Thursday, September 25, 2014

Update on the job

A month into my new job as web manager/customer service specialist at the local tack store, and I am super thrilled with it. I love being able to combine my passion for all things equestrian with my interest in web design and development! Today, I thought I'd share some interesting things I've learned about working at a tack store.

  • People will call you with interesting questions. Interesting as in, "Can I use my Western cinch on my new English saddle?" and "Do you have a rolled patent leather cob sized crank noseband you can have delivered to me tomorrow?" (The answer to both is "No".)
  • Really famous equestrians buy tack, too. Our tack trailer travels all over east of the Mississippi River (recent shows include USDF Region 8 Championships and Dressage at Devon). Top level riders are at these shows, and regularly purchase tack from us. Customers have included Silva Martin and Lars Peterson- how freaking cool is that?!
  • The markup isn't as high as you think it is. I know leather goods aren't cheap, but I figured the markup was pretty steep on saddles, bridles, girths, etc. At our store, it turns out the markup on saddles is only about 25-30%! That's a lot less than the 60-70% I assumed it was. 
  • Not everyone who works there is a horse person. This was super-surprising to me! I thought everyone working in a tack store would be an avid equestrian- the better to understand what you're selling and help customers, right? Myself and the purchasing director are the only horse people on the staff! (Pretty sure we're also the only ones using the employee discount, too...)
  • Forecasting trends is hard. Equestrian clothing is seasonal, just like regular clothing. We order well in advance of the actual season- for example, we're currently placing our orders for Spring/Summer 2015 clothing lines! It's hard to know what will be in style then! What will the online community be excited about? What will top riders be wearing? What's appealing to your average amateur? Sometimes we miss the mark and get stuck with a whole lot of un-trendy stuff (pastel-colored kids' tights from Kerrits, anyone?). If it hangs around along enough, it gets a hefty markdown and goes to the clearance section. 
I've never worked in any kind of retail environment before, so it's all very new and exciting. I'm certainly open to input on what's hot right now in the equestrian world- especially you hunter/jumper ladies out there! 

15 comments:

Hillary said...

Interesting. I always assumed a higher mark up.

redheadlins said...

I also work at a tack store and our markups are about the same. We have a real struggle trying to bring in higher end products as the local clientele have the mindset that they will just wait for it to go on sale, and then what is the point of us bringing it in...the struggle is real.

Kit Marie SavvyEquus said...

How interesting! I would love to work in a tack shop sometime... sounds like fun ;)

Tracy Beavers said...

Oh retail, how I DON'T miss you, lol

SheMovedtoTexas said...

I thought a higher markup too, closer to 40% since that's what the SP employee discount was when I was there ;)

Stephanie said...

It's higher on some things- most apparel, for example, is marked up about 50%. Most of our higher-ticket items (like saddles and bridles) are only about 25% though!

Stephanie said...

It is! I had a woman ask me what the difference was between a Wintec and a Passier- she saw them on our website and couldn't imagine why you'd pay $500 for one saddle and $2,000 for another. I didn't know what to say to her.

Stephanie said...

It is really fun! I like helping people find what they need. :)

Stephanie said...

I kind of like it, haha! I don't know if I'd like it as much if I was selling something that wasn't horse-related, though.

Stephanie said...

Higher mark-up is definitely happening on items that aren't leather goods. Apparel is seriously like 50%!

L.Williams said...

I too always assumed only horse people worked at tack stores.

agifthorse said...

Interesting!! I always assume the tack store people are all fellow riders etc.

jumppretty said...

That's so cool. I would love to be doing this job! I have checked before but they are only looking for store employees. Although that might be my foot in the door.
Glad you are liking your job, that's awesome!

Sarah said...

Interesting!

Wilbur, Ellie, and Emily said...

Fun and very exciting! Feel free to connect with me offline (emilyjwaggoner (at) gmail (dot) com)- I manage the retail.com business for an equestrian manufacturer and might be able to share some insights!

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