Monday, February 7, 2011

AETA Wrap Up

While it's been a snowy winter, the weather cooperated just long enough for the AETA trade show. When you think of the money spent to have a booth along with the hours spent organizing everything for the trade show, the last thing you want is a blizzard! Fortunately Murphy's Law was not in effect for the weekend but sure enough, the second the show was over another storm barreled in.

After a not so great show back in August I was really looking forward to this time as I was in a prime location. Being put in "Western World" the last time was the kiss of death. Instead of potential customers I got people asking me to either stamp their Western Passport, or why I wound up there. To say I was demoralized was an understatement but, as they say nothing happens by chance and perhaps I just wasn't ready for prime time. Lucky for me, this time that was not the case and I have to thank the people at Hopper Expositions for remembering what happened and making things right.

It was great to be able to show the tack to so many people and to articulate the passion I have for what I do and for what the company stands for. To have people come up and tell you the good things they have heard about the tack and the charity work Five Star does makes me think I am on the right track. The best comment was from someone who I asked what new and exciting things they had seen and they said, "your bridles". Thank you!

While I sometimes felt like I was at a pony club inspection, I enjoyed being peppered with questions about the construction of the tack. The Wembley integrated crown hunter bridle was very popular along with the Ascot figure eight. The new halter was ordered and the new Symphony bridles sold as well. I was not going to bring the Signature elastic breastplate with me as that is one of the eventing pieces but I was glad I did as everyone who placed an order purchased a few of them. So all in all a very successful outing! 

So at the end of a long day of standing and with adrenaline running on empty what do you do? You go across the aisle to visit your neighbor for their cosmos and crudites happy hour! 

While there wasn't much time to walk around and see the many vendors what I can tell you is that performance fabrics are in. I saw alot of this at the Spoga show last fall and it's really taken off over here.   Ariat had a huge presence and were debuting the sneaker style riding boot that they had at Spoga. I wonder how it will sell as the Nike and Tretorn boots of a few years back never took off. There were lots of saddles with interesting accent stitching and new styles of helmets with their own design accents. 

It was interesting to note that the quality of the strap good leather of many companies has gone down hill. I touch EVERYTHING and I was surprised by some of the companies cutting corners in this area. This is one area where Five Star Tack shines as I had so many store owners bemoan the fact that it is getting harder to buy quality bridles because of all the cheap quality leather being used. The tack stores know this but I wonder if the average consumer is aware of what they are buying. It puts the stores in a difficult spot because buyers too often look at the price and don't know what it costs to make a top quality bridle so it forces the stores to buy down in quality. Fortunately I think our Symphony line will give those stores a quality alternative. Plus with our fresh and unique designs it brings some life back to store displays as the bridle designs displayed by many companies at AETA was a total yawn. 

I am very thankful to the tack stores that signed on to become dealers of our products!  I look forward to growing the number of dealers selling Five Star Tack but will limit the number of stores so that each dealer feels they can differentiate themselves from other stores. If one of these stores is near you I hope you will support them. 

Bit of Heaven Tack Shop, Collegeville PA; Bits of Tack, Boyertown, PA; DaMoor's Feed & Tack, Glendale, CA; The Tack Box, Middleburg, VA; Green Valley Tack, Pine Island, NY; Alta Hills Tack, Sandy, UT; Gallops Saddlery, Tigard, OR; Unionville Saddle Shop, Unionville, PA; and Barrington Saddlery, Barrington, IL. 

The above tack stores will be carrying Five Star's hunter/jumper bridles, dressage bridle, the Symphony line as well as strap goods. These items can be viewed at We will put you in contact with one of our dealers if the item you want is not available near you. 

Five Star's eventing bridles and strap goods will be carried and sold direct to consumers on as well as at select eventing competitions during the year. 

Thank you for reading this far as it is a long post but there is always something new and exciting going on here. Next up, two new initiatives with proceeds going to the charities Five Star Tack supports!