If you’ve been showing horses ( or dogs or cattle ) for any amount of time, you know how quickly horse show ribbons can pile up! My daughter and I only attended 4 shows this season and we have more ribbons than we know what to do with! If you’re in a similar bind, here’s one way to handle it. Turn your horse show ribbons into unique artwork so you can keep them on display without the clutter!
Whether you want to order an item or get started making your own, check out this interview with Jenny from EquiRibbon Creations! In this article, Jenny shares her process and how she turned her craft into a business!
I grew up showing horses and kept all my ribbons; just as any little girl would. They were displayed all over my room, hanging from curtain rods and picture frames. Eventually I ran out of room and they ended up in a box.
I created EquiRibbon Creations to get those ribbons out of boxes and on display so everyone can see the incredible ribbons you have worked hard to earn and to remind you of the wonderful memories you had earning them.
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What is your background with horses?
I got involved in riding when I was around five years old. Fast forward eight years to when I attended Equine Affaire in Mass I saw the Miniature Horses in the breed pavilion and thought, “These could fit in my backyard.” I purchased two minis who I showed in 4H, Pinto and AMHA rated shows. I also did IHSA throughout college. I have since stopped riding but have 3 minis show I show throughout AMHA and AMHR rated shows.
What inspired you to start creating pieces with horse show ribbons?
My mom is pretty sewing savvy so she took a handful of ribbons and created a ribbon pillow for me one year as a Christmas present. Once I saw it I knew I needed to learn how to make them.
I started out working with my own ribbons then using friends ribbons to create gifts. I hadn’t seen many people online offering pillows so I decided it would be a pretty neat side job.
You offer a wide variety of ribbon creations such as pillows, animals, stockings, wreaths, wall hangings etc. How did you learn to create these pieces with ribbons?
I learned from both trial and error and patterns. My mom had sewn pillows and stockings before, so she was able to teach me how to create those. If I come up with an idea she also helps me figure out how to piece it all together.
How many ribbons does it typically take to create one piece?
The number of ribbons really depends on the ribbon item that is created.
I decided to offer a variety of ribbon items that all use different amounts of ribbons because some people only have a handful vs. those who have been showing for years that have boxes full.
From the smallest amount of ribbons to the largest – ribbon ponies use 3, pillows use around 15 and wreaths can use over 150.
How many hours does it typically take per project?
This also depends on the ribbon item. Those pieces that use a lot of horse show ribbons with more detail, like a wreath or wall hanging, can take 6-8 hours or even more to make.
This time includes the whole process that I will explain below, not just sewing the ribbons together. A smaller item like a pillow can average around an hour or so.
Can you walk us through the process of making unique items out of horse show ribbons at a high level?
Every order starts with prepping the horse show ribbons. I take them out of the box, iron them all and sort them by color.
If I am making a pillow or similar item I will start cutting 2-3 ribbons I know I will be using so I have something to start with. The pillow pattern gets laid out and sewn onto a stabilizing piece of fabric. I sew the back on, turn it inside out, put the pillow form in, my mom hand sews it closed and I sew the rosette on.
If I am making a wreath, I start cutting all the ribbons since I know I will use them!
Once all the streamers are cut, I cut them again into smaller pieces. Then I glue the small pieces into triangles, and start the process of pinning them all onto the wreath frame.
If the wreath has rosettes, I put them on at the end.
What platform(s) do you use to sell your pieces?
Right now I only sell online through my website, equiribboncreations.com!
What has been the biggest challenge so far and what have you learned from this experience?
The biggest challenge so far is learning how to balance everything. I do all the work from start to finish and every order is in a different stage so it can be hard to not become overwhelmed.
I have learned how to run a business.
There is a lot more to running a business than just making a product and selling it. Town and state paperwork, accounting, trademarks, customer service, troubleshooting, etc.
I don’t just play with ribbons all day, there is a good amount of office work that goes into it that I didn’t even think about before starting EquiRibbon Creations.
What is the best part of creating and selling your horse show ribbon creations?
The best part is seeing all of the incredible ribbons everyone has been awarded and hearing the stories behind them. Ribbons aren’t the same across all industries, so it is neat to see the different colors, rosettes and award titles.
The stories I hear from customers really help me bring the ribbon creation to life.
How did you learn how to manage the marketing and administrative part of your business?
Luckily I worked for a marketing company before and during the time I launched my business so I was able to take what I knew about marketing and apply it to EquiRibbon Creations.
The administration part was harder to learn. It was a good amount of trial and error learning how to track orders and correspondence with customers.
I first started with a Facebook page and an excel chart… I have now upgraded to a website with a platform that tracks all the orders for me.
How do you juggle running two businesses and having a personal life?
What’s a personal life? Just kidding! I won’t sugar coat it, it is very hard but I have been able to find a balance that works for me.
I’m not the type of person who can stop, sit on the couch, watch TV and relax; I always need to be doing something.
Most of my other job’s appointments are during regular work hours so I ribbon in the evening. Ribboning (yes, I have made it a verb), is my time to relax, it isn’t work for me and it is a way for me to be creative. I do take a night or two off during the week for friends and on the weekends I limit myself to ribboning in the morning so I have the rest of the afternoon free.
What advice would you give to someone considering turning their craft into a business?
Be unique. I see many crafters offering the same item; switch it up.
It doesn’t have to be a completely different product but add different options and put your own style into it.
While many other people offer ribbon pillows, I have created a handful of original designs that customers can choose from that aren’t offered through those other companies.
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