BY KAITLYN YOURKOSKI
The equestrian world has many talented people, especially within the next generations. As a young equestrian myself, I have always been interested in my entrepreneur peers. There are many young equestrians who have used their creativity to better the industry. From clothing to treat companies, these young women have all become innovators.
Kaelyn Kennedy of TKEQ
Kaelyn’s clothing brand was inspired by her want to find tees and pullovers that could be acceptable in a competitive show barn. She created her clothing company for the modern equestrian. Her shirts and pullovers have a soft touch and ensure that equestrians stay stylish. “I started TKEQ because I felt that this was something that was missing. TKEQ’s tees fit like show shirts, which is both flattering and comfortable giving you a very tailored look – perfect for morning hacks, course walks or hand walking!” Her company caters to equestrians, grooms, and just everyday wear.
In 2018, TKEQ hosted Pop Up Shops around the United States and Canada. Also in the previous year, she was commissioned to create a series of shirts for The Devon Horse Show. Throughout the upcoming year, her success will only keep growing. She has future plans to launch a TKEQ athletics line.
Just like any great businesswoman, Kaelyn has great advice for those looking to getting started in the industry. “Learn from your mistakes, don’t be discouraged from them. As an entrepreneur you are always learning, growing and evolving with the industry you are in,” she said. Her success shows even—when it was hard won.
Autumn Siliato of Autumn Elizabeth Apparel
Autumn Elizabeth Apparel is a retail company that specializes in custom apparel. She started out making custom shirts for riders, barns, and teams and has expanded ever since. Beginning with the hope of paying for a winter showing in Wellington, her hard work resulted in sales that achieved this goal. During WEF 2018, Autumn spent the month of January showing in Florida. Now, Autumn Elizabeth Apparel features show and sun shirts, hats, belts, and jewelry. She has also introduced coolers and blankets. After starting her business, Autumn has been a vendor at multiple shows including the IHSA National Horse Show.
“If you’re dedicated and really believe in your product, you should definitely give it a go!” she advised future entrepreneurs. “It’s just a great experience, and it’s really rewarding to see your product on the show grounds.” Autumn’s belief in her product has helped her success. Last year, she was featured on Varney and Co (Fox Business News).
As 2019 continues she wants to create a recognizable brand with great customer service. She also plans to set up shop at IHSA Nationals in Syracuse, The Garden State Horse Show, and Monmouth at the Team horse show.
Peyton Meinhardt of Lucky 7 Treats
Peyton Meinhardt wanted to create a business where people would keep coming back. Enter Lucky 7 Treats, where she combined her love for horses and her business aspirations.
Lucky 7 Treats provides all natural, healthy treats for horses. There are a wide range of treats with seasonal options, and her treats even taste good for humans. “I knew there were lots of cool horse treat companies but I didn’t see any companies focused on both fun designs and great tasting treats,” Peyton explained.
Peyton had a successful 2018, and was able to sell her treats at a local retail store as well as sponsor the University of Oregon equestrian team. In 2019, Peyton hopes to keep improving and creating new styles of treats. She also hopes to double the size of her business while making the creation and shipping of the treats more effective.
As a student, Petyon is very busy but she looks forward to working on her business after school. “I have to admit it can get very overwhelming from time to time. It takes a lot of patience to make treats and they don’t always turn out the way I imagine. So don’t give up if it takes some time – it’s ok! Also, keep in mind, there’s a lot to do when you run a business like Lucky 7,” she advised.
Stefanie Larsen of Box 4 Equestrains
Box 4 Equestrians is a seasonal box that includes six to seven full-size, unique equestrian products. These products are great treats for both riders and their horses, and the box showcases other small equestrian businesses. The inspiration behind her business is to bring equestrian entrepreneurs together by presenting their brands at once.
Stefanie founded her brand three months ago after she began riding after some time off. During her time at college studying finance, she realized she did not want to take the traditional route all her peers were choosing. “ I am a firm believer that you will be 10x more successful in life doing something you love, and I just wasn’t passionate enough about the more classical route.”
As her business continues to grow she is excited to meet more “boss babes” and spread her positive attitude across the equestrian community. She came with good advice to other young equestrians hoping to start their own business. “It is so easy to be influenced into doing what you think you should be doing and not what you want to do. Surround yourself with others who are passionate about what you are and there is no better day to start doing what you love than today.”
Annie Birmingham of Red Roan Equestrian
Annie started her business back in 2013 with a goal to make customizable bows. She wanted bows to be more fun than just the monotone colors that would blend into a riders show coat. Since then, her small online and pop-up style boutique has grown from bows to monogrammed decals and collaborations with companies like Fluff Money, ManeJane, and more.
“Starting my own business at a young age has taught me extremely valuable life lessons that have helped shape me into the person I am today. If you make connections and are willing to put in the work, amazing things can happen.”
That hard work certainly has paid off. Since her start selling bows to other riders in her area, Annie has sold products to customers across the United States and Canada. Riders showing from WEF to Devon to Pony Finals have all worn her bows. And this year, while she is studying at college, she continues to release new items.