Behind the brand with Hooves & Love founder Emma
Hooves & Love is a unique online equestrian gifting company that launched just a year ago and is already getting quite a following for its carefully-curated gift boxes full of horsey goodies! We caught up with Hooves & Love founder Emma to go ‘behind the brand’ with her and find out what inspired her to start her own business, what a normal day looks like and her plans for the future.
Tell us about why you aimed the gift boxes at horse lovers, are you a keen equestrian yourself?
Yes! I’ve loved horses for as long as I can remember, and it was all thanks to my aunt. My father and her grew up around farms and she loved horses. I now have three horses of my own to look after. One is retired, one competes at affiliated dressage and the third is a half-blind ex polo pony! Having sight in only one eye doesn’t hold him back though. He is brilliant fun and is my ‘go anywhere, do anything’ horse.
How have your personal values translated into the business you’ve started?
Individuality and experience are two of the things I cared most about when I started the business. Hooves & Love is as much about the experience when you receive the gift box as it is about the products inside it. I’ve gathered and tested unique products that you can’t just walk into a local tack shop and find. There are even some products made especially for Hooves & Love! I love helping other brands get exposure and making the boxes really special for the recipient.
What was your career background before starting Hooves & Love?
I worked as a project manager, travelling the globe. So was very much a part of the corporate world. I took a break to have my children and first started pondering the idea of Hooves & Love about 20 months ago. Before launching it a year ago in Summer 2018. I love making people smile and get so excited when someone buys one of my gift boxes – it’s the best work decision I’ve made!
Do you think that the skills you gained in project management have helped you with running your own business?
I certainly know how to organise and plan. I’m obsessed with the little details! I love a deadline and a bit of pressure, so I suppose I’ve had to adjust to making my own deadlines. The pressure to succeed now has to come from me, so I need to be strict with myself. I also have to be much more flexible now I have children as there is nothing more disruptive to a plan than children!
Ah, so what’s the secret to the perfect balance of work and family when you work for yourself?
There really isn’t a ‘right’ way to do things – it’s mostly about being flexible and prepared for the unexpected! If it’s going to be good weather in the morning but raining in the evening, I might rise at 5am to ride my horses before the kids are up. Other days see me still wrapping boxes at 10pm. Today I had set aside some nice quiet time to chat to you and then my daughter was poorly and is home from school and demanding my attention. I’m the first to admit that my children, horses and business take up most of my time and then my poor husband gets a slightly exhausted version of me.
What do you do to relax and unwind at the end of the day?
Horses are my therapy, so riding, grooming and generally looking after them makes me so happy. I honestly don’t have time for any hobbies outside of Hooves & Love, horses and my family – but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What’s next for Hooves & Love, one year on from its launch?
I’ve already planned a box to be launched at Christmas – I told you I love to plan ahead! We’re also adding something along the lines of ‘pick and mix’ boxes to the website in July, so people can choose their favourite combination of products. I can wait to see what boxes people build and their favourite gifts.
And finally, we have to ask this – what would be the ultimate gift someone could get you?
More time – I would love a little more time to balance things out and get everything done. More realistically, a weekend where I don’t have to answer the phone or emails would be amazing… or a palomino foal?! That’s realistic, isn’t it..?