BY SISSY WICKES
The best products for our industry are consistently designed by those who understand our industry. It is difficult for people who have never experienced a horse show season to comprehend it. The long days ringside in blistering heat or torrential rains are a start. As a parent or a rider, you drive to shows pre-dawn, making sure that all equipment is present and accounted for. The rush of getting ready and your child asks you to hold on to her spurs and crop while she rides to the ring. Water bottles, snacks, stock pins, mints, cell phones, boot polish. Parents as valets, riders remembering everything they could possibly need to get through a horse show day.
How do we carry requisite supplies and not look like pack mules? How do we avoid carrying a nylon school backpack when clearly we have moved past that stage of life? Introducing LAURACEA (lor-a- chay-a), a recently launched line of functional, luxury bags. LAURACEA is the brainchild of entrepreneur Tamara Makris, mother of two riders. “The idea for these bags came from the challenge of keeping my girls outfitted and equipped at the shows,” Makris explains. “I would burn a path between the ring and the barn because we would forget or lose things. And, I didn’t want to carry an unattractive backpack.” Makris spent a full year combing retail stores and the internet for an answer to her handbag needs. Finding none that checked all of the boxes, she designed her own. “I wanted clean lines, functionality, and high quality materials. I believe that simplicity is the ultimate in sophistication.” Makris continues, “We have spent three years developing our bags and many, many hours of wear testing them.”
The result is the LAURACEA backpack, called the Convertible Backpack Tote because the comfortable, weight distributing straps can configure to become a backpack or tote. Designed with input from riders, it was created with the equestrian in mind. It easily fits a helmet, has a secure strap for your crop, exterior pockets for gloves and a water bottle, and exterior zip pockets for credit cards and other small essentials. No more running back to your tack trunk for gloves or losing crops ringside. The backpack also comes with a detachable protective key ring and has a large slip pocket on the back that fits a show number or a laptop. This beautiful piece is the perfect accessory for a busy woman inside or outside of the equestrian world.
LAURACEA offers five different designs in a variety of Italian leathers: a luxurious natural grain calfskin, a wipeable Italian nappa, and a matte rubberized leather that is waterproof and wipeable for those long dusty days at the barn or show. They also offer a signature Peony Printed Leather that is printed on Italian lambskin. All bags are lined with a stain and water resistant lining. Bags range from the Mini Wristlet, the Petite Tote, the Classic Tote – a great carry-all for everyday or weekend travel to horse shows, the Hampton Shopper, and the backpack. Each piece is designed to be utilized separately or together and is made in Italy with production quality on par with the heritage brands that sit atop the market.
Makris explains, “The DNA of our brand is that everything serves to combine beauty, quality and function. We understand how a woman uses bags on a daily basis and that details matter. Our product has been revised and changed as actual use influenced design.” The intricacies of the interior design are a testament to the research that went into it. There are clips for keys, a cell phone pocket that allows easy retrieval, zipped outside pockets for credit cards, roomy interior space for essentials. As Makris points out, “There is a place for everything.”
Lauracea launches in the fall of 2018 and can be seen at the World Equestrian Games, Pennsylvania National and Washington International Horse Shows. Please visit their website Lauracea.com and Instagram at @shoplauracea.
About the Author: Sissy is a Princeton University graduate, a lifelong rider and trainer, a USEF R rated judge, a freelance journalist and an autism advocate. Her illustrious resume includes extensive show hunter and jumper experience. She lives with her family in Unionville, PA and Wellington, FL.
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