Wednesday, January 19, 2011

New Products!

One of the best things about designing tack is getting to see the finished product! These are the latest additions to our product line and arrived today. Some will only be available through tack stores, some will be available on the Five Star website and some need a bit more tweaking to get them just right. These are also the first photos of our new Symphony line of bridles. Symphony bridles are made with Wickett&Craig American leather and are a moderately priced option for the rider who likes the quality of our Five Star bridles but needs a more affordable option.

This is the updated version of our popular Chelsea bridle. The cross straps are padded as well as raised with fancy stitching. It is super sharp looking and will be available on our website.
 Above is a new breastcollar design we are working on. It needs a little tweaking as it is not quite fancy enough yet although I do like the cross. As popular as the Five Points are, alot of riders use this type of breastcollar. It is just hard to find an all leather one hence why we are making one. It will be up to the task of performing under all conditions and look good at the same time!

 This is a BLACK Wembley HUNTER bridle we made up for a customer along with a matching standing martingale. It was purchased for a black horse and I think it is going to look stunning! I applaud this rider for not being afraid to have her own look in the hunter ring. The Wembley hunter bridle with integrated crown is available through tack stores.
This dressage girth is what I've been waiting for! It is so much nicer than what the picture shows. It is beautifully stitched and features our silver cross with raised padding underneath. The white stitching really enhances it although dressage purists may not go for it.

This is our new hunter girth. It is softly padded and has a ring to attach training aids. Available through tack stores.

This is a totally luxe halter and lead for the horse who has everything! It is quite pricey made up with Sedgwick's leather but I will try to source out a different leather to keep the price down. The crown strap is padded and has fancy stitching on top. The noseband is padded and raised with fancy stitching. The cross piece is what really sets this halter apart. The fittings are solid brass. The matching lead has a loop handle that is padded and has an embossed cross on it. As pretty as this halter is it is built tough to withstand what we all know horses can do!

New dressage bridle for the tack stores. It has all black stitching and buckle end cheeks with an integrated crown. We will have a different version of this on the Five Star site that will be the redo for the Magnolia bridle as we have had alot of requests to bring it back.

This is one of our new Symphony bridles made from Wickett & Craig American leather making it a more affordable option for buyers who like our designs but cannot afford the pricier Sedgwick bridles. It features an integrated crown, attached flash and white accent stitching. The final version will have buckle end cheeks instead of the hook stud shown here. Available in tack stores only.

Another Symphony bridle, this is our jumper bridle with integrated crown. The cross straps are padded and raised and the rings are padded behind. I think this one is going to be popular. This one gets its own look as the nosedisk is a bit different from our Five Star bridles. Tack stores only.

There will also be a Symphony hunter bridle with matching standing martingale but I am still waiting on it. Tack stores only.

I am looking forward to showing these new products at the upcoming AETA trade show! As always I appreciate your feedback on these and any of our products.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Let's Get The Ball Rollin'!

The New Year always seems to start off with a bang for me and for the last several years not in a good way. As I watched Snooki (yes, that Snooki) being lowered to the Seaside Heights Boardwalk I decided that this year was going to be different as there are many good things happening and one of those good things is Five Star Tack.

Never content to sit still, we have a number of new things coming up in the next few months. The biggest shift will be in our website presence. As we grow our reach into more tack stores the inevitable conflict of interest between selling to both brick and mortar stores and selling direct to customers becomes an issue and a constraining one at that. Starting February, after the AETA winter trade show, Five Star will be debuting a dealer only website featuring our hunter bridles with matching strap goods plus our new dressage bridle, a new moderately priced line of bridles and our new girth and halter!

Speaking of girths and halters, I have seen the samples of these and they are nothing short of gorgeous! They incorporate Five Star's celtic cross and elastic colors and are totally luxe. I am confident they will be a big hit with the tack stores. These items along with our hunter bridles will be available only through tack stores and hence will no longer be listed on the Five Star Tack website.

That leaves me to concentrate on developing the eventing and jumper side of the business on the current Five Star Tack website which I enjoy because it allows me to be more creative with the design process. Our Chelsea bridle will have a new figure eight design, the Ascot will have an integrated crown option and we will have a new version of our old Magnolia bridle that will have a narrower noseband and for those dressage purists all black stitching! There is also a new rein that we hope is popular with eventing riders for cross country as well as a leather breastcollar and hunting breastplate.

We are committed to recognizing the amateur rider and will be continuing our sponsorship of the USEA's Training Level 3 Day Series. We will also be targeting those eventing competitions that have a large amateur attendance for sponsorship as well. Going forward though, Five Star Tack, has to be more selective in sponsorship of riders and competitions. It is a great concept to try to help out any time a sponsorship opportunity presents itself but in the end it is just not realistic nor does it make good business sense. It's nice to be nice but it's not nice when you are broke in the end!

That said, there is one opportunity I stumbled upon just recently that I think has some real importance. Five Star Tack made a donation of thirty five bridles to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation and CANTER USA to be used in their retraining programs of retiring thoroughbred racehorses. There is quite a great need for tack for these horses and I imagine with similar organizations working to rescue, retrain and find homes for various horses; more than I thought. In order to make a greater impact Five Star is looking into developing a program to accept donations of used bridles and strap goods to then be sent to an organization that is in need. By organization I mean a registered charity as I made that mistake once this year and I don't think the money went where it was supposed to go! Georgina Bloomberg does this with The Rider's Closet, an organization she established to accept used riding clothes that are then provided to riders who can't afford to buy show clothes. We are just at the idea point right now so if anyone has any suggestions I am open to them.

It is great to look back at 2010 and the many fun times I had at all the competitions, especially Burghley, but it's even greater to be able to look forward to the positive things that are out there on the horizon. Let's get this party started!

p.s. here are two links to articles about the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation and one of the facilities that is receiving Five Star bridles.