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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun. 8, 2008
    Posts
    778

    Default Is there a market for this?

    My sister and I are wanting to start a business in making nice, high quality, classy saddle pads. Offering lots of different colors, materials, and piping. Also embroidering. I know how to sew, and I will teach my sister, and hopefully can make some pretty pads.

    I want to make unique ones (white velvet with small rhinestone edges for her friesian stallion) Some will be a bit costly (have you seen the price of velvet?!?) but unlike what most saddle pad carriers offer. I have looked at Dover and they don't have what I'm wanting to make them unique and classy but not gaudy or too blingy.

    Is there a market for this? Or would it just flop? I don't want to do internet sales or much from a website, but mostly at shows. (we live near Del Mar)


    Also, what colors are allowed in dressage shows? I want to make nice show pads.

    Just let me know any thoughts, ideas, warnings etc.

    Thanks in Advance!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb. 21, 2007
    Location
    VA
    Posts
    2,077

    Default

    Would it be different from this? www.seamsright.com
    "We need a pinned ears icon." -MysticOakRanch



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr. 20, 2009
    Location
    Raeford, North Carolina
    Posts
    3,192

    Default

    Meh. Even my "show only" pads get trashed so quickly that I have a hard time justifying spending a ton of money on them. A simple white pad is all you need. Even jumping pads for XC that can have some personality are pretty affordable from places like Smartpak or Dover.

    I would imagine that if your pads are that high-end you may be more successful having a display at shows but allowing internet customization.

    That being said, I am all about entrepreneurial endeavors, so I wish you the best. Good luck and keep us posted!
    "Drawing on my fine command of the English language, I said nothing" - Robert Benchley
    Buildingthegrove.blogspot
    The Grove at Five Points



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun. 8, 2008
    Posts
    778

    Default

    Seabreeze, A little different. They have a lot of color options, and good quality, but I was thinking more with fancier trims. Possibly sew on some Swavorski beads to match a brow band. (I might make brow bans as well) Or using a metallic braid or other things that I'm not sure what they are called.

    I wouldn't want to charge a ton of money, I want them to be still affordable, but depending on how much the fabric costs and trim it will vary.

    Internet customization is a good idea, I will probably have a website too, but hope to do more at shows.

    Thanks guys!



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug. 11, 2008
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    3,882

    Default

    As a confirmed saddle pad junkie (who needs an intervention), I would most likely become one of your customers. But keep in mind, I need help, so am probably not the best person to base your decisions on.
    Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
    Witherun Farm
    http://witherun-farm.blogspot.com/



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct. 27, 2009
    Posts
    2,156

    Default

    I too am a saddle pad junkie and I always like things that are special and out of the ordinary. I think you should go for it. Start small so you're not over-extending yourself time or budget-wise and who knows, you might build up a nice business!



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun. 12, 2007
    Location
    CT
    Posts
    6,593

    Default

    I find that most pads (no matter what you do) don't stay show quality for very long, so I'm not one to spend a lot on a show pad. Similarly, I won't use anything that distracts from the horse like colors, crystals, etc. The most out-there I've ever done is a white swallowtail pad instead of square.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb. 9, 2005
    Location
    Ocala, FL
    Posts
    1,936

    Default

    I love saddle pads, but have a hard time finding the right ones.... that said, I did a simple google search of "custom saddle pads" and got a bunch of hits. Seems like there is a lot of competition out there.


    What do I like? Thin enough to wash in a washer. No pilling top or bottom. Billett keepers in the right place - many are too far back! Long enough in the spine for an 18 inch saddle (many are not long enough). Flag (square) tail. A nice selection of colors. Not foam filled - too hot in FL. Shaped for withers.

    I also like shaped pads for schooling, but it is even harder to find those that fit!

    L



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb. 16, 2008
    Posts
    384

    Default

    I bleach the hell out of my show pads to keep them as white as possible for as long as possible. Would the sew on beads and trims you are thinking survive multiple washings in hot water and bleach?

    I am more of a traditionalist and prefer clean and simple, no sparkle. But there seems to be lots of folks who like the sparkle. So if the pads hold up I suspect people would buy them.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec. 14, 2011
    Posts
    92

    Default

    The problem with crystals and braids,etc., is that they would only look great the first day you used them. After that, you have to wash them, and they never look the same. The crystals would probably be trashed.

    We don't mean to rain on your parade, but the seamsright pads are over $100 each because she custom makes them, with beautiful fabrics. They have to cost that much. They also get sad looking, right along with the cheaper ones.

    The vast majority of riders (99%, I would think), use white pads, perhaps with some other color trim. Just sayin'



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb. 13, 2006
    Posts
    1,540

    Default competitors

    One of your competitors would be Ellerslie at http://www.ellersliecustomblankets.n...le%20pads.html

    She is based in NYC and gets some really distinctive fabrics for pads, blankets, and saddle covers. They are beautifully made and wash well -- stay looking good for years. That said, I don't own them in white, but in tapestries and plaid with leather piping. I use them for clinics.


    I think you could add to this type of business -- make yourself unique -- in several different ways...

    -- personalizing standard, cheapish white show pads or plain pads, even painting on fabric, and selling them relatively cheaply?
    -- offering thinline versions or sheepskin versions
    -- offering a high-wither profile pad
    -- Travelling to barns and/or offering pad parties a la color me beautiful of long ago
    -- really good web marketing

    What do you think?
    http://behindthebitblog.com
    Dressage, riding, sport horse blog
    BTBbrowbands.com
    Unique browbands for dressage and hunter riders



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb. 14, 2012
    Location
    Fern Creek, KY
    Posts
    3,126

    Default

    You may have luck branching out into the QH world as well. After spending a few years there myself, I could see your idea going over well. Those ladies do love their bling!
    Last edited by Superminion; Jun. 21, 2012 at 10:06 PM. Reason: There, their, they're....



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun. 8, 2008
    Posts
    778

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by staceyk View Post
    One of your competitors would be Ellerslie at http://www.ellersliecustomblankets.n...le%20pads.html

    She is based in NYC and gets some really distinctive fabrics for pads, blankets, and saddle covers. They are beautifully made and wash well -- stay looking good for years. That said, I don't own them in white, but in tapestries and plaid with leather piping. I use them for clinics.


    I think you could add to this type of business -- make yourself unique -- in several different ways...

    -- personalizing standard, cheapish white show pads or plain pads, even painting on fabric, and selling them relatively cheaply?
    -- offering thinline versions or sheepskin versions
    -- offering a high-wither profile pad
    -- Travelling to barns and/or offering pad parties a la color me beautiful of long ago
    -- really good web marketing

    What do you think?

    I think your ideas are great! I will look into how hard it would be to make a thinline or sheep skin version. Also talk it over with my sister too.

    How would it be if I make the fancy trim (crystals or beads) removable? Like if they were all on a velcro strip, that you peel off to wash the pad? Or it could be interchangeable so you can put different designs on a pad. ( have seen brow bands done this way)

    so do people prefer good quality for shows? or just cheap and white because they wash so much. Or good quality for daily use?



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr. 29, 2012
    Posts
    319

    Default

    I tend to go with basic pads more than fancy ones since in my experience the fancy ones are often less durable (too much foam padding or billet straps in the wrong place leading to pulling at the seams or wear on the edges of the quilting).

    But I have a hard-to-fit horse and am always on the lookout for shapes and sizes that fit and am willing to spend money on quality pads if the fit is right and the basics of a good pad aren't overlooked in the quest for fanciness. I could see this working if you offer multiple shapes (flag-tail, squares to fit big horses and little horses, high withers, etc.). Staceyk's suggestions (sheepskin, thinline, tasteful) are also great!

    I prefer plain but very high quality for shows, quality pads with tasteful personality for clinics, and thin, durable, very washable pads for home (used with a separate sheepskin half pad). Some sort of velcro design system would only work for me for a clinic pad if it wasn't very obvious that the embellishment was velcro'd on.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug. 30, 2001
    Location
    Purcellville, VA
    Posts
    5,955

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by seabreeze View Post
    Would it be different from this? www.seamsright.com
    Her pads are really high quality. I have four and have to say that now that I use them all the time, instead of saving them for lessons or clinics, they are still holding up very well. Much better than my second choice of the PRI pads, which I like a lot.

    Anything that prevents easy washing of a pad is going to make it a no go for me.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan. 10, 2002
    Location
    Area VIII, Region 2, Zone 5.
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    7,451

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tobias View Post
    How would it be if I make the fancy trim (crystals or beads) removable? Like if they were all on a velcro strip, that you peel off to wash the pad? Or it could be interchangeable so you can put different designs on a pad. ( have seen brow bands done this way)
    That is a great idea! I would suggest supplying a "dummy" strip to attach to and cover the velcro on the pad when it's being washed, to keep it from snagging a bunch of lint. Also, the dummy could be put on the pad for shows, where the bling might not be considered conservative. There are pretty limiting rules for saddle pads at recognized shows.
    Founding member of the "I Miss bar.ka" clique
    Founding member of the "I Miss Pocket Trainer" clique



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr. 1, 2003
    Location
    SE Ky
    Posts
    4,403

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by lorilu View Post
    I love saddle pads, but have a hard time finding the right ones.... that said, I did a simple google search of "custom saddle pads" and got a bunch of hits. Seems like there is a lot of competition out there.


    What do I like? Thin enough to wash in a washer. No pilling top or bottom. Billett keepers in the right place - many are too far back! Long enough in the spine for an 18 inch saddle (many are not long enough). Flag (square) tail. A nice selection of colors. Not foam filled - too hot in FL. Shaped for withers.

    I also like shaped pads for schooling, but it is even harder to find those that fit!

    L
    Add to this wither relief. I had a similar idea but wanted to have polo shirts and polo wraps in same colr as pad for a nice "polished" schooling look.

    Dressage show pads have color restrictions - nothing like lime green - snd decorations (embroidery, etc) are limited in size. Personally if I could get a decent pad with contrasting piping (love the Classics II pads - right size, good quality) with a polo shirt to match (optional dressage embroidery on front) and matching polo wraps for the horse if I could get all 3 for $100 I would probably order it.
    Sandy in Fla.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug. 22, 2005
    Location
    mid-atlantic
    Posts
    2,529

    Default

    My gut says yes, there is a market for this.

    A few ideas:

    - custom size pads. Not everyone has a huge dressage saddle (um, like me )

    - Partner with a "performance fabric" company like Back on Track or Draper and offer customized pads made of their fabrics. Right now, if you want their stuff, there are no custom piping/border options.

    - Ditto for Thinline, for sewn-on panels

    - offer sheepskin panels

    A good, easy-to-navigate web site with a secure check-out is a must!

    And don't forget that women qualify for minority business loans (very low interest rate) so invest enough to have an advertising budget. There may be competitors, but none that advertise heavily or seem all that accessible. You could really stand out in that arena.

    Good luck to you!
    "You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." - The Little Prince



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov. 20, 2007
    Posts
    838

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by lorilu View Post
    I love saddle pads, but have a hard time finding the right ones.... that said, I did a simple google search of "custom saddle pads" and got a bunch of hits. Seems like there is a lot of competition out there.


    What do I like? Thin enough to wash in a washer. No pilling top or bottom. Billett keepers in the right place - many are too far back! Long enough in the spine for an 18 inch saddle (many are not long enough). Flag (square) tail. A nice selection of colors. Not foam filled - too hot in FL. Shaped for withers.

    I also like shaped pads for schooling, but it is even harder to find those that fit!

    L
    ^^^THIS

    I have an 18 inch saddle with custom long flaps. I can no longer use my fitted pads with this saddle because the sides are too short. I would love to see some fitted pads in nice colors. I am always looking for some colored pads for schooling or for clinics. Nothing too "blingy", but conservative trims in just a nice variety of colors. My two horses are black and palomino...so it's always fun to dress them up.

    I would highly recommend having a website. I have a small business also...and have done shows (which are HARD work)...a lot of times, people that may not be able to afford purchasing at the show...will look you up online and buy later. So don't discount the importance of the internet.

    I really like the lunge pads I saw on the other site...however, they looked a bit thin to me...maybe something similiar in a bit thicker pad.

    I think you have a great idea...I say GO FOR IT!
    Unashamed Member of the Dressage Arab Clique
    CRAYOLA POSSE= Thistle



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug. 11, 2008
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    3,882

    Default

    Better than velcro would be to sew the fancy trim onto a small, self colored piece of fabric and attach with small clear snaps. This is a favorite trick of interior decorators.
    Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
    Witherun Farm
    http://witherun-farm.blogspot.com/



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