Kristy first popped up on my radar when she owned the Canadian store, Dapple Gray, the cutest horse + hound + home boutique in all the world. Why was I, a mere North Carolinian, following a tack store in Canada so closely? Because Kristy is a marketing ninja and her well-staged pictures and witty posts on Facebook told me to. Her savvy use of social media single-handedly transformed the equestrian retail scene and introduced a lot of us to unfamiliar, smaller brands that are well-known, favorites today. Phyliss Stein, My Barn Child, Black Knight and SpicedEq to name just a few.
Kristy no longer owns Dapple Gray, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t seeing her social media posting. She owns Hold Your Horses Media, a company that runs social media accounts for 15 top equestrian companies. It is pretty hush-hush who her clients are, but to help put it in perspective, it is no secret that she was the genius behind the Ogilvy half-pad social marketing campaign. You might recall that Ogilvy’s social media account seemingly came out of nowhere a few years ago and immediately people were rushing to purchase a pad in their favorite color.
In April 2016, she created her own brand of boot socks and launched Dreamers & Schemers Boot Socks. Yep, boot socks. And guess what? Within weeks, everyone wanted them. And by everyone, I mean EVERYONE. Myself included! D&S quickly had a cult following on Instagram, and today, only a year later, they have over 17,000 dedicated, sock-obsessed followers. Through my ownership of Pony Glam, I occasionally get to electronically “bump” into Kristy, and I try to soak it all in and hope that some sort of digital osmosis occurs. Recently, she was gracious enough to take some questions and send me some socks. I took it!
Andrea: Let’s get the important one out-of-the-way. Ninja stars or nunchucks?
KL: Hmmm…Nunchucks. I feel like when you asked it, I had a little bit of an immediate pull towards nunchucks.
Andrea: Why socks? Of all things, how did you sense that we equestrians secretly needed cooler socks?
KL: At Dapple Gray, I had a small mobile trailer that I would take with me to the horse shows. I saw that a lot of my sales were smaller items. It seemed like kids were coming to the mobile trailer with $20-$40 and buying items that were in that price range. My background is in action sports, and because of that I have had a lot of exposure to different brands. I started noticing all of these really fun socks outside of the equestrian industry, like Sock It To Me. In fact, I was the first tack shop that I knew of to carry that line and started selling them by the 100’s out of my trailer. I sold so many that it almost became a sock-mobile! Perhaps it is because socks are really one of the few places you can express yourself at a horse show, especially in the Hunters. So I guess I just really paid attention to my mobile trailer’s demographic and their purchasing habits. Plus, I just love socks…I am a serial sock shopper!
Andrea: Unicorns and donuts on a sock does sound great in my mind, but I am not necessarily sure I would say that out loud. But you did. And you put it on a sock. And the socks sold out. Again, how did you know that others out there shared your quirky sense of humor?
KL: I am 100% aware that not everyone is going to like you, no matter what you do. It is better to be authentic and be yourself than try to be something you are not. Life is too short. And you know, you are going to eventually find your tribe, people who will embrace you for who you are. Luckily, with D&S, I had a tone and message that people resonated with. So for the most part, I throw it out there and see what works, because if something doesn’t work, it doesn’t crush me, I just pivot and try something else that does.
Andrea: I know this is like asking someone to pick a favorite child or parent, but which pair of socks is your go-to, your favorite?
KL: Every new pair I make is my absolute favorite pair for a hot minute. And then I make a newer pair, and that one is the best. So I suppose I don’t really have a true favorite. I have some that are not my favorite on the website, and occasionally those turn out to be my big sellers. Sometimes I get surprised by what people like!
Andrea: On a serious note (I can be serious sometimes), what is the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?
KL: I haven’t exactly had a mentor, yet. I have kinda been flying by the seat of my pants, and as I have been going I have luckily collected a really amazing support network and an amazing group of entrepreneur friends that really question me and highlight the pro/cons of my ideas.
Andrea: Okay back to not being serious (shocker), what are the chances that Chloe can be your future sock inspiration? She’d really like a sock named after her. She (thinks) she deserves it…
KL: Uhh, yes! That can totally happen. Chloe should start putting a mood board together and we can make something happen for her.
Thanks so much Kristy for sharing your time and being a good sport. Until our next electronic bump…or Chloe’s new sock line! 🙂 xoxo
Check out the sock photo shoot BELOW! Pictures shot by SHANNEN SMYTH PHOTOGRAPGHY at Charlottetowne Stable.
To get your D&S click HERE!!!! Enter “HORSEGLAM” for 10% off!