American Pony Outfitters: A Family Affair
Learn more about the equestrian apparel company masterminded by three sisters… each under the age of 15.
What is cuter than three sisters operating a clothing business together? Three sisters operating an equestrian-based clothing business — that’s what! Lucy (14), Libby (12) and Sophie Nelson (6) were inspired to create American Pony Outfitters as a home school project, but later decided to make this business idea a reality. Together, the trio designs and sells comfortable, casual equestrian-designed T-shirts that are not only functional at the barn but in everyday life as well.
These budding young entrepreneurs divide their time in the saddle, in the classroom and in the office. With a grandmother and mother who rode growing up, one of the Nelson children was bound to ride as well; sure enough, all three Nelson sisters event while also attending local schooling dressage and hunter/jumper shows. They find their inspiration for their designs from their own experiences as equestrians.
The sisters operate all aspects of American Pony Outfitters out of their home where they can be found carefully packaging each order by hand. Lucy Nelson, who competes in Area 2 at Beginner Novice on her Thoroughbred Willie, helps guide some of the bigger decisions while Libby and Sophie thoroughly enjoy making sure all orders are fulfilled properly and with love. “It has been really cool to set up the business and see where we could take this,” Lucy shared while discussing the businesses growth from brainchild to the real deal.
“We went through our drawers and thought to ourselves ‘what shirts do we wear the most?’ We wanted shirts that were soft and comfortable and that we knew we liked!” Lucy continued. With a baseline set, the sisters reached out to designers to see their ideas come to life. “I really hope that this turns into a brand that equestrians of all ages and disciplines can love!”
In addition to her aspirations for American Pony Outfitters, Lucy also has some big goals set for her riding career. If all goes according to plan, she aims to move up to Training level by the end of 2018.
Middle sister Libby has been horse crazy since birth and she channels just as much of the passion that she has for horses into American Pony Outfitters. “We had so much fun with the project, but it has been even more fun creating our own business and making up funny designs! I hope that one day there are lots of people all around wearing our shirts!” Libby works hard to make that dream a reality by promoting the blossoming brand at horse shows (when she is not showing at Elementary level with her 14-hand draft cross Gabe) by passing out American Pony Outfitters stickers to all of the competitors.
Despite her young age, six-year-old Sophie has just as much enthusiasm for American Pony Outfitters and riding as her older siblings. Her favorite shirt that they have designed so far is the “I Like to Stirrup Trouble,” one that seems perfect for this little daredevil. Her favorite pastime? Jumping and riding her 13.2-hand Welsh pony Chex bareback! She and Chex have competed at four local shows so far and she is working hard towards her goal of learning to canter all by herself.
One glance at the American Pony Outfitters website and it is apparent that these girls put a lot of thought into this project. The website is beautifully designed and professional photos of each shirt line the home page. While I love each and every one of their designs, I really wish I could go back in time to my bachelorette party and have each of my guests don their “Bridle Party” tee. They offer women’s, men’s, and youth tees as well as a stylish line of ball caps that I am definitely going to have to place on my wish list.
And these girls don’t stop dreaming — they hope that in the future retail locations and traveling tack shops will carry American Pony Outfitters apparel around the world. If you are a retailer interested in carrying the APO line in your store or if you are searching for fun equestrian approved clothing, be sure to check out American Pony Outfitters! You can also follow on Facebook and Instagram.
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