In an effort to support a passion for show jumping, mother-daughter duo Jayme Nunn and Kristina Cain went into business together to create Equ-O Ware based in Denver, Colorado. They are celebrating their first year in the equine retail industry after many years of brainstorming and daydreaming.
“We decided to do it to help support her riding habit, but we had been talking about fun products that we could develop and take to the market for probably 20 years,” said Jayme of her daughter Kristina, a 30-year-old show jumper who handles the majority of the company’s product selection.
“In that way, it evolved organically. We had learned about the market, and then we decided that we wanted to offer top-of-the-line apparel for horses and riders that most other places weren’t carrying, and certainly no one in our area of Denver.”
Equ-O Ware offers boutique horse and rider apparel and therapy products, selling in a mobile unit at horse shows and on their online store. After a year in business, they plan to expand to a permanent location.
“We will most likely move into a brick and mortar store in 2018. It makes sense because there’s really no one else in the Denver area. I’d love to think that I could have run this whole business online, but the relationships with people are so important, and that’s been the biggest up-side to being at these horse shows,” said Jayme.
While some mothers and daughters may shudder at the idea of being in business together, both women have clearly defined roles in the business, which fosters a successful relationship.
“We do very well together. My daughter has a very good mind for business and a business degree, and she also has a strong accounting background,” said Jayme. “I do a lot of the operations and the nuts and bolts, and she knows everything about the products and picks all of our brands and what we carry.”
For Jayme, the first year of Equ-O Ware was a huge learning experience, and while online price hunting and large conglomerates put pressure on smaller businesses, she has learned to carve out her own space in the equestrian retail industry.
“The biggest struggle is when people come into your showroom and scan the bar code and price shop,” explained Jayme. “You have to find things that are so unique that you don’t have to compete with the big tack retailers. I don’t want to be seen as a discounter. I want to protect my brand.”
The American Equestrian Trade Association’s mission is to unite and advance the community of equine trade businesses by delivering education, trade shows and services designed to sustain, support and grow a strong equestrian industry marketplace. Find out more at www.aeta.us.