Sarah Johnstone

A few minutes with… Sarah Johnstone – Apt Cavalier

Sarah Johnstone Apt Cavalier copyHave you heard about Apt Cavalier? This fairly new equestrian brand gained a sizeable following pre-launch on Instagram, and has continued to deliver on social media and in product since. Headed by Sarah Johnstone, a fashion design graduate and self professed determined eventer, Apt Cavalier is definitely a brand to watch. In this blog, I catch up with the lady herself…

Tell us about you and your background What made you want to start a business?

I started Apt Cavalier because it simply “made sense”. I graduated with an Honours Degree in Fashion Design and have lived in the heart of the equestrian world for almost 20 years, so combining my expertise in clothing design with my knowledge of the competitive riding industry just seemed like my logical career path.

How is Apt Cavalier different?

Now, my answer to this is a bit unorthodox, because essentially it probably isn’t all that different. I’m not going to delude myself into thinking that I’m filling a gap in the market, because truthfully there are hundreds of equestrian clothing brands out there who do a great job. However, equestrians (including myself) tend to live and breathe this lifestyle, it’s more than just a sport or a hobby, it’s who we are and what we love. So, I firmly believe that there will always be room in the market for another service to the horsey world.

What makes your products special?

Sarah JohnstoneAh, now this question is exciting as we may not be all that different but our products sure are special! Our line of performance wear is designed to solve real life problems, primarily in Eventing. Take our Performance Skins for example; designed initially for wearing cross-country but can also be worn during training and around the yard. Personally, my biggest problem on the cross-country course was that I was too hot; when I finished my round, I was red in the face, uncomfortable and desperate to get my body protector off. So, I wanted to create something that eliminated this discomfort meaning the only thing I would have to think about at the end of my round was how amazing it was. I wanted to create something that meant my attention was first and foremost on caring for my horse, and cooling him down, rather than having to dart into the lorry to strip off!

So, what really makes us special is the fabric technology and innovative design that goes into each and every product and provides solutions to real equestrian problems!

If you had to sum up Apt Cavalier in five words, what would they be?

A brand for the riders!

Do you have a motto or ethos?

To make all our business decisions according to what it best for the riders.

If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring business owner, what would it be?

Just get on with it! You can plan and plan and plan, but planning doesn’t achieve results- taking action does! Just remember you can learn and adjust along the way!

One thing that helps you run Apt Cavalier more effectively 

Buffer to schedule social media posts and Airtable to make lists, split those lists into different sections, prioritise and make yet more lists.

Apt Cavalier Performance Skin copyBest thing about running a business?

That amazing feeling when someone places an order –  someone actually wants to wear something that I created!!! I don’t think that feeling will ever go away!

Worst thing about running a business?

Knowing that if it all goes tits-up (excuse my French), it’s on me!

Top business blog you follow?

What I really like to do is search a keyword or topic in the ‘Posts’ section of LinkedIn. For example, I might search “small business growth” and there will be two or three really inspirational posts- I like to read articles by lots of different people, from different backgrounds as they all have different insights.

Top business book you’ve read?

Does the Eventing Life magazine count?? Let’s call it market research!

One thing we might not know about you?

I came up with the initial concept of Apt Cavalier when I was bored and signed off work – my lovely SuperCob got very excited in the field and ended up kicking me in the hand, shattering two of my bones as well as kindly removing my tendons. The doctors rebuild my bones using calcium and said I might not be able to ride as I would struggle to gain full use of my hand again – but determined as ever, I was back on within 12 weeks and here I am just two years later competing at BENovice!

Top business achievement?

Watching an accomplished four-star rider gallop around Burghley wearing one of our Performance Skins!

Where can people follow Apt Cavalier online?

www.aptcavalier.com

Facebook : Apt Cavalier Ltd

Twitter: @aptcavalierequestrian

Instagram: @aptcavalierequestrian

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