I caught up with equestrian clothing business APT Cavalier, and went behind the brand to discover more about them! From product design to the major challenges, we covered it all!
HOW DID YOU END UP RUNNING AN EQUESTRIAN CLOTHING BUSINESS?
I started Apt Cavalier purely because it made sense. I have a BAHons in Fashion Design for Industry and my biggest love in life is the equestrian world – specifically Eventing. Therefore it made sense that I would combine my passion with my trained skills to create the perfect career.
DO YOU DESIGN EVERY PRODUCT YOURSELF?
I do indeed – I use my wealth of riding and garment construction knowledge to ensure that my designs provide optimum comfort for the rider. The most important thing to me is that they give you freedom of movement. As well as aiding performance through temperature regulation and perfectly placed vents. Every garment in our collection is fit for purpose, or ‘apt’ if you will.
TELL US SOMETHING WE MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT YOUR PRODUCTS?
The simplicity of some of the garments is purposeful. I see a lot of garments, leggings in particular, which have an abundance of seams and decoration on them. People often ask me why mine are so plain but the answer is simple – the fewer seams you have, the more comfortable they are. There is less opportunity for seams to rub, dig-in or chaff while in or out the saddle and that’s a priority for me while designing.
WHAT HAVE THE MAIN CHALLENGES BEEN ALONG THE WAY?
Letting go of control. I do everything within the company myself, from research to design, admin to accounting and packing and posting, it’s all me. The only thing I don’t do it physically make the product. All our Performance wear is made in factories in the UK and Europe and handing over control to them following on from ordering, sampling and approving their work is the hardest thing for me.
WHAT MAKES APT CAVALIER DIFFERENT?
I’m going to answer controversially here and say that honestly, it’s not that different from a lot of other high-end sportswear. I see a lot of brands claiming that they launched because there was a gap in the equestrian market for good quality, affordable performance wear but the truth is there is not. That gap has been filled by multiple companies who are smashing it in their own way.
What I will say is Apt Cavalier is special, which is down to our customers. Yes, we use top quality technical fabric and yes, all of our performance wear is designed in-house specifically to aid your riding experience but it’s the culture that surrounds it that is special. 33% of our orders come from existing customers, which essentially means that those who buy and wear Apt Cavalier absolutely love it. I have many customers who have one of every style and every colour – we call them Cavaliers – and I am so proud that Apt Cavalier is present in their life, adding comfort to their everyday experience.
YOU CELEBRATED 2 YEARS IN BUSINESS THIS SUMMER – CONGRATULATIONS! WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE BRAND?
For me, the brand needs to move in a more innovative direction. 2020 will see a new and improved sportswear collection along with a focus on outdoor clothing, i.e. waterproofs and more practical garments for living in a country which often battles the elements all year round.
ANY FUNNY TALES FROM THE BACK OFFICE TO TELL US?
I’m not sure funny tales are my speciality when it comes to Apt – some moments where if I didn’t laugh I would cry come to mind – but some of the best moments are when I appear on a skype call with my beloved office cat, Heidi, wrapped around my shoulders. People always find that really amusing!
WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST DREAM FOR APT CAVALIER?
My biggest dream for AC is to become the go-to eventing brand. We have a huge presence up here in Scotland – so much so that at Blair Castle International someone came to find us because they saw so many Performance Skins on the XC course, that she had to come and see what all the fuss was about. My next move is to spread the word South, and build up so that maybe one day we will be able to supply kit for UK teams and beyond.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE BEEN GIVEN?
I’ve been given A LOT of advice throughout my journey. But I think the best piece of advice is an old favourite; “you can only do one thing at a time”.
I struggle with this one and often find my mind wandering to the next task while I am still on the first task, so this is something I am consistently working on.
And finally, for fun…
CHAMPAGNE OR GIN?
Champagne – Gin makes me far too drunk far too quickly!
COB OR TB?
Anyone who knows me will know that I’m a Cob girl. However, few will know that my very own SuperCob, Woody, is actually 50% TB.
HEELS OR WELLIES?
I love heels, the higher the better but my wellies definitely spend more time on my feet.
CLEAN HOUSE OR CLEAN STABLE?
Both – mess stresses me out.
SUMMER OR WINTER?
Sunny days working in the garden, sunglasses, BBQs and Eventing – Summer of course!
Visit the APT Cavalier website and collections here.