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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul. 5, 2012
    Location
    DC Metro Area
    Posts
    110

    Default Hiring a braider at Hunter shows

    Hello all,
    I recently started a braiding business in the DC metro area. So far most of my clients are dressage and eventing folk as that's where my grooming experience lies. I usually will go to their barn the night before or the morning of.

    I'm working on my hunter braids because I want to break into that market. So I'm wondering, how did you find your braider? Do you just braid once for the weekend or do you have them done daily? Do you have them done on the show grounds or before you leave home? How do you work your braider into your schedule for the weekend? Having experience in dressage and eventing, I'm used to working with clients who have specific ride times and not stabling for a whole weekend so I'm just wondering about the logistics at hunter shows.

    Once I'm happy with the quality of my hunter braids I figured I could camp out on show grounds and post my information around the stabling and hope I get called. Does this make sense?

    Thoughts on this? I'd love to hear from the H/J crowd!
    "As one of those weirdos that always enjoyed the grooming tasks that most others didn't, Kirsten decided it was time to make the most of it and create Shear Convenience Grooming"



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb. 1, 2001
    Location
    Finally...back in civilization, more or less
    Posts
    11,473

    Default

    The best way to break into that market is to arrange with another, established braider to help with their overflow work.

    Hunter braids are generally done daily, at least at the (rated) shows I go to. The braiders work overnight through the morning; ideally you want the horse braided as close to the time you show as possible.

    If we were going to a one day show (shipping in for the day) we generally had the horses braided at home very early that morning. For shows where we were stabled on the show grounds, the trainer would simply put a list up on the whiteboard of the horses to be braided (indicating whether it needed mane only or mane and tail) along with the first division that the horse was showing in. That way the braiders could make sure that the horses going in the first classes of the day were done first, and could do the ones not showing until the afternoon later in the morning if necessary.

    I've always used the braider arranged by my trainer; it's just easier to coordinate that way, and one less thing for me to worry about. They had a long standing relationship and it worked well for everyone.
    **********
    We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
    -PaulaEdwina



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr. 9, 2012
    Location
    NYC=center of the universe
    Posts
    1,931

    Default

    We have someone at our barn who does them, usually the night before.

    What about advertising in the show flyers? And setting up station at the show so folks bring their horses to your spot? That way you're more visible and build up a clientele. Don't forget the business cards!
    Born under a rock and owned by beasts!



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul. 5, 2012
    Location
    DC Metro Area
    Posts
    110

    Default

    My goal is to be ready for Maryland Horse and Pony and Capital Challenge this fall. The venue is 20 minutes from my house so it wouldn't be too hard to do the early/ late hours. I wonder if I can just get a stall at the end of a barn aisle and set up shop if I'm not a competitor?

    I've got fliers and business cards. Sounds like it might be best to establish a relationship with some of the trainers. Easier to coordinate for both parties?
    "As one of those weirdos that always enjoyed the grooming tasks that most others didn't, Kirsten decided it was time to make the most of it and create Shear Convenience Grooming"



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr. 9, 2012
    Location
    NYC=center of the universe
    Posts
    1,931

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ShearConvenience View Post
    Sounds like it might be best to establish a relationship with some of the trainers. Easier to coordinate for both parties?
    YES!

    You can carry a little photo album or tablet and show pictures of your work. I don't know if a smartphone will be good enough to really show the detail, but some nowadays have good picture quality.
    Born under a rock and owned by beasts!



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun. 16, 2010
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    114

    Default

    I almost never hire a braider because I do it myself, but fwiw if a braider sent me an invoice via email, I would be so happy. There are a lot of apps that make it easy to do in a few seconds from a smartphone (timewerks is a good one).

    If a braider let me pay via paypal or square, even for a service fee to cover the cost on their end, I would be eternally loyal.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep. 19, 2002
    Location
    recent FL transplant from IL
    Posts
    7,174

    Default

    I think your best bet would be to attend a show & find out who the braiders in your area are. Speak with them. They may have you help with overflow when their numbers are too high.
    "I'm not crazy...my mother had me tested"



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep. 2, 2005
    Location
    Upstate NY
    Posts
    12,004

    Default

    I can not see renting a stall and setting up shop as a financially good decision for getting customers.

    I agree with what others have said. Find out who the braiders that are doing this show already, introduce yourself and find out if they are willing to let you do some of their extras.


    The other technique is to find a trainer willing to give you a chance.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr. 15, 2011
    Posts
    448

    Default

    I board near DC and will be going to the shows you mentioned. Please PM me your contact information! Also, I recommend you put fliers on the bulletin boards at both Southern States locations, as well as the Dover in Crofton. Good luck!
    "I am still under the impression there is nothing alive quite so beautiful
    as a thoroughbred horse."

    -JOHN GALSWORTHY



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul. 5, 2012
    Location
    DC Metro Area
    Posts
    110

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SaratogaTB View Post
    I board near DC and will be going to the shows you mentioned. Please PM me your contact information! Also, I recommend you put fliers on the bulletin boards at both Southern States locations, as well as the Dover in Crofton. Good luck!
    Check out the link to my FB page in my sig! I've been to the Dover, will have to hit the Southern States.

    Thank you everyone for the feedback! Hopefully I'll see some of you all out and about in the not too distant future!
    "As one of those weirdos that always enjoyed the grooming tasks that most others didn't, Kirsten decided it was time to make the most of it and create Shear Convenience Grooming"



  11. #11
    Join Date
    May. 10, 2011
    Posts
    294

    Default

    As a few others have mentioned, your best way to break into the hunter market is to get in touch with some braiders that travel the circuit and help out with their overflow. Most of them have established clientele and at shows such as CCHS - they'll need an extra hand.

    As for getting a stall to set up shop, I wouldn't encourage that. At a show like CCHS, stalls are already limited and in addition it's not a financially good decision. Most importantly though, I know we wouldn't be comfortable having our horses moved elsewhere to be braided. In fact, if a braider was doing things that way, it would probably cause us not to use them.

    At hunter shows, the braids are done in the middle of the night and throughout the morning. We have our braider do them as close to showing as possible - both for the horse's comfort and for the sake of having them look as nice as possible. They are taken out daily, and re-done for each day the horse is showing.



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