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redlight
Apr. 20, 2009, 01:29 PM
Hi, Let me preface this by saying I am not a rider looking for a sponsor, it's the other way around. I am the designer and owner of a new line of tack and would like to work with some of the ULR's to give my brand some much needed exposure and feedback. The items are very high quality it's just that I am a new name and hence unheard of. Does anyone know how product sponsorship works? Is it enough to supply a rider with your products for free or do they require an investment of money as well? I'm not looking for anyone to sell the tack it's just so that people see it being used. In this challenging economy I have to look at all avenues to promote my new business. I don't currently sell to any of the tack shops as I want to develop the brand before doing so. I appreciate any help you guys could give me!

heartinrye
Apr. 20, 2009, 02:54 PM
Maybe provide tack with a contract that they will hang a banner with your company name like "ABC tack sponsors Goober Face" at all their shows and they will use your tack...

superpony123
Apr. 20, 2009, 03:06 PM
try getting in touch with local BNT's in the area. provide nicely made banners for them with your brand and logo on it (make sure there is a website somewhere on it) and some tack. make sure it is written in contract that the trainer must hang the banner with their set up at shows, something like that.

Wizard of Oz's
Apr. 20, 2009, 03:18 PM
Yep, banners for shows are good, also caps and such with your logo on them will get the word out, along with saddle pads with the logo. If you have a rider in a big class with your logo on the saddle pad, people will take notice. Also, I'm not sure, but I think you're supposed to chip in with show fees and such. Again, not sure, but I know someone who is sponsored by CWD and I think they pay for some show fees since she's using and exposing all of their stuff.

redlight
Apr. 20, 2009, 05:47 PM
The banners are a great suggestion and I am in the process of having saddle pads made up. I'm thinking at the top level that maybe the riders do ask for some money since they are probably approached by a number of companies.

I am donating a portion of my profits to charities so I would hope that the riders I approach would be on board with that.

IsolaBella09
Apr. 20, 2009, 05:56 PM
Love the idea of profits to charities! That's an awesome idea.

Ditto on the saddle pads. That's the most common way to get the word out as with the tack being used. Also, jumper bonnets. A lot of jumper riders use jumper bonnets with their sponsors' logos on them.

Good Luck!
P.S. I like your Piccadilly bridle. ;)

joiedevie99
Apr. 20, 2009, 06:24 PM
Your best bet is to look at the grand prix results for some of the bigger shows and see who competes regularly- but isn't a "name." Those people are out there enough to expose your products, but may not be approached often if at all and probably won't want money. Not sure what region you are in- but pm me if you want a few ideas.

Credosporthorses
Apr. 20, 2009, 10:29 PM
Also try to spread out and get in contact with rider/trainers on both coasts that way your product is see by a lot of people. I love your bridles BWT:yes:

redlight
Apr. 21, 2009, 05:17 PM
Thanks for the suggestions! I'm on the east coast so will start here first. I am also doing some small sponsorships at some of the horse shows and horse trials. Thanks for the compliments too! Just trying to do something a little different with more of an identity than some other brands out there.

gladys
Apr. 21, 2009, 05:33 PM
Can you do gift certificates as prizes? That will get people onto your site and hopefully buying. Your gift cert. would be for a portion of the bridle price.

I'm not sure of the price point of your products, but it is important to target the correct customer, so if you are a more expensive product, you will want to focus on riders at the bigger shows.

If you are more medium priced, really any type of medium to smaller shows where people who have more modest budgets should be your target.

You can do a sponsorship with a medium to big name soley by giving them product.

Tex Mex
Apr. 21, 2009, 07:10 PM
Just get in touch with a professional rider who is currently in the spotlight right now. Depending on your product, you'll want someone who is a great role model, super stylish, and really good-looking always helps :). No need to give them anything other than some of your product to wear at shows. They will probably be flattered and honored to help you out!

Tex Mex
Apr. 21, 2009, 07:16 PM
OK, just looked at your website and realized it's tack, not clothing. So maybe look more for someone who has a "hot" horse right now. A beautiful horse and one that is especially photogenic. Then just let them know you love the horse and would love for him to wear one of your bridles. When they do, you can buy a professional photo, and get a quote from the rider about how great the bridle is for your promotional use. Make sure you are only working with professionals and not an amateur.

Foxtrot's
Apr. 22, 2009, 12:47 AM
I'm not familiar with sponsorship in the horse world. Product sponsorship is common in athletics with a request for photos that you can use in your advertising. If a really BNR is given money then they put your logo on, say, a baseball cap, and are interviewed or shown on tv wearing it, or in a magazine article.

redlight
Apr. 23, 2009, 09:21 AM
I am most appreciative of all the suggestions and pm's. I am doing some class sponsorships at a few of the upcoming A shows and horse trials on the east coast which is where I am based. I've gotten some great suggestions for the west coast. In terms of the east coast anyone have any suggestions on a good up and coming grand prix rider? I'm not at the point where I can provide money and I'd rather have someone who is going to use my tack. I would especially be interested in someone who has had to "climb" the ranks so to speak or experienced hardship instead of someone who is independently wealthy. An excellent reputation is a must as well as a person who is dedicated to their horses. You can pm me with suggestions.

hype
Apr. 23, 2009, 11:21 AM
I don't want to be nasty and am bringing this up to help because you asked about marketing a new product so please don't flame me here...

Your photos on the website are lacking a bit. When you are trying to sell what is obviously an upper end bridle please make sure that it fits the horse well. In your first photo the noseband is way too low on the horse (it is the hunter bridle). Two fingers is max under that bone. Having it that low does nothing to flatter this horse's head and show off your bridle.

In the second photo the horse's coat is a bit rough.

I don't think that you need to have professional horse models :) but make sure that the horses are exceptionally clean, polished and that everything fits them perfectly.

The one ad that always catches my eye is the Hermes saddle ad where the horse is looking at himself in the mirror. You can see yourself in his coat, everything is fitted to perfection, hooves are oiled etc. That is the image that you want with this type of bridle. Of course it doesn't hurt to have horses with beautiful heads model bridles either. I know that many of the "famous" hunters in their day modeled bridles. I don't know if it is as easy as giving the trainer a free bridle or what but I'd have my horse model a bridle all braided up and ring ready for a new bridle. Just a thought.

Lucassb
Apr. 23, 2009, 08:57 PM
I'm afraid I have to agree with Hype. You are asking a premium price for the hunter bridle, and especially since you are an unknown brand at this point, you want to look like you know what you are doing. The tack on a hunter should be brown, and I personally would put a big Dee ring snaffle on the bridle instead of the loose ring, since that is what is typically worn by a top hunter. Also agree that the horse should be clipped up and presented like a top hunter; even better if you can do some "on location" shots at one of the big shows or at home if you can get a BNT/BNR to do it for you. (That can be part of the sponsorship contract.) The bigger names DO expect $$$ and can get it, but frankly you may want to look at the level below the top, since most of the top names will already have sponsorship arrangement with other tack companies.

You can certainly find someone up and coming to support, or go after another group that you think is a good target for your products; perhaps by sponsoring one of the adult hunter divisions or a year end award. Offering products as prizes can also be a good way to get some exposure as part of the sponsorship or a class or division. Most A show management companies have people who handle sponsorships, and the deals can also include vendor space at the competitions which might be a good way to get exposure also.

You will want some literature detailing why your products are superior (beyond just the leather quality.) I didn't spend a lot of time on your website so you may have more there than just the photos but I think you can do a lot more to engage your potential buyers by pointing out whatever special features you offer. The standard product shots on average looking horsey heads isn't really doing much to differentiate your tack or set you apart, but the good news is that that is pretty easy to fix.

One more suggestion... I don't know if you want to mention sponsoring A shows and hunter trials in the same communication(s). It is perfectly fine, obviously, to have products for both markets, but they are different worlds ... and again since you are unknown at this point, you will want to try to clearly "speak" to whatever group you are targeting at that moment.

redlight
Apr. 24, 2009, 08:45 AM
Point taken. Life isn't always perfect and if you read more of my website you'll understand why I'm saying this. Sometimes you go with what you've got, knowing that in life you need to be flexible and with flexibility comes the ability to change. Come back to the site in six months and you'll see what I mean. In a perfect situation I would have been in Wellington taking pictures of sleek, shiny horses wearing my tack. Reality-February in the Northeast. At that time of year there aren't too many horses with slick show ring ready coats. Either the horses are south for the winter or they are off for the season and hence not clipped. I was not about to have horses body clipped that spent most of their time outdoors. Would that have been fair to the horses? No I could not get South to take picture. So yes, I am quite aware that the pictures do not necessarily convey luxury and believe me, when my next group of bridles comes in, I will be redoing the pictures. But at some point you have to get into it and there is never a perfect time to do something. The initial goal was to get the site up, work out the kinks and go from there. If you know anything about product design, you know it is an ongoing process. You also know that not everyone is going to like what you design. Despite what the economy is doing it is a very good time to start a business because when it picks up my business will be ready to take advantage of it.

For those of you who didn't venture past the product page, did you know that I am donating twenty percent of profits to charity? Do you know of any start up companies doing that? We are alot more than a business out to make money. I started the business as a way to give back to others first. Some may think that's a strange way to do business but that's me.

Lastly, I stand behind every product I sell. If the leather is defective in any way at any time I replace it free of charge. Do the big tack guys do that?

So for those of you with criticism, check back in six months.

Life is a journey with many twists and turns and I have learned to enjoy every minute of it. I hope you do too.

Lucassb
Apr. 24, 2009, 11:53 AM
Point taken. Life isn't always perfect and if you read more of my website you'll understand why I'm saying this. Sometimes you go with what you've got, knowing that in life you need to be flexible and with flexibility comes the ability to change. Come back to the site in six months and you'll see what I mean. In a perfect situation I would have been in Wellington taking pictures of sleek, shiny horses wearing my tack. Reality-February in the Northeast. At that time of year there aren't too many horses with slick show ring ready coats. Either the horses are south for the winter or they are off for the season and hence not clipped. I was not about to have horses body clipped that spent most of their time outdoors. Would that have been fair to the horses? No I could not get South to take picture. So yes, I am quite aware that the pictures do not necessarily convey luxury and believe me, when my next group of bridles comes in, I will be redoing the pictures. But at some point you have to get into it and there is never a perfect time to do something. The initial goal was to get the site up, work out the kinks and go from there. If you know anything about product design, you know it is an ongoing process. You also know that not everyone is going to like what you design. Despite what the economy is doing it is a very good time to start a business because when it picks up my business will be ready to take advantage of it.

For those of you who didn't venture past the product page, did you know that I am donating twenty percent of profits to charity? Do you know of any start up companies doing that? We are alot more than a business out to make money. I started the business as a way to give back to others first. Some may think that's a strange way to do business but that's me.

Lastly, I stand behind every product I sell. If the leather is defective in any way at any time I replace it free of charge. Do the big tack guys do that?

So for those of you with criticism, check back in six months.

Life is a journey with many twists and turns and I have learned to enjoy every minute of it. I hope you do too.

Red, sorry to have offended you. I guess the concern was that, although products certainly can and do evolve over time, you only get one chance to make a first impression. There are a lot of "eyes" here on COTH and I think you'd want to make sure that first impression is positive as you are launching a new business.

FWIW, I have the same medical history as you do (and in the same timeframe) so I can well appreciate the comment about enjoying life. That said, I have to be honest and tell you that although I think the charitable giving is extremely laudable, it would not influence my choice to buy tack. I am a bridle addict and have a lot of high end bridles, so the price wouldn't put me off, but to spend in that price range, there really needs to be something very compelling about the design and craftsmanship. That is a hard thing to convey on a website for sure, and it's one reason that the photos are such a big deal. That said, our horses are in the northeast and we keep them clipped up since some of us do brave the icicle circuit in the winter time, so rest assured it should not be too tough to find some heads to show off your stuff.

Best of luck.

katie16
Apr. 24, 2009, 12:05 PM
Point taken. Life isn't always perfect and if you read more of my website you'll understand why I'm saying this. Sometimes you go with what you've got, knowing that in life you need to be flexible and with flexibility comes the ability to change. Come back to the site in six months and you'll see what I mean. In a perfect situation I would have been in Wellington taking pictures of sleek, shiny horses wearing my tack. Reality-February in the Northeast. At that time of year there aren't too many horses with slick show ring ready coats. Either the horses are south for the winter or they are off for the season and hence not clipped. I was not about to have horses body clipped that spent most of their time outdoors. Would that have been fair to the horses? No I could not get South to take picture. So yes, I am quite aware that the pictures do not necessarily convey luxury and believe me, when my next group of bridles comes in, I will be redoing the pictures. But at some point you have to get into it and there is never a perfect time to do something. The initial goal was to get the site up, work out the kinks and go from there. If you know anything about product design, you know it is an ongoing process. You also know that not everyone is going to like what you design. Despite what the economy is doing it is a very good time to start a business because when it picks up my business will be ready to take advantage of it.

For those of you who didn't venture past the product page, did you know that I am donating twenty percent of profits to charity? Do you know of any start up companies doing that? We are alot more than a business out to make money. I started the business as a way to give back to others first. Some may think that's a strange way to do business but that's me.

Lastly, I stand behind every product I sell. If the leather is defective in any way at any time I replace it free of charge. Do the big tack guys do that?

So for those of you with criticism, check back in six months.

Life is a journey with many twists and turns and I have learned to enjoy every minute of it. I hope you do too.


While I understand what you are saying here, I have to disagree with your reasoning. My opinion, as a potential customer, is that it is very difficult to un-do or re-do a negative or less than positive first impression. While you may likely put up new and improved photos in the future, many will form an opinion from the presentation you put out now. They will not necessarily bother to check back in six months. Just my two cents! Good luck with your venture!

Equitate.
Apr. 24, 2009, 02:48 PM
Ditto on putting your logo on jumper hats and saddle pads.
Maybe sponsor a BNT barn and have a banner outside their show stalls that says they're sponsored by you. One of the barns that gets those permanent stalls right by the rings, y'know?

It sounds like a really cool idea to get your name out there.
PS: I like the breastplate :)

Pirateer
Apr. 24, 2009, 03:22 PM
PS: I like the breastplate :)

Holy cow, me too!

littleum
Apr. 24, 2009, 05:52 PM
In addition to class sponsorship, consider donating your products to be used as prizes at a show.

Shows normally are very happy to have special prizes for the big classes.

Just an example, but years ago a new shop came on the scene. Their products were the high end of pricey and it was the days before the internet, so marketing moved much more slowly. I think what really gave them the shove they needed wasn't just great products and great customer service, but they got their stuff out in front of the BNTs by donating their key items (blankets & hoodies) to large shows as Championship/Stakes awards. Attached to each item was a little tag or label with their name and 1-800 number.

They also did sponsor classes and hang out banners ect, but I really think donating prizes went miles. The items got in front of the BNTs, the BNTs liked the product, and obviously, recommended it to their clients. That was the foot in the door.

I think what kept people coming back, and really grew their business was their amazing customer service. Even if it wasn't in their catalog, you could call them and ask them if they could make it. If you needed weird sizing, they could do it. Even if you were a nobody just spending $20, you got great service. Never underestimate the power of customer service!

Their prices are still "premium", and you can find cheaper, but many people still buy from them because the experience is so pleasant, and you know when it arrives it is exactly what you want.

I think going after an up-and-coming riding is a good idea, but getting your product out in front of the trainers will give you double exposure. Just make sure you follow it up with amazing customer service, since you're doing premium level offerings.

Maya01
Apr. 25, 2009, 07:50 AM
PS: I like the breastplate :)

o.o It is a nice breastplate... You can sponsor me! I could get you some Canadian customers :D

Anyways...it depends on the rider and their situation. Young Riders would be good to sponsor, I have yet to see more sponsorship going to them and there is quite a bit of money competing in those shows, in dressage or jumping and a lot of them have a huge amount of talent to represent us in the future :yes: