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Starting an online saddle pad embroidery business

I’ve had an online tack shop for 4 years now. The sales are low and very sporadic. This is a drop ship business and doesn’t carry items appropriate for embroidery. About 2.5 years ago, I bought a commercial embroidery machine, set it up in my basement, and run my embroidery from my home. That business is also sporadic, but a little more brisk than the tack shop.

I am in the process of building a website for my embroidery business to boost sales. I want to concentrate on the equestrian market because that’s where my heart is, but will go outside my niche and embroider anything I can hoop and get into my machine. My second biggest seller is drink Koozies.

My problem is finding a good equestrian wholesaler who will sell smaller quantities and doesn’t require a brick & mortar. I have all required business licenses to operate a home business and open wholesale accounts. I just cannot figure out how to find a tack wholesaler who will work with me. Most want larger operations, with a store front, who buy in huge bulk, and have minimum $500 opening orders. I want to carry 1-3 of each embroiderable item, at least until I can get business built up and know what sales best so I know what to stock the most of. I have a wholesale account with JeffersPet, but their wholesale prices are just a few dollars less than what they sell them for in their storefront and their stock is very sporadic. I want to know I can get 10 saddle pads if I have an order for 10 and that isn’t always possible with Jeffers. I love the Roma Mini-quilt Dressage and A/P pads for embroidery, but was just told by Jeffers that they were being discontinued. Don’t know if that means Jeffers is not going to stock them anymore or if Roma is discontinuing them. Other than all that, Jeffers is really easy to work with.

Like I said, I like the Roma Mini-Quilt, but also TuffRider and a few other brands like the different floral brands and the like. They are thin enough to embroider well, but thick enough to hold up to schooling.

Anyway, I need a wholesaler who sells decent brands of saddle pads, boot/garment/helmet/saddle bags/cases, blankets, sheets, and coolers. I was approved for an account with English Riding Supply in 2010, but have not ordered from them, and honestly cannot remember what the terms were with them. Does anyone have any ideas? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

You can PM me with information as sending it through the forum might be a violation of the terms & conditions.

Dancing Bay Embroidery

Might want to look into PRI pads as well - very nice quality and lots of styles/colors.

Thanks for the suggestion. Pacific Rim International, Inc, right? I found their website and just sent them a request for terms and conditions for vendors, so we’ll see what happens. By the name, I’m assuming that these pads come from Asia. I prefer to deal with US companies, but sometimes cost difference keeps that from happening if I want to make any money.

One thing I will need to do at some point is to gather up a decent stock, buy a trailer and go to shows with inventory. I don’t think I’m up to taking my machine and doing on the spot embroidery at least for right now because my machine weighs 178 lbs and I cannot even help load it into the SUV. My son and husband do that. In the meantime I’m going to join the local dressage club so I can advertise in their newsletter and set up a table at schooling shows. Have a few samples for sale and take orders.

Check out Wilkers in Tennessee. Small company, good pads, I found them very easy to work with when I owned a tack shop. They made custom sized shaped English pads for my foxhunt clients and I could order them one at a time.

Wow! Thanks. Practically just around the corner for me. Seriously, less than 2 hours. I’ve found their website and will see if I can set up an account. I don’t know what my online clientele will be, but locally, most all my customers ride dressage only or eventing. Hopefully they can work with me since I don’t have a store front and no way I can do a $500 opening order right now. For one thing I have no place to store that many saddle pads.

Do you have to keep the two businesses separate? You could start carrying things you could embroider through the tack shop and offer the service. People could come in, choose things off the shelf and send them off to be prettied up.

You could also get other things to make sets – bridle bags, boot bags, helmet bags, shirts, hoodies, etc. People love color coordinated sets of things! If you could figure out the orientation, polo wraps would be neat too.

I don’t have a store front. I operate my business out of my home. Wilker’s pretty much focuses on English saddle pads. The local tack shop has an account with them. I might be able to work a deal out with her to place orders from her for a slight markup so that we both make a little. Don’t know. She doesn’t use me as her embroiderer. When she was looking for a new embroiderer, I had just had foot surgery and was not able to work for 3 months.

DancingArabian, My business (Dancing Bay) is named after my retired dressage mare. Big half Selle Francis dark bay mare. Fell down a hill and messed her neck up so bad we thought she had EPM for 2 years. Big beautiful movement, huge floaty trot. I miss riding her so much, but she’s doing her new job very well which is being a companion to a 30+yo mare on the farm where she was born. But, I always get emails and phone calls from people thinking I’m a dance studio. Does the embroidery part not tell them what I do?

Are you on Facebook yet? It would be a wonderful way to spread the word and show examples of things you have done!! Best of luck! Very exciting and I think will be tremendously successful!!

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Facebook, yes and no. I have it set up, but have not posted anything there. I need to get that done. Hopefully this week. Thanks for the reminder

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