I suspect my road to horses is similar to many others … I was four years old when one of my father’s fraternity brothers invited us to his farm. I rode a Quarter Horse named ‘Katy’ that day and the obsession for all things horses began. Lessons started afterwards, followed by showing school horses and friend’s horses. Eventually, my parents relented to my constant begging and purchased my first horse, ‘Fairfax County’. Showing hunters, jumpers and eventually foxhunting filled my days. To say I was raised in a barn was a joy-filled truth.

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As an adult rider, I continued hunters with a new purchase, ‘Tucker’. He was an eventer that I purchased from Erin Lea Farm in Sanford, NC. A huge personality and an even bigger jump, ‘Tucker’ was quite the ride in and out of the arena. We discovered dressage together when a bone-spur in his coffin joint brought an end to his jumping career. Ultimately, injections were no longer effective in keeping him comfortable and sound, so we made the decision to retire him. He is now my forever horse, or as some of my friends point out: the real CEO of Tucker Tweed Equestrian.

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The venture into business ownership was honestly accidental. 8 years ago, friends invited me to attend the Women of Faith conference in Greensboro, NC. They brought cute matching luggage, I had practical generic, but durable nylon bags (AKA horse girl luggage). The interest in finding an equestrian themed bag for travel sparked there, but nothing existed at the time that met the concept I was imagining. I explained to my entrepreneur husband, Dale, what I was looking to find. His response was, “don’t you think other equestrian women want that too?” With his encouragement, I drafted a design and searched for a manufacturer. Timing was not ideal however, as this was the beginning of the recession and few were traveling, even less purchasing new luggage. The following year Dale and I attended the WEG in Lexington. I was noticing equestrian fashion in the Kentucky Horse Park and the light turned back on. The determination was made to start with handbags, with the goal of travel pieces down the road. “The Lexington”, a sumptuous pebble-grained leather shoulder bag with equestrian embossed horses and riders, arrived 10 months later.

Fast forward to today, and we now present over 240 uniquely different pieces in over 150 retail stores world wide. These include 6 handbag styles each with 4 embossed discipline options and up to 14 color combinations. Wristlets, wallets and luggage round out our collection which also includes logoed Ronner performance shirts, Equi In Style sun shirts, Nike hats, Dreamers & Schemers custom socks and embroidered saddle pads by Ogilvy.

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Goals met: The equestrian luggage goal came to fruition this past year. The Tryon Travel Series Overnight debuted in August of 2018, with the HJ version selling out in just 3 weeks. We were so thrilled with the response! Predictably, we have planned to add more pieces to complement this theme of equestrian travel, including a garment bag, makeup bag and a few surprises that fit nicely into the mode of journeying.

Tucker Tweed The Carolinas Equestrian 03We are often asked how we go about creating our products. Nearly all of them are a combination of our ideas along with requests or suggestions from riders or our clients. We feel like we are collaborators as much as we are creators. For example, inspiration for a new design came during a meeting with our second retail partner, Donna Prendergast of Waxhaw Tack Exchange. While in her store, a sales rep was also visiting and took an interest in our products. She recommended that we create a smaller version for petite riders. That was the catalyst for the creation of the Camden Crossbody. Naming the crossbody after the town of Camden was our nod to Happy Chandler and our third retail partner, The Tack Room. Noreen Cothran of Farm House Tack in Landrum, SC, was the first to suggest chestnut/black as a color-blocked feature. That option, fondly referred to as the “Noreen special” is consistently our top selling color combination. This progression is essentially who we are as a business … building relationships, listening to others, thoughtfully designing.

Tucker Tweed The Carolinas Equestrian 04What sells best is the topic of many conversations with our followers. This past Christmas, the Wellington Wristlet tied for the top spot with our other two largest pieces, the James River Carry All and now the newly debuted Tryon Travel overnight bag. We do sell more H/J embossed products, while dressage is a close second and foxhunting is tied with our signature logo for third. While we have enjoyed the success of these first 4 embossed options, we have a fifth debuting in the weeks ahead.

Up next on our 2019 calendar is the release of 2 new designs, multiple collaborations in color and also technology, and the introduction of a newly embossed discipline logo. We are forever grateful for the response to our products and are quite excited about what is ahead for Tucker Tweed Equestrian!

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Photographs courtesy of Tucker Tweed Equestrian