I do not shop online. I also don’t shop at big stores like Target or Costco. Call me old fashioned. Call me stubborn. But I just can’t get on board with the big box store mentality where they believe that quantity is preferable to quality. And that refers to cost of goods, where and how the goods are manufactured, and then of course the customer service or more likely lack thereof. I am a people person, I prefer to interact with people when I need or want something. And I prefer knowledgeable people, friendly people, people who enjoy other people. Simply put, I like to help people and I definitely like when people help me!
Which is why for many years I did not have a successful website for LA Saddlery. Online shopping wasn’t my thing, so I never put the effort into building my web business. That’s not to say I didn’t spend money paying other people to do it for me. Lots and lots of money. All wasted because I never saw any return on my investment in online sales. I just couldn’t see how I could translate my business into an online experience.
We sell very specialized products at LA Saddlery, and that requires building relationships with customers, face to face, gaining their trust, seeing how things fit and don’t fit, getting to know who they are, who their trainers are, what they like, what they loathe. It sometimes involves a lot of hand holding, self-assurance, and even some psychotherapy! Luckily I love all of the above, and working with customers has been what’s kept my head and heart in the game for so long. Because we have fantastic customers and I just couldn’t see how I could offer that same level of customer service online to people all over North America. To people I have never met. To people whose dog I never cuddled. To people who couldn’t see my face, my utter look of disbelief when they are complaining about back fat. Non-existent back fat.
After I closed the store in January 2017, I also shut down our most recent attempt of a website. I ran an info page for www.lasaddlery.com just to let know customers know we still existed.
Then sometime in 2018 after settling into being a mobile only store, with much more time on my hands, I starting thinking that perhaps all of my website attempts never amounted to anything because I didn’t personally invest my time and energy, and most importantly my love into any of them. I had been sitting on another website from 2016 for the brand eqgirl that I was manufacturing in Italy. When I lost my manufacturer, and ran out of money, I finally rung up the white flag on that endeavor and left my cute little website hanging in a cyber black hole.
It was a very straight forward Shopify site, that I could manage on my own. The Shopify platform is basically Website for Dummies, so I knew I would be able to handle converting the existing site into an LA Saddlery one on my own. So in May 2018 I once again had an LA Saddlery web store. This time it was me and only me at the controls, so I could determine for myself if the online market was a viable one for LA Saddlery.
We had a few sales trickle in, nothing to get too excited about, but enough to keep me motivated. I wanted to be able to offer the same service and “hands on” attention I give my customers at the shows, to my online shoppers. I knew I had a long road ahead of me, but I was determined to conquer the web!
In late 2018 my desire to build my own brand of casual wear reemerged and I found a new manufacturer in Los Angeles who had the same creative energy and chutzpa as myself. My giddythefup idea that I had been sitting on for over a year was born and the first fleece debuted in January 2019. We started with only 24 fleece sweatshirts. I took a photo of the black and white fleece on a mannequin at our set up in the desert, posted and then boosted the post on Instagram.
And BAM!!! All of a sudden they were gone and my website was flooded with orders and inquiries. So we ordered 24 more. And then another 24. And then we decided to add long sleeve shirts. Sweatpants, V-neck tees, tank tops, hats and socks soon followed. All selling out within weeks sometimes days of getting our stock in. 2019 became the year of giddythefup and www.lasaddlery.com became an online destination for equestrian fashion enthusiasts.
With the closing of my store, then rebuilding my website, and launch of a leisure line of clothing, it was almost as if I had a premonition for what 2020 would have in store for us. I definitely have been accused of having a sixth sense. It freaks my boyfriend out because he just can’t seem to get away with anything!
So this year, as crappy as it has been from every angle you can fathom, LA Saddlery has survived by being creative, by being scrappy, and by being there for our customers no matter the day or even the time of day. Though I do wish some of y’all wouldn’t text me before 6am or after 10pm…I do need to give some attention to the boyfriend!
Just a few things I have done this year to make www.lasaddlery.com the place to be...We introduced a whole new collection from Bad Horse Los Angeles, each gaining momentum as the year went on. The Totally Bucked was my personal favorite, and extremely apropos for 2020!
I have done 4 photos shoots this year to capture the true LA Saddlery spirit. The images have spruced up my website as well as my social media, and this blog too!
I love to have fun with close out sales, and I also love to shop for people, so our grab bags have been a huge part of our online success in 2020. And I can’t tell you how many cool new customers I have had the pleasure to work with. Equestrians from Utah to Louisiana, Oklahoma to Maine. I have helped customers with all kinds of issues from boot sizing, to the best breech for your body, to picking out gifts for your picky daughters. I am always connected to some device or app, and answering questions via email, Instagram, Facebook, text, and even the occasional face time call. But it’s truly been a pleasure in this socially distanced time, to be able to connect with people who love horses, who love fashion, who love to shop...And who love to have fun!
We are gearing up for the upcoming fall circuit in California, fingers crossed! We will have a big clothing tent sale in Sacramento, in lieu of our fancy indoor set up. And we will have a brand new 20X20 super sale tent out at the Desert International Horse Park for the full fall and winter circuit.
Plus wait till you seen our new all metallic fleece collection for Bad Horse, including a new yummy navy fleece! I know how you all love navy, so we delivered. Happy Shopping! If you have been a good little blog reader, and gotten to this point, use code: ilovelasaddlery, and get 15% off your entire order through September 15th!
2020...time to giddyoverit and move on to happier days!