LA Saddlery Year 14
2022 will be the 14th year I have owned, run, and sweated over LA Saddlery. Since my life has taken a path sans children, this business has been the center of my universe, and in a way it has helped define who I am as a person, or perhaps as a woman. Which, let me tell you, gets harder and harder as you get older. The lines of who I really am and what I really want are continually blurring with each year. I thought that by the time I was in my 40’s I would have my shit together. But I am finding that age doesn’t necessarily come with wisdom, enlightenment, or a strong sense of self. Instead of feeling accomplished and confidant at 46, I am in fact, riddled with doubt, regret, and disappointment over some of the choices I have made the past 15 plus years.
Perhaps the societal pressure or expectation of motherhood is the cause of these feelings. I thought about having kids a few times. But timing, the business, divorce, my body, and then age, so many factors came into play over the years, that becoming a mother never had a chance to manifest itself in my life. So I think when you hit your mid-40’s, and you don’t have children, maybe you start to feel a void. An ancient, evolutionary, June Cleaver driven, void. Sometimes it comes over me in tsunami like waves, drowning me in an elusive sadness. And then I see a friend with a toddler in full tantrum, and I think, yeah no, thank god I don’t have to deal with that!
But the reality is I am a nurturer by nature, and I love helping people, especially when I have extensive experience in regards to the help required. Which is why I was originally drawn to psychology and then subsequently to sales. It’s also why I suffocate my little Tiki dog with copious amounts of attention and cuddles. Luckily for me he does not have commitment issues, and is more than welcome to be the subject of my doting affection for hours on end.
However, sitting in the desert, day after day at the horse show, with too much down time for my overactive brain to deal with, isn’t exactly therapeutic. And as much as I enjoy assisting my customers at LA Saddlery, many of you know that I have been feeling a bit restless and bored by the Equestrian retail business. While by most standards, I have been hugely successful, I still feel as if I am constantly working from the bottom. Being a small business owner, entrepreneur, however you want to define it, requires the ability, and more importantly the desire, to constantly evolve, to strive to be better, to be different, innovative, a leader. There is always something or someone just on your heals, someone younger, someone with more money, or more pull, someone without scruples or principles, threatening the success you have had to reinvent every year. Because every year, on some level, you are starting from scratch. And while that was exciting when I was 32, 35, 38, at 46 it just sounds exhausting. I am tired of reinventing myself, and in essence reinventing LA Saddlery, which as I have established is merely an extension of myself, my child to bear. I am also brimming with creative energy and have acquired a multitude of skills through running this business that I would love to explore in new ventures with other like-minded people.
The most annoying piece of this story is that LA Saddlery still has exponential potential. The brands I have worked with and essentially helped build, are doing better than ever. Iago in particular has become a force at the horse shows on the West Coast, and now there is growing interest on the East Coast, with stores beginning to contact me about selling the brand in their shop. Which I am super excited about, because that has been my intention for the past several years, to take an unknown brand and help build it across the country. With the freedom to design collections for the US, the possibilities for Iago to grow and actually shape the equestrian fashion market, are becoming a quick reality.
Then you have my little t-shirt brand Bad Horse Los Angeles. It is still turning heads after three plus years on the market, and my silhouettes and fabrics are getting better and better. I am slowly navigating my way through the design and manufacturing process, and don’t get me started on trying to figure out all the inner workings of SEO, Google, and Social Media. For me anything related to the internet and technology is about as easy as learning an ancient language. But I am fully immersed in the business of brand building, and if I have to learn how to code, well god damn it I will!
So what will the 14th year of LA Saddlery look like? Well I am still placing new orders and designing new collections, which means business as usual. Though my appearances at the Showgrounds will be much more fleeting. I am only going to choose to go to shows that make me happy, and that fit into my “life” schedule. I have decided that life in general is more important than conquering the Equestrian retail world, and on some level haven’t I already conquered it? My website, of course, will always be stocked full of the most current inventory for you to shop conveniently from wherever you are, knowing I am only a text, IG message, or email away from helping you pick out the best style, fit, size for your taste, your body, and your trainer’s pickiness!
But I want to put it out there that I am on the hunt for a strategic partner, or perhaps a motivated buyer who wants to take the reins and gallop LA Saddlery into the happy ending sunset of future success. It is a consistently profitable business, with zero liabilities or debt on record, and plenty of room to grow and expand its customer base. So there you go, the idea is now out in the universe for my fellow equestrian enthusiasts to ponder and discuss, and maybe pass along the idea to others who might be tantalized by the allure of the Equestrian world. I would love to entertain the idea with another like-minded lover of fashion and horses, who also has an entrepreneurial spirit. At 46 I know in my heart of hearts that my horse show shelf life is shortening. There is no way in hell you will see me out here in the desert, popping up tents and dressing mannequins in my 60’s! But until then my good friends, I am here to dress and to entertain you as needed. Except if it’s windy out. Then you are on your own.
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