Opening/Owning a Tack Shop - The Horse Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 Old 09-29-2009, 02:11 AM Thread Starter
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Opening/Owning a Tack Shop

Just an idea Iíve had mulling around in my head for a while. It probably wonít come to fruition, but itís worth a think about and Iíd like to see what other people think.

Iíve always thought it would be cool to have my own business. When I was younger I always dreamt of having my own interior design business; Well that sure didnít happen! But Iíve also lately been very frustrated by the limited tack I can get for my chosen disciplines without having to shop online. It seems that all the tack shops in/around my city (about 5 or 6) cater to dressage, eventing, showing, SJ etc. But donít carry much in the way of tack or accessories for disciplines such as Campdrafting, polocrosse, cattle work, mounted games, ASH/QH showing, etc. Basically disciplines geared more towards the Ďstock breedsí. They also tend to all sell the same brands, without a lot of range. There is one tack shop that has imported western saddles and bridles, but they still lack in the general, everyday items that stock people use, and have a very limited range of curb bits.

So, in my infinite wisdom, I started thinking about how it would be really cool to open a tack shop in my city geared toward the disciplines often overlooked by city people, or very Ďenglishí riders.

My main idea is to gear it toward showing the QH or ASH, and Ďworkingí disciplines such as Campdrafting, polocrosse, team penning, cutting, reining, etc. A big emphasis would also be on everyday tack for stock people, so a larger range of barcoo bridles for ASH people, one-ear or simple western bridles for QH people, things like rope reins and split reins, working spurs, good quality breastplates, a large range of bits including snaffles and curbs, etc. I would also be interested in researching the latest technologies coming out of the US, I have experienced great things with thinline, for example, and think it would be a great product to be able to get in-store, instead of on-line.

So I have a TON of things I would like advice or opinions on. I am aware that business will differ greatly between countries, and the economy in Australia right now is very different to say the US, but all opinions are valued. Especially those of Aussies who know what Iím talking about :] I personally am really bad with money, etc but have a friend who is also interested who works at a bank, so she would be good for that side of things. I would be more into researching products and suppliers, and actually selling our products. SoÖ

Firstly, does the idea sound feasible?

Are there any qualifications/specific knowledge you need before venturing into owning your own business?

How would you go about sourcing products/suppliers?

What are some of the biggest costs involved? (leasing a shop, staff wages, rates, etc.)

What are some of the advantages/disadvantages to owning your own business/owning a tack shop?


And lastly, any advice, thoughts, or opinions will gladly be heard and taken into account.

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post #2 of 6 Old 09-29-2009, 02:47 AM
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A saddlery like that in my area would be a life saver. A shop geared specifically towards ASH/QH people would be awesome. I guess if this shop did really happen, an online ordering systerm would be great, and you could read more people. I live on the coast of NSW, and about 80% of riders here are english, the rest are western/stock people.
I think that to actually make it a success, you'd need a wide range of items at reasonable prices, and some english items because a saddlery that has it all would be good because every discipline could shop there.
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post #3 of 6 Old 09-29-2009, 03:17 AM
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Its a wonderful idea but beware of the pitfalls -

Do as much research as possible , talk to the local horsey people and find out what they think , bear in mind that some will tell you it's a great idea but will never shop with you.

If you are really serious , start off small. Run a small business from home catering for your specific market, you will not have the overheads that a shop has so you will be able to direct more money to stock. If you have a car or access to a small van , visit as many yards as possible and try to get a feel for what people want. You can get an idea of how things will progress, make contacts, get a rapport with suppliers/customers.

Don't overlook the internet - a shop / small business is reliant on customers and the internet can expand your customer base far beyond what is practical to drive.

Become an expert in your chosen field ( but just remember you can't know everything - I've been making tack for 17 years and still get asked for stuff I've never made before ) - some of my friends who run shops get as many people visiting them for advice ( and buy something while they are there ) as they do general shoppers.

In my experience there are two types of tack shops - one is just a shop where they sell tack, many times the staff don't know much about horses or horse stuff - sometimes they are the only shop for miles so the customers don't have much choice. The second is more of a social club which just happens to be run around a tack shop - people pop in for a chat and a coffee and buy stuff while they are there - if you really love horses and love what you do it will show , reputation is everything, it's not something you can buy, and it will make or break any business ( I love making tack and my business is almost 100% referral ), you have to give people a reason to come to you - you have to offer something extra.

Talk to an Accountant, they can advise you on the best setup - tax breaks, how to legally pay as little tax as possible etc. Also talk to an insurance company - some sort of liability insurance to protect you is advisable as is extended cover on your car if you are using it for business.

Oh - if you aren't a people person - forget it, horsey people are like no other when it comes to shopping and their horses - you are either in their club or not ( e.g. some will buy Stubben regardless - and nothing you can say or do will change thier mind ). One bad experiance with a customer not handled properly can undo years of hard work getting things right.

Good luck and let us know how you get along.
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post #4 of 6 Old 09-29-2009, 10:09 AM
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I think it's a great idea. Definitely work on the business model first and then go from there. It's fairly simple to get suppliers (went through it myself) but you will need a start up cash fund because some suppliers require you to buy the product not just sell it for them.

~CoCo 17hh 4 yo OTTB~
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post #5 of 6 Old 09-29-2009, 12:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nutty Saddler View Post
Its a wonderful idea but beware of the pitfalls -

Do as much research as possible , talk to the local horsey people and find out what they think , bear in mind that some will tell you it's a great idea but will never shop with you.

If you are really serious , start off small. Run a small business from home catering for your specific market, you will not have the overheads that a shop has so you will be able to direct more money to stock. If you have a car or access to a small van , visit as many yards as possible and try to get a feel for what people want. You can get an idea of how things will progress, make contacts, get a rapport with suppliers/customers.

Don't overlook the internet - a shop / small business is reliant on customers and the internet can expand your customer base far beyond what is practical to drive.

Become an expert in your chosen field ( but just remember you can't know everything - I've been making tack for 17 years and still get asked for stuff I've never made before ) - some of my friends who run shops get as many people visiting them for advice ( and buy something while they are there ) as they do general shoppers.

In my experience there are two types of tack shops - one is just a shop where they sell tack, many times the staff don't know much about horses or horse stuff - sometimes they are the only shop for miles so the customers don't have much choice. The second is more of a social club which just happens to be run around a tack shop - people pop in for a chat and a coffee and buy stuff while they are there - if you really love horses and love what you do it will show , reputation is everything, it's not something you can buy, and it will make or break any business ( I love making tack and my business is almost 100% referral ), you have to give people a reason to come to you - you have to offer something extra.

Talk to an Accountant, they can advise you on the best setup - tax breaks, how to legally pay as little tax as possible etc. Also talk to an insurance company - some sort of liability insurance to protect you is advisable as is extended cover on your car if you are using it for business.

Oh - if you aren't a people person - forget it, horsey people are like no other when it comes to shopping and their horses - you are either in their club or not ( e.g. some will buy Stubben regardless - and nothing you can say or do will change thier mind ). One bad experiance with a customer not handled properly can undo years of hard work getting things right.

Good luck and let us know how you get along.

We have a guy around here like you, Nutty Saddler. His name is Mike and everyone who goes there just... knows who he is. He's way out on the back roads, no advertising at all, but he's the best in the business.

I go in sometimes even when I don't need anything just to see what he has in new or what he's working on.

To the OP - I think it's a great idea, but I agree with Nutty Saddler when he says that some people will encourage you, but never buy from you.

You must find your marketable audience - who's going to buy from you? It's not going to be your friends. You have to make sure there's a demand for what you're going to supply.

I think it's a great idea. Best of luck!
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post #6 of 6 Old 09-30-2009, 03:25 PM
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Talk to an Accountant, they can advise you on the best setup - tax breaks, how to legally pay as little tax as possible etc. Also talk to an insurance company - some sort of liability insurance to protect you is advisable as is extended cover on your car if you are using it for business.

That is really important advice, I am not sure how people are in Australia but in the US some are sue crazy. so you need to have some good insurance. You should also talk to a good lawyer, to help you with the legal parts of starting a business.

I would like to add start small and if possible have a place for people to try on their saddle with their horses. And, help them size up their needs. As far as cost of your products some company will work with you on that on. consignment, they still own the saddle but you get so much for selling it. I doubt that can be used on anything but the larger ticket items.

A good cowboy always has a better horse at the end of the ride, a poor cowboy will be afoot reguardless of the horse.

Mis Raices Estan Aqui (my roots are buried here)
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