Equestrian & Country Client Stories

I’m so, SO proud of the  equestrian and country businesses I get to call my clients. Why? Because they all, without exception, have achieved amazing things. Whether they’ve started the business from scratch on a shoestring and grown it, monetised a talent, used their skills to create something incredible, or been brought in at a later stage, all are amazing.

I think it’s important to share stories connected to my equestrian and country clients. I am very proud to say that I am their biggest cheerleader (minus the pom poms!), but I also think their stories are powerful.

Being self employed, having a side hustle, running your own empire, well, it can be lonely. When you’re having a day of overwhelm, I invite you to pop back here and take some inspiration from these amazing equestrian and country businesses. Yes, they are my clients, but they are all incredible.

Babies and business with Sophie Callahan – Small & Supercharged Podcast

I’m pretty excited to share this podcast with you – but I’ll warn you now, we do use the word ‘baby’ a lot. Not to each other, that would be weird, but we’re talking all about balancing babies with business. Following the fairly recent announcement of her pregnancy, Sophie Callahan was the perfect lady to talk to about these challenges. As I have twin boys myself, I really do understand the issue of being all things to all people without breaking your sanity or yourself! So, in this podcast, I talk about babies and business with the very lovely Sophie Callahan.

Let’s talk about babies and business with equine photographer Sophie Callahan

Show notes for the Small & Supercharged Podcast – Episode 11 – babies and business – plans for dealing with a new addition, changing business models, following your dreams and lots more. With Sophie Callahan.

  • I chat to Sophie about her pregnancy so far, and how she’s juggled a very challenging pregnancy with work – **Sophie’s had a hell of time – all OK now – but if you’re pregnant or you’re sensitive to this kind of thing, just be aware you might want to skip that link**
  • The changes Sophie’s had to make so far and how it’s made her change her views on things she didn’t expect.
  • We talk about how Sophie’s business is changing and why – and how the season has actually helped her.
  • She talks about how she’s reducing the number of equine shoots she’s doing next year, but how the equine photoshoots are also changing.
  • How Sophie was already planning to move and progress with her equine shoots and the direction of her business, but how the baby has accelerated this and given her a push.
  • The move towards all inclusive shoots, where the idea came from, and what this involves for the customer.
  • We talk through the new shoot packages and how these all align with Sophie’s goal of all inclusive equine photoshoots.
  • We chat about ‘maternity leave’ and how that’s going to look for Sophie.
  • Childcare plans moving forward, to allow Sophie to carry on shooting.
  • The importance of support – from both family and friends – and how useful I’ve found it for my business, children and sanity.
  • Advice from Sophie based on the experience she’s had so far (and, spoiler alert – these are great tips for whether you’re planning a baby or not – just good life tips really!!).
  • Why it’s important to remember why you work for your yourself and the importance of seeing this as an opportunity not a restriction on your life.
  • How businesses grow, evolve and develop, and how life changes like a baby can change the course of your business but how that’s not always a bad thing.
  • Fears connected with starting a family and being self employed.
  • The importance of asking for help and accepting help – how it’s not a weakness at all, can be hugely important, and how it makes everything SO much easier.
  • Losing your identity and why, for me, working was a really important way to help prevent that.
  • The importance of flexibility – and the need to really focus on what’s important and not worry too much about the other stuff.

Big thanks to Sophie for being an amazing guest on this podcast. This is something that, when I was pregnant, I would have found really reassuring to hear. When you have a baby or start a family it IS terrifying, I mean, you’re responsible (or will be!) for a human, and there’s a lot that comes with that. I remember when I was pregnant I had so many people telling me that running my business and being a mum would be impossible.

Well, I’m here to tell you it isn’t.

For some, being a full time mum suits them down to the ground. To be honest, I find the job of mum a lot harder than the other things I do for work- so huge credit to the stay at home mums – I couldn’t do it. I adore my children but I would really struggle. If you want to run your business alongside having a family, it won’t be easy, but it’s possible if you’ll accept help, prioritise, and make the necessary changes. The beauty is, you can make it what you want. You chose to be self employed to have control over your life, your time and everything else too. No one said it would be easy, did they?!

To keep up with Sophie, you can find her here…

Sophie Callahan Photography

Sophie Callahan Facebook

Sophie Callahan Instagram

Sophie Callahan Blog

Small & Supercharged Podcast – Being multipassionate with Emma Warren

I am so, SO excited to be able to share this episode with you. Actually, I’m really excited to be able to share this lady with you. This is Emma Warren. Emma is the Queen Bee (MD) of Hiho Silver and runs her own luxury glamping business too. But this isn’t all there is to Emma – far from it. She’s an accountant by trade (keep reading, please!), but has had the most amazing career. The path she’s taken to get where she is not is a really interesting one, but more than that, Emma’s ability to be multi-passionate, to juggle so many things, to lead this multi-hyphenate life, is fascinating. The thing is, being multi-hyphenate (as in, having more than one passion and one job title) is branded as new… but it isn’t… as Emma explains. Have a listen here…

 

Let’s talk about being multipassionate and juggling life and work, with Emma Warren

Show notes for the Small & Supercharged Podcast – Episode 7 – being multipassionate, leading a multi-hyphenate life, juggling and the career path she’s taken…

  • Emma talks about the journey she’s taken to get where she is now
  • Being multipassionate and how having a multihyphenate career isn’t a new thing (but maybe the branding is)
  • We talk about how Emma found Hiho Silver and how she become involved at first
  • How she believes accountants should earn their money because of their unique position within the business, and how they can be the ‘wheel hub’ for all the elements
  • The value of doing things you really enjoy – even though you may still have to do your filing(!)
  • What being the MD of Hiho actually involves – and how being hands on in a small business is really important
  • The value of a great team
  • The speed of change and how it’s important to try, test and break things
  • Where the idea for Dimpsey, Emma’s glamping business, came from as well as how she made Dimpsey different to other glamping experiences at that time.
  • Getting the family involved in the businesses to help make the experience more inclusive
  • Work/life balance and how Emma views it all – are blurred lines such a bad thing?
  • Emma’s top tips on how to juggle work, motherhood, running a ‘mini’ farm and lots more.

To find out more about Emma and her businesses, here are all the links…

Emma Warren:

Instagram

Website

Hiho Silver:

Instagram

Facebook

Twitter

Website

Dimpsey Glamping:

Instagram

Facebook

Website

Subscribe to the Small & Supercharged podcast on iTunes

Behind… Karen McConnell’s Royal Highland Show coverage

Karen McConnell Royal highland ShowI for one was completely blown away by Karen McConnell, aka Karen & Clan and KAEquestrian’s Royal Highland Show content… did you see it?

As an ambassador for Hiho Silver, and as a friend, I did know what was happening before it did. In a full disclosure kind of way. But an idea is just an idea, isn’t it? It’s the execution of these things that REALLY matters, and Karen completely surpassed my expectations (which were pretty high, let’s be honest!). More than this, I genuinely felt like I was at the Royal Highland (and I really wasn’t, I was in Worcestershire!), saw new products thanks to her Instagram Stories, and also have not got a serious liking for Holland Cooper… which was something I didn’t have before. I didn’t ever dislike the brand, far from it, I’ve always been very impressed by what Jade and the team have accomplished, think the showroom is to die for and more, but seeing the outfits styled in a way that I would wear. And seeing how they all endured all day wear. And hearing Karen rave about them too means that they’re now firmly on my list of stands to visit at the next event I go to.

But I digress.

The whole content plan leading up to and during the Royal Highland Show was geneuinely superb, so I asked Karen a few questions to get the inside info from the show. You ready?

Behind… Karen McConnell’s Royal Highland Show coverage

Why did you pick the four brands you did to work with?
I chose HiHo Silver, Mackenzie & George, Fairfax & Favor and Holland Cooper as the four brands to work with on this project as I absolutely love their products. They all stand for the height of style and quality and together, I think, they make up the perfect country outfit.

Did you learn anything new about the brands working so closely with them?
Absolutely, Obviously when you start asking about the different products and manufacturing processes, you develop a better understanding of the products themselves but the most interesting part for me is getting to know the personalities within the teams that ultimately make up the overall personality of the brand. As a consumer, when I find a brand whose personality I like and get on with, I’m completely sold and as a blogger it’s absolutely vital that our personalities gel in order to create content that complements the brands I’m working with. I feel after working on this project together, I know all the brands a little better, love them even more than I did before and hopefully they know me a bit better too.

Karen McConnell Royal Highland ShowWhat did you enjoy the most about the Royal Highland Show? How long have you been going?
I’ve been going to the Highland Show since I was a child and it’s always a great event with loads to see (and buy!). It really does pull the whole of Scotland’s rural community together (as well as lots of others from south of the border and further afield) and this year, wall to wall sunshine just made it even better. As always with these events, although I love the attractions and shopping, what I love most is bumping into friends, clients old and new, and meeting new people with similar interests.

How did you come up with the idea of working with a brand a day, and how did you find implementing that during the event?
I knew I wanted to do something different at this year’s Royal Highland Show (last year was all about the equestrian side of the event), and with country style and fashion becoming such a large part of the Karen & Clan blog, it made sense to me to feature all my favourite country fashion brands who were exhibiting at the show. A brand a day just made sense to me as that way I got to really dedicate my whole day to showcasing the brand to share with my social media audience. It also worked well when I did IG story takeovers for Hiho Silver and Mackenzie & George. Implementing the format was really easy, I always knew where my focus needed to be.

What were the favourite pieces you got to wear and use from each brand – just one from each (I know it’s hard!)
Oooh, this is such a tough question! If I had to pick only one item from each of the brands they would be…..
Hiho Silver – The Bumblebee Necklace – I only spotted this on the website the other week and instantly loved it. I’ve not taken it off since the show, so cute!
Mackenzie & George – The Windsor Maxi Clutch in Navy – I’d coveted that for a while and it’s even more beautiful in real life. I got it embossed with my initials too which makes it even more special.
Fairfax & Favor – The Heeled Amiras in Tan – I wore these three of the four days at the show and they’re super stylish and surprisingly comfortable. I’ve never owned a pair of over the knee boots before and I was nervous about whether I could pull them off (in my head they were only for tall people!) but I LOVE them.
Holland Cooper – Another really hard choice but I really loved the Cadogan Jacket in Stone Herringbone (link to Duke) I wore on the Sunday. Its military influence is super-cool but the gorgeous tweed makes it instantly classic in style. I loved teaming it up with the matching Carrie Cap too (I know that’s two products – sorry!)

You’ve done a huge amount of research into what to wear at country and equestrian shows for your Royal Highland feature. What would your top tip/s be when it comes to clothing for these kind of events?
I think dressing for a country show you need four key ingredients – a gorgeous tweed blazer or cape, a comfortable pair of boots (you’ll be walking all day), a great bag and fantastic accessories. If you have all of those things, all you need are your favourite pair of skinny jeans and a shirt and you’re good to go!

To find out more about Karen’s trip to the Royal Highland – here are some must see blogs and vlogs…

What I wore to the Royal Highland – Thursday

What I wore to the Royal Highland – Friday

What I wore to the Royal Highland – Saturday

What I wore to the Royal Highland – Sunday

What’s in my bag – Royal Highland vlog

What to wear at a country show – vlog

Behind… the Hiho Silver sponsored best dressed at the Badminton Trot Up

Badminton Trot Up

Image by Sweet Images/Rachel Bragg

I think I’ve JUST recovered from Badminton – but what a week it was! Badminton Horse Trials week is always a busy one for me (as are the weeks leading up to it with all the prep) BUT when you see it all come together so beautifully it makes every moment worth it. And that’s why, today, we’re going behind the Hiho sponsored best dressed at the Badminton Trot Up.

The Hiho Silver sponsored best dressed at the Badminton Trot Up

For the second year running, Hiho Silver sponsored the best dressed at the Badminton Horse Trials Trot Up. Last year they did it for the first time (and the first time the best dressed had been awarded at Badminton too!). And this year, well, it was the sequel!

Last year, Hiho’s Andrew Ransford judged the best dressed with sponsored rider Emily King and eventer Dani Evans. This year, Andrew judged the trot up style stakes with brand ambassador Alice Plunkett and stylist, socialite and columnist, Lady Alice Manners.

The Hiho Silver team – trot up side

Now, you might think that Andrew, Alice and Lady Alice were the only people involved in the Badminton trot up and Hiho’s sponsorship. But you’d be wrong. Because behind the vast majority of ‘things’ like this, there’s a lot of work. And this was no different…

Also on the ‘house side’, we had…

Badminton Trot Up - Emma Warren

Emma Warren – image by Sweet Images/Rachel Bragg

Emma Warren- Hiho’s Queen Bee/MD. Emma went up for the trot up to take pics for social media, which she sent over to me (before they were showing on the trot up Live stream – talk about fast fingers!!) to help keep Hiho’s Instagram and Facebook following up to date with who was running down the trot up and what they were wearing.

Sophie Callahan- brand ambassador. Sophie was on Radio Badminton with Rupert Bell and Matt Ryan discussing trot up style. She did this last year too and was absolutely amazing. After the trot up, she also wrote a news item for the Badminton website about it – you can read Sophie’s take on the trot up here – along with who won the Hiho best dressed female and male prizes…

And then we had Rachel Bragg- Sweet Images/photographer. Rachel was also house side and was taking pics of the presentation, the judges and the horses and their stylish rider too. These have already been used on Hiho’s social media but will also appear online and on other content soon and in the run up to next year’s event too.

And, in addition to this…

There was the Badminton team who helped to bring it together from their side. And I had the joy of working with them and they were incredible.

And that’s before we dig into the ‘home team’ who helped keep the home fires going (Michelle and Amanda at Hiho Towers), the show team who kept the stand going during the trot up and the HUGE amount of planning something like this takes.

So that’s how it all works. It’s great to be a small cog in this kind of event, and when you see it all come together and work exactly how you want, well, it’s something else!

Behind… Hiho’s EXCLUSIVE Official Badminton Horse Trials Collection

Hiho Silver Official Badminton CollectionI am so SO excited to be able to write this one. It’s been bubbling away in the background for a while but, quite rightly, it was top secret. Now it isn’t, I am going to tell you a bit more about Hiho Silver’s new collection, because the company was unveiled as the Official Jeweller for Badminton Horse Trials not that long ago. And with this accolade, there’s an Official Badminton Horse Trials Collection. And I am beyond excited about it.

Hiho’s history with Badminton Horse Trials

If you’ve ever been to Badminton Horse Trials (and if you haven’t, it’s incredible, you MUST go!) you will have no doubt seen Hiho’s stand. It’s a big stand on the main run (Deer Park Drive) and acts as a real beacon for anyone who loves jewellery. The gorgeous purple branding draws me in each time (and did long before I started working with the company!), and that’s before you see the lovely display cabinets glistening with stunning jewellery. Hiho’s King Of The Road, Andrew Ransford (again, if you’ve been to the Hiho stand anywhere, ever, you will have met Andrew!!), and his family have been exhibiting at Badminton for nearly 20 years… so Hiho and Badminton go way back. They’re old pals really…

And then there was the sponsorship of the best dressed at the first horse inspection

Last year, Hiho sponsored the best dressed at the first horse inspection (also known as the trot up) in front of Badminton House. This happens on the Wednesday and has become a cross between a fashion show (I mean, a bit different to London and Milan!) and, obviously, a chance to make sure that horses are sound and fit for competition. The outfits that the riders wear are incredible. Some are rather wacky and out there, some beyond elegant, some bespoke. Articles are written about the fashion as much as the horses. Hiho is well known amongst eventers (and sponsors Emily King and supports Abi Boulton, Tina Wallace, Becci Harrold and Lucy Robinson in the eventing space!) so it was a great fit. The first ‘best dressed’ competition was judged by Hiho’s Andrew, Emily King and Dani Evans and was won by Paul Tapner and Danni Dunn. It was a superb sponsorship and fitted the company perfectly. So much so that Hiho is also sponsoring this year’s trot up and beyond. This further cemented Hiho’s link and passion for Badminton. And it was just lovely.

The Official Jeweller for Badminton Horse Trials… and the Official Badminton Horse Trials Collection

A couple of weeks ago, Hiho was announced as the Official Jeweller for Badminton Horse Trials. For me, I was beyond excited. And it was great to be able to tell people! Everyone at Hiho is delighted and the Badminton team are just the nicest to work with. As part of this comes an Official Badminton Horse Trials Collection, which is now available for pre order and people are already loving it!

This year’s Official Badminton Horse Trials Collection

This year, Hiho’s Official Badminton Horse Trials Collection is a capsule collection with a few key pieces. This will be built on over time and continue to develop going forward too… how exciting is that? The collection is currently made up of three pieces: a Spinner Ring, a Roller Bead and a Roller Charm Bead. All of these have ‘Badminton’ written on them and are gorgeous – combining Hiho quality and Badminton’s magic. All pieces have been approved by Badminton, as I’m sure you can guess, which, in my eyes, adds a further seal of approval.

How do you get hold of the Official Badminton Horse Trials Collection by Hiho Silver?

Simples – you can pre-order now (on the website) and your lovely Badminton pieces will be delivered at the end of April, or you can visit Hiho’s Badminton stand (188 Deer Park Drive) and see the Collection in person. Actually, you can try the ring on, spin it around, get the Roller Bead or even Roller Charm added to your Foxtail, other charm bracelet or Cherry Roller… or any other charm bracelet too. If you order online, Hiho has a superb returns policy, so if there are any sizing issues, they’ll sort it out for you!

So, that’s a little bit of the story behind Hiho and Badminton Horse Trials. Are you going to the event? Make sure you pop in and see Hiho if you are!!

Behind… bespoke cross country colours from Super X Country

bespoke cross country coloursA little while ago, I wrote an article for Horse & Hound all about what cross country colours mean to the people who ride in them. With insight from Paul Tapner, Mary King, David Doel and Nicki Strong, the piece attracted lots of attention and was also fascinating to write. Cross country colours, in my mind at least, cross over into branding. But how on earth do you get ones that reflect what you want?! And how do you stand out from the crowd? The answer lies in bespoke cross country colours.

Enter Super X Country

Becci Harrold runs Super X Country and is also an accomplished event rider in her own right. She started Super X Country in 2010 when she couldn’t find any base layers that suited her taste.

“Before there was a very very slim choice,” said Becci. “There were no online XC colours back then, so it was a case of turning up to a tack shop and seeing what they had. I was horrified when my mum pulled out a heavy, dull, dark rugby shirt! We put it back on the rail and went home to design my own. I was 16 when I did my first event and wore my own colours that I had made from the very start. It was only when I left A levels at 18 I decided to start the business as I had more time and knowledge having done business and textiles!”

Now, Super X Country offers a staggering array of highly customisable designs. At the time of writing this (so, depending on when you read it, the numbers might change!) there are 19 breathable base layer colours to choose from that can be customised with stars, spots and checks in 31 different colours (and, if you select a ‘burst’ pattern, you can have up to three different colours in the design). In addition, there’s a rose gold and a unicorn set. And I haven’t even mentioned the custom hat silks…

Do you find people pick similar colour combinations for their bespoke cross country colours?

“When I post a picture on social media of a set, that usually becomes the favourite for many people for a week or two, and then something different shows up and then that takes over,” said Becci. “It goes in waves! Some people are deadset on their favourite colour but I’m finding now that many people are influenced by a good looking set that I might have put together or another customer”

Becci has some amazing plans for the future and will be appearing at a number of events this season and beyond. In addition, she’s incredibly active on social media – you can follow Super X Country on Instagram, or Facebook, and obviously you can visit the Super X Country website to see the range of amazing designs available, to give you inspiration to create your own bespoke cross country colours.