April 23, 2020
Starting a business is a bit like having a baby. That may sound weird, but as I sit here and think about how far we have come over the last 12 months the only thing I can compare it to is giving birth.
So how did this all happen?
The idea sprouted as I watched a friend tack up. She always (and I mean every. single. time) rides with a towel under her saddle pad. This, she told me, was an old time-saving technique she had developed from working polo ponies in her youth. I remember my eyes swivelling from her tacking up her horse to my horses paddock rug which was folded over the stable door next to hers, that.. no surprises, has a detachable liner.. the light bulb suddenly went on in my mind.
Years spent at college studying garment design suddenly became useful, my pattern making skills jumped in to play and the design quickly flashed in my mind! All those times I waited for my husband to leave the house so we could secretly wash saddle pads in the washing machine without argument, or indeed all the saddle pads I had washed, over the years, that came out looking dirtier than when they went in or totally lost their shape. This idea could avoid all that and save many quabbles. Voila! The idea was conceived. A saddle pad with a removable, washable liner! Why had no one thought of this before? or had they? Straight to google for some FBI level research! there was nothing!
A throw away comment about this being an ‘iconic’ idea became our business name. Iconic Equestrian. The concept of a 2-in-1 saddle pad was so original, it was only natural that, if we could make it work, the product be called the Iconic Original 2-in-1. So now we had a business name, a product idea and a name for it. Now we had to figure out how to make it!
My business partner, whose expertise in saddle pads comes not only from everyday riding, training and coaching, but also from her collection of over 50 different saddle pads quickly decided what shape, thickness and features would be necessary. Straight to her tack room to look at the different features in her collection and decide what we liked, hated and could and couldn’t live without.
Quality was key! But we didn’t to be high end (yet). We saw our product, as one you would use everyday, so what are the things we loved in our everyday saddle pads and what are the things we wanted to avoid?
What we love.
The concept of the liner was seemingly easy! It turned out to be a lot harder than we thought.
It couldn’t bunch, slip or wrinkle. It needed to be a natural fibre. It needed to be thin and not interfere with the saddle pad at all.
Sketching quickly started. We started with the dressage style. Our first challenge, how to attach the liner.
We sacrificed a white saddle pad won as a prize and started to develop a prototype.
Stay tuned for our blog next week when we’ll tell you how we made our prototype and the testing phase... (hint.. it involves many trips to spotlight and Ikea!)
until next time.. Happy riding!
The Iconic Equestrian Team