to make it to the next horse show or clinic or lesson to audit, help set jumps, or to just be refreshed by being in and around the horse world.

Have a read to see what our two contributing working/ riding/ mothering women have to say about horses and motherhood!

Dr. Camille Knopf, who has contributed regularly to Ribbons and Red Tape, starting with an introduction in this post, shared about stallion STD testing in mares, about Sex Ed for Mr. Ed, and many more! 

Jackie of Regarding Horses writes a personal blog about her life with horses as a mother, on horsemanship and training, equestrian event coverage, tutorials, product reviews, and more.  She recently offered a very honest post, "6 Confessions of a Postpartum horse back rider" which is essential reading for any expecting equestrian mother...and for horse businesses that serve mothers and want to understand their target market a bit better!


Do any of these reasons resonate with you, either as a riding mother, a horse-crazy mom who had to leave the barn during the hectic years, or as a barn that loses the income stream when moms can't keep up a horse while also raising young children?

Moms: we love them, we sell to them

This is the first of several posts in the month of May that will look at the unique situation of Motherhood and Horses.

Happy Mother's Day! 
We all have different mothers in our lives, women (or mares!) we admire for their strength, compassion, and leadership.  Birth mothers, adopted mothers, barn mothers, we're so grateful for their wonderful presence in our lives.
Left to Right: Mom, Sister, and Me

Do you cherish the mothers at the barn?
I encourage you to take the opportunity to thank the women who are there for you with their supporting and encouraging wisdom.

And I also encourage you to make sure you are also nourishing the mothers in return, not only will it be overwhelming appreciated by these hard-working women, but it may also be a rather equine business savvy thing to do!

Women are unique.  While many fathers now stay home while the mothers work, or mothers work flex schedules to be able to be present in both the office and the home, among other arrangements, women are the only ones that can give birth! Consider this Mother's Day how you can in fact use that to your advantage....

Business Savvy

My friend is a personal trainer and mentioned that her evenings were booked with clients but that she needed to find an angle to fill her afternoon spots.  She told me that her target market was moms.  Moms who don't work a traditional 8-5 job, moms who might have time for a training session before picking the kids up from school, or moms who can take a personal fitness break while someone stays at home during the children's nap time.

Problem: When women become pregnant at a certain point they will not be safe to continue in lessons or riding.  They either need to sell their horse, lease their horse, or quite taking lessons on the lesson horse.  How will you retain their business during and after this time?

Problem: Women feel they can't take the time away from a newborn or a young child, and think they need to wait until the children are in school until they can ride again, the amount of time varies number on how many and closely spaced she has children.

Product Sellers: what makes a mom's life easier?  She always needs to save time, are you telling her how your product helps make her life easier?
Service Providers: What makes a mom's life more pleasant so she can forget about the tears and tantrums? Quality quiet time alone with her horse, and perhaps also her happy children on horseback with her.

Make it a win-win.  Reflect on how YOUR horse business solves a problem, and then pitch your product or service from that perspective.  Moms will love to feel appreciated by your business and to be able to stay around horses; and the win to your business is client retention and an amazing community reputation (perhaps your unique selling perspective, remember this post?) and a great referral base among the other horse-crazy mothers!

Are you a mom who feels her barn complements her busy lifestyle?
What horse products, or services at the barn or in training, have made it possible for you to stay in horses with young children?

Getting an Equestrian Trademark is Fashionable! (an exclusive interview)

I am SO excited about today's post!  We have an AMAZING equestrian fashion brand sharing business insights with us!

One of the most common questions I receive from horse people is whether a trademark is needed for their small horse business.  You can click here to read my previous post, "What's in a Name: Trademarking your Equine Business." 

Today we have Le Fash, an equestrian apparel company based out of New York that specializes in the use of beautiful bamboo fabrics, share its Trademark journey with us.  I love the Le Fash clothes; they are fashion-forward, soft, and can even transition outside of the ring into street wear.  When I saw Le Fash post a picture of its Trademark certificate, I could not wait to share the Le Fash story with all my readers here at Ribbons and Red Tape

Le Fash is an equestrian business to watch: it has grown enormously in just two years, has a large and quality distribution, luxury products, and operates with impressive equine business integrity.

Arianna Vastino, President of Le Fash shares her interview answers exclusively with us...

1. What is your company and how long have you been in business? My company is Le Fash, a high end equestrian lifestyle clothing brand all made in New York. I launched just over 2 years ago

2. What has been the greatest struggle from a legal or business standpoint in growing Le Fash? Capital. When starting a company, it's hard to grow and do what needs to be done in order to be competitive in the market without capital. I've chosen to grow organically as opposed to through an investor and therefore have tried to find interesting ways to promote my brand without having to spend a ton of money. 

On that note, another struggle is protection over the ideas in both designs and marketing from the larger companies. With all the promotion that is required to be competitive in the market, you're exposed to these larger companies that will "borrow" good ideas, sell for less and eventually can shut you out of the mix. Protecting fashion designs is a huge problem for designers.

3. What successes are you most proud of accomplishing with Le Fash? I'm proud of even being considered for this interview! (Ha!) Honestly, I'm proud to have brought my brand to the market from a sketch on paper. I couldn't be happier doing my dream career. I also am most proud when I hear great feedback from my customers who say they feel and look great in my products.

4. Tell us about your Trademarks! Why did you decide to Trademark, how many do you hold, and did you find it a difficult process? I own 4 trademarks; my logos, the "Le Fash" name and my slogan "ride in style". As I mentioned, fashion designs legally don't get a lot of protection so I decided to protect what I could. 

I found the process rather simple. It just took some time to go through all of the questions. If your proposed trademarks are original and you're very thorough in the application, you can do it once and it goes through. 

5. Can you share a piece of insight or advice for horse business owners who want to grow their company on a solid business foundation? Write a formal business plan. Do all of the market research, find out the barriers to entry, study your competition, find out what will make your business unique from them. It may take a very long time but it's worth it. Even if your eyes are the only ones who will ever see it, it will act like a guideline for your business and give you all the necessary tools you'll need to survive.

Amazing, thank you Arianna! 

Do you wonder if you need a Trademark for your horse business? Or have you gotten one already?

p.s. le Fash is currently having a 25% off sale.  These products are rarely discounted, so I'd highly advise snatching some up now.  Perhaps a Mother's Day gift for the discerning equestrian women in your life?