Ailsa Reeve
Ailsa Reeve
Ailsa Reeve is the lady behind Caracal Equestrian, a lovely company that provides riders from all sports with a range of show and competition shirts made using different fabrics, to produce something special. In addition to this, Ailsa offers a bespoke service, for those who want a specific combination of fabrics or a made to measure fit. In this ‘a few minutes with…’, I quiz Ailsa about Caracal Equestrian and her background.

Tell us about you and your background

I grew up around horses and, on leaving school, I decided to make a career
out of riding. After having a couple of serious accidents, I decided to go
back to education and studied Fashion Design at Manchester Art School. Shortly after I graduated, Caracal Equestrian was born! I still produce young
horses/ponies and still event with British Eventing in my spare time.

What made you want to start a business?

I was interning in London for a large fashion house and I hated how rude
everyone was, so when I got a bit of down time where I was working, I
started to think about the equestrian clothing world and what was missing.

How is Caracal Equestrian different?

Caracal EquestrianIt is full of colour! The equestrian world is a very traditional world to
be a part of. I love it, but I saw a gap where high fashion
could fit into it. The shirts up to date are still very
traditional, all made in 100% cotton, and have a tailored fitted look, but
they are colourful and fun while still in the keeping with the dress codes!

What makes your products special?

Each product is either handmade by myself or very carefully sourced
machinists, so the quality on each garment is second to none. Everything is
made here in England, and the fabric I choose is mainly natural fibres, ie
cottons. A lot of clothing nowadays is polyester, which doesn’’t breathe
and does not have the same quality to it as cotton does. All you have to
do is feel the shirts and you can tell- the fabric screams quality.
I also offer a bespoke service, so people can make their shirts really

unique to them.


If you had to sum up Caracal Equestrian in five words, what would they be?

Stylish, bespoke, colourful, innovative and sophisticated.

Do you have a motto or ethos?

To produce a brand that people can really trust.

If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring business owner, what

would it be?

Caracal EquestrianTo make sure your product is different, to set yourself apart from any other competitor, and be prepared to work your butt off and not see a huge result straight away. Get advice from anyone and anywhere, and have fun! I
always remember reading a quote from Richard Branson saying, “if you start a business to get rich then you will not be successful but if you start a business that you really love and believe in then you will make it a success” which I think is extremely true!

One thing that helps you run your business more effectively

Apart from my sewing machines?! Canva is great for all the social media
content. And my Camera! I take all of the product shots and photos myself,
so I suppose without that I would be a lot worse off!

Best thing about running a business?

Being able to be creative everyday and work for myself! I also get to be
around a world that I know and love, so merging horses and fashion is a
dream come true.

Worst thing about running a business?

Trying to keep morale high when you are having a bad week/month/show. You
have to be extremely strong and determined to make a success of a

Top business blog you follow

To be honest I don’’t tend to follow business blogs partly as my days are
manic so I never have enough time! It’s super great to be a part of the S&S
VIP group and following your blog is fab! I get a lot of stuff from
looking over social media and Instagram and looking at how people market
their brands etc.

Top business book you¹ve read

One thing we might not know about you

I am a huge choc-aholic, it’s actually a problem!

Top business achievement

To be featured in several top equestrian magazines! To see my clothing in
these magazines is massive for me!

Where can people follow Caracal Equestrian online?

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