After working with Katie from Equitex to order my new tack-trunk, I had the opportunity to pick her brain on the industry and how she became an expert. Read more to learn about trends, custom order options and the newest addition and trend, the Valet trunk.
When did you get into the world of customized equipment for show Jumpers?
As a kid I use to dream about having my own barn and custom, matching equipment for all of the horses. I even used to make blankets and trunks for my Breyer horses! I didn’t show on the A circuit until I was a little older but it was always something I loved to see- the beautiful set ups with rows of tack trunks down the barn aisle. In 2012, I took a job as a sales rep with Equitex and decided to combine my love of design and style with my equestrian life and make a career of it.
How do you choose the materials for your projects?
Equitex has a factory in Napa, CA where all of the fabric products are made. We have a team of talented sewers who build the awnings, valances, trunk covers and blankets by hand. We are always checking out fabric shows looking for new fabrics of wools and tech fabrics for coolers etc.
What's your favourite tack-box and why?
After working with so many barns and seeing what people like for traveling and home, I still love the basic Large Phoenix West Trunk for every customer. I think that everyone should start there. They include a sliding tray and a removable tote, are big enough to store a saddle, blankets, boots, helmet and more! I usually suggest clients get stained interior and the corkboard inserts in the lids. This type of trunk will last someone 10-20 years or even longer! But for more interesting and fun items, especially for gifts- I love
our Beverage Valet, which has a mini fridge, a cutting board, and drawers that hold glasses, it’s a party on wheels! I also think every trainer would love an Upright Medicine Chest, which is a smaller valet type trunk with drawers that can be custom designed for small bottles and all kinds of supplies. I have helped clients design all types of custom bit boxes, saddle valets, trunks for dogs, tack lockers and more. If you have an idea we are always willing to try and build it.
How do you think the market has changed in the past 5 years?
Clients have gotten excited about Valet trunks, which is great because they hold clothes and personal items and of course look amazing. In the past 5 years more and more people want them. But I do think that barns are returning to
a more practical solution for traveling. As barns get bigger it’s harder to haul valets for all of the clients. Also, barns now want more accessories like saddle and bridle racks, door panels or halter boards with horse’s names on them, stable boards, mounting blocks and all the complimentary items to match their trunks.
What sort of tack-box trends are you seeing on the west coast show grounds?
Vinyl trunks are by far the most popular. With vinyl tops (instead of stainless). We are able to make a mold of a customer’s logo and even do trunks in custom colors. I try to steer clients toward a practical solution of small (and easily changed out) nameplates for personalization.
I love working with clients to design beautiful custom trunks and to use the look of their equipment to reinforce the business’s branding. Getting creative and helping to design something really special takes a lot of attention to detail and organization, as well as a strict adherence to the rest of the barn’s colors and themes. However, over the years I have learned what works and what doesn’t, and function is the number one priority to me now. I think it’s important not to be over the top with trying to be unique. Because there are are certain things that customers will request and I know it’s not going to hold up well or be practical, so I try to guide my clients to find that balance. After all, we Equestrians know that the horses come first, and everything must be functional.
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