Cavan Horseback Riders Launch Business

Olivia and Elle Wittek are young Cavan residents whose love of horseback riding began when they were three and five years old.

They like English- style riding and ride several times a week at Stillbrook Riding Stables near Keene.  At the moment, they lease their horses, but would one day like to have their own horse.  I mean horses, because they would each like one.   To bring this dream closer to reality, they decided to raise some cash by starting a business creating journals for riders.

They loved riding and wrote about each experience in a spiral notebook.  Keeping track of their progress extended the enjoyment of their hobby, allowing them to look back at their favourite moments and their riding achievements.  These records were functional but not stylish, so they looked around to find a journal that would suit their purposes.  Finding none, they set off to create their own, and now have established their own business called Simpl.eq.  Together they have created a business that now has a brand, a product guide, inventory, custom product orders and an order for their journals from a national retailer to sell in more than 50 of their stores across Canada. Not a bad start, and these entrepreneurs are just eleven and thirteen years old!

Using graphic software, they developed a logo and designed the pages of their 40 page journals where users track their rides, set goals, record accomplishments, post reminders and decorate.  Print Hub in Peterborough produced several samples and the girls were quick to select a cover and paper that was attractive and sturdy and could survive trips to the stable.

They tested the market for their products at last year’s Royal Winter Fair, where the girls shared a booth with another vendor.  They created some riding-themed stickers to have a product at a lower price point, selling them along with their journals. During the ten day show, they took time to approach other vendors in the equine area to get feedback and received a very positive response. This research also led to a custom order for stickers and are now working on the design of a custom journal to track personal fitness training for horseback riders for this customer.

In the upcoming riding season, Olivia and Elle plan to sell their wares at horse shows and competitions to extend their growing list of customers and perhaps even get some ideas for new products.  Despite the allure of this business success, given the girls’ focus it’s unlikely they will lose track of their prime objective in creating the business:  riding a horse of their own.  In the meantime, they have learned some valuable business lessons that they have a lifetime to apply.  KG

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