BY SISSY WICKES
Everything Herd of Zebras stands for is designed to give you that warm fuzzy feeling on the inside and out, empower you, and stand alongside you.
Forest Franzoi, founder of the Herd of Zebras brand, is as unusual as her first name. She proudly explains that she is the third generation of female Forest’s, but the first to use it as her first name. This was the first sign of fearlessness. Although only in her early 30’s, Forest has faced autoimmune disease, chronic pain, infertility, heartbreak and loss. Rather than be felled by her hardships, she found strength and resolve. Like many equestrians, Forest turned to horses for solace and unconditional acceptance. Throughout bouts with endometriosis and personal anguish, Forest continued her relationship with horses and her barn family. “I found my escape and my purpose every day at the barn,” she states. “I don’t know how I would have survived without horses in my life. They are my safe haven.”
As she emerged from her twenties, scarred and bruised, Forest decided to shed the cloak of the past and begin an apparel line celebrating each person’s unique journey in life. So begins Herd of Zebras (www.herd-of-zebras.com). “Show your stripes,” as the tag line explains, Herd of Zebras embraces the different stripes that we each display. As is common knowledge, each zebra carries a unique pattern of stripes with no two zebras identical. Forest took this concept and applied it to people. “The stories behind our stripes are unique as well. We see stripes in place of scars, each bearing a unique story of true grit, endurance, and perseverance. Herd of Zebras is so much more than a brand. We’re a community of warriors living outside of a black and white world. What sets us apart from the rest are the stripes we bare and how we earned them.”
Leaving a successful career as a brand manager at a global corporation, Forest partnered with her sister-in-law and best friend, Liz Franzoi, to design a line of apparel, accessories, and equestrian goods with the Herd of Zebras logo on each. The logo, an adorable, multi-colored zebra face with a heart in the center, is named Sparky after Forest’s beloved pony who has been part of her family for 24 years. T-shirts, sweatshirts, and a warm, fuzzy pullover, the apparel is all designed with comfort in mind. Accessories include hats, stickers, and drink ware. For your horse, Herd of Zebras offers its zebra logo embroidered on high quality saddle pads, a bonnet, and a beautiful striped cooler.
Herd of Zebras is more than an image; it is a symbol of tolerance, inclusion, and strength. As Forest explains, “We want to create a solid lifestyle brand for like- minded, open hearted individuals. We are kind, approachable, and a bit bad ass!” With impressive social media acumen, Forest has successfully launched Herd of Zebras on the national equestrian stage. The products are sold online through their website. Look for Herd of Zebras products and join the herd forging the trail toward tolerance, understanding, and kindness.
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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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