GUEST BLOG NOVEMBER 2020 - FLEXARS
When I started up The Wide Boot Company in 2019, at around the same time I kept seeing the most brilliant advert pop up on Facebook for some riding tights. It was one of those rare adverts that I looked at and thought to myself 'Do you know what; they might actually fit you AND be comfortable!' which is quite a rarity being an hourglass figured lady.... The photos showed people who were larger than the usual size UK 8-10 modelling in most catalogues. Great! This was a company I could really get on board with! I rarely order breeches or trousers online as it is such a disappointing nightmare usually but I decided to give them a go and was so pleased with the fit and how they looked (no lumps and bumps despite the figure hugging, flexible fabric).
Even better I popped them an email explaining my new venture and that perhaps in future we might be able to work together and discovered that the ladies running Flexars were so helpful and lovely to deal with. Loraine has been an amazing source of help and advice along the way for which I am so grateful. Anyway, I'd highly recommend checking them out and over to Ellie from Flexars:
Founded in the UK and based in Surrey, Flexars is a family run business. Dedicated to providing high quality leggings to women of all shapes and sizes for all activities.
Flexars are comfortable, flexible and extremely flattering. With a super-high flat waistband with no elastic, and no uncomfortable zips or buttons, Flexars stay comfortable throughout the day, and do not sag or fall down. Wear them casually, wear them riding, or wear them for the gym and other sports, wear them wherever you choose.
Flexars are leggings that are designed to adapt to all different body types, having been made from 17 different panels of material. We understand that not all women look like they do in magazines or on television, some of us have large thighs and round tummies, or large calves and a small waist, or a large backside and a small waist, and that is okay. This is the reason we do not use professional models in our marketing, to show everyone that Flexars are inclusive.
We, as a brand want to remind everyone on a daily basis that no matter what your size, everyone deserves to feel confident, comfortable and most importantly, beautiful.
We stock Flexars for UK sizes 4-22, you can find out more about Flexars on our website:
GUEST BLOG JUNE 2020
I wanted to ask Jenni Bush (The Equine Business Assistant) to write a blog post for me as she's such a great promoter of small businesses like my own and has been such a source of help and information - which is partially why The Wide Boot Company has turned out as successfully as it has!
If you have an equestrian related business then please check out her page and group. It's a lovely place to hang out and full of people who have been brought together by her wisdom and advice and who understand the highs and lows of running your own business. Jenni is also great at tech advice and the tricky bits of navigating social media! Over to Jenni with 5 helpful tips;
PUTTING YOUR BEST FOOT FORWARD!
Girl you were made for this! It's time to be the best you!by Jenni Bush aka the Equine Business Assistant.
When Bex asked me if I would write her a blog for her website, I must admit I spent a while wondering what an equine business mentor could write!
But what I do isn't all business, in fact, a lot of what I do is to empower women to inspire.
Helping female equine business owners to be able to step into their own shoes and be the best version of themselves. Much like Bex does at the Wide Boot Company.
You see for us women life isn't always easy. We spend a lot of time worrying what others think, how we should behave and show up. Trying to please others, saying yes when we should say no. And saying many nasty things to ourselves in the process.
It's not easy to wear or walk in our shoes.
We all know how it feels to have boots that don't fit.
The pain, discomfort or even shame.
We can't change who we really are and so we try to fit into what we want to be or what other want us to be.
Whether its life or business, sometimes we have to decide what is best for us and stop listening to the negative self talk, the social media or even those we love!
Once we make that decision, it can be really liberating to be the best you that you can be.
So how do you do that? Here are my 5 steps to putting your best foot forward.
1- Stop looking outside for others to make you feel valued or special.
2 - Spend time thinking on what matters most to you.
3 - If you hear yourself talking negatively or find yourself beating yourself up tell it to STOP and ask if it is true?
4 - Forgiveness - forgive yourself and others for anything that made you feel less than or not good enough.
5 - See yourself through the eyes of those who really love you! Take some time to meditate on this. There is a mind valley meditation that guides you through this (find it on YouTube)
No matter who we are, what size we wear, the most important thing is we show up as ourselves and feel good in our own skin.
Only then can we truly be the amazing women we were called to be!
Because we all have greatness in us and it's time to put your best foot forward!
Jenni Bush aka The Equine Business Assistant
Mentoring Equestrian business owners to find their own horsepower. To find out more about Jenni visit https://www.JenniBush.com
The Wide Boot Blog - Part 1 - April 2020
Well hello and welcome to the first Wide Boot Company blog post! Something that I have been meaning to get around to for some time - with the odd situation we are living through being in lock down it has allowed me more spare time for the things I never usually get around to. So here we are…!
So for those of you who have not been here for the journey since the start I would just like to tell you a bit about The Wide Boot Company and how it came about….
In the autumn of 2018 I had my usual brand of field boots delivered that I had purchased online. Every two years or so I would buy a replacement pair as they wore out; same brand, same size. This was my third or fourth pair. Except this time the company had changed the lining and try as I might they just would not zip up the last couple of inches. I persevered and rode in them like that (having first sat in the bath with them on which is an old trick to help stretch new leather boots) but had to admit defeat eventually after months of them not quite zipping all the way up. Sad times.
I went to Badminton Horse Trials with friends in April 2019. I had money ready to spend on replacement boots if I could actually find any that would work for me. I went to practically every trade stand in that shopping village and came away feeling rubbish. Nothing would get close enough to fitting my calf width for me to even bother wasting my time trying any on.
Yes I am a curvier girl at a size UK16 but tall boots have always been a problem for me and now it was getting ridiculous. Even when I was an athletic UK size 12 when I trained every day for triathlon I still only had the option of one or two brands and even then it was always touch and go as to whether they would zip up as I had strong calves from cycling. It was the same depressing story with Spanish and Country style boots. Nobody did them in sizes to fit me off the peg. I would flick through catalogues and websites drooling over gorgeous boots and then feel sad when I checked the size charts. Even wellies were difficult to shop for.
So….. I got so annoyed in 2019 that I decided there must be a better way! I researched every boot size chart out there, looked at the pricing for the extremely limited options already available for wider fittings and decided I couldn’t afford them or that they just didn’t float my boat. I wanted to look like other ‘normal’ riders and not have clunky corrugated style panels or pay upwards of £250 for everyday boots.
I’m a graphic designer and artist by trade so I went on a personal mission, drew up some sketches on my computer using Photoshop and started looking for a supplier who could make up some samples. I also ran a survey asking potential customers what they wanted out of a wider fitting boot and what they disliked about existing boots and then designed my sketches around their feedback.
The designs went off in July 2019 (and I then received a message from my supplier checking that these diagram sizes were actually correct and had I made a mistake as they seemed odd compared to other boots they had made?! Yes, yes definitely correct; please crack on!) and in August my first 10 sample pairs of Wide Boot Company Atia field boots arrived with me to assess and check over. Opening that box was scary as I had invested quite a lot of my personal savings by this point and another supplier I had previously tried in another country had sent me hideous samples which hadn’t followed my plans at all. But I opened the box and the boots had come out pretty much perfectly and just as I had imagined, if not better! A few very minor adjustments were required but they ticked all the boxes! Exciting! I had nailed it with finding a wonderful supplier. I designed my logo, got a Facebook page sorted and got my website up and running and pressed go for this new chapter in my life….
Feedback was really good (and thank you to those first few customers who took a chance on my very new product!) so I then ran a couple more sizing surveys targeting social media groups where I know riders like myself hang out. Using the results of these surveys led to the creation of the full sizing chart (wow that was a headache going through all those results!) and my first large batch arrived in December 2019 (minus a few boxes that the freight company managed to lose...)
In January 2020 I attended the BETA Trade Fair (British Equestrian Trade Association), taking along several samples of new styles and the feedback was fabulous! So fabulous that the Atia Field Boot actually won the BETA Design Innovation Award for its slimline ankle fit and flattering design which is unlike other ‘plus size’ boots. Will admit I nearly cried going up to accept that trophy on stage after weeks of stress with freight issues and hardly any sleep (my new samples only landed a week before the event!) not to mention that my car broke down on the way to the show so my entry for the award nearly missed the drop off deadline!
So yeah, here we are in April 2020… everything is designed, sampled and signed off for production, the original Regular Fit Atia boots are selling well across the world and I’m itching for the workshop to reopen from lockdown so that the Spring order can be completed which consists of things like the Brookside Country boots, Lola everyday boots and the Pippin laced front dressage boots to name a few and also the new fit options of the Atia and Keira riding boots (short/wides, tall/wides and slim cuts). Right now I should have been organising photo shoots and supply to retailers who signed up with me at the show…
It’s not the greatest timing as a brand new company when your workshop is ordered to shut down by their government in the middle of making your biggest order yet due to a scary virus making its way across the world. But it’s not to be helped and as soon as lockdown is lifted and it’s safe for the workers to continue it will be all systems go! The skilled staff are all safe and well at their homes and ready to carry on where we left off when allowed and the materials are ready and sat there waiting to be hand made into lovely boots. I am still able to safely despatch items that I have in stock already like the Regular Atia Boots and the suede Orla Spanish boots so life continues in some manner.
It’s not even been a year yet of The Wide Boot Company existing but I am so pleased with how things are going despite these unseen difficulties. The best thing is some of the feedback that I have received from customers like myself who have found boot shopping such a miserable experience previously! Let’s hope the second half of 2020 is a bit less restrictive than the first half – I can’t wait!
Thanks for reading,