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 Episode 24

Jessica and Jaclyn from Equivont – Building a Community of Equestrians

by | Jun 19, 2020 | Guest | 0 comments

Jessica and Jaclyn from Equivont have built an incredible community of Equestrians. They sat down with us and shared the nitty-gritty of what it looked like in the beginning, how their vision and business have changed and evolved. Business growth isn’t linear. It’s a messy journey that takes time and careful thought. Jessica and Jaclyn attribute their success to their community, building a place where people came come to find what they need, connect with like-minded equestrians, and sell their services.

Hosts & Guests

April Hardeman

Laura Langfitt

Jessica DiCostanzo

Jaclyn Harris

 

 

 

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Jessica and Jaclyn from Equivont – Building a Community of Equestrians

In Episode 24, we welcomed Jessica and Jackie from Equivont to the show. Jackie and Jessica were professional equestrians who transitioned into the corporate world. Jessica was working for a software company and riding horses before and after work. She went full amateur status but hid that part of herself.

Crossing paths with Jackie on the back of a horse and discovering Jackie was dealing with burnout, Jessica invited her to apply for an open position at her software company. They enjoyed working in corporate and spending all their money on horses for a while, but Jessica kept feeling the pull to bring horses back into her professional life.  

Jackie realized that we work really well together. They both like to hustle at work after a 6 am ride. The need for Equivont become apparent when Jessica moved across the county. No matter who she talked to, she couldn’t find a barn to land at after her move. 

Having done sales and business development at all these software companies, Jackie and Jessica are the ultimate online social stalkers. They know how to get contact information. Jessica figured she would go online and find a barn on her own.

Things didn’t go as planned. All Jessica could find were these super old outdated directories. She couldn’t tell if these businesses were even still in business. The experience taught Jessica how much the horse world relies on word of mouth. It hasn’t caught up to the rest of the world in terms of the business side of things. She was so frustrated, it shouldn’t have been easier for find a new gym than a situation for her horse. 

Jackie and Jessica started bouncing ideas off each other and not long after Equivont was born. 

What Makes Equivont Unique

The ladies’ experience in the corporate world, and knowledge of business and technology was paramount in Equivon’t success. Raising money, getting investors and putting together the key components of a business were arenas that Jackie and Jessica were comfortable in and really helped them develop the key components of the business. 

They did their best to insert an outsider’s perspective, examining what was working and what needed to be added to get a really holistic approach to their marketing. Merging their corporate experience with their love for horses is what did the trick. 

You Can Sell Your Tack On Equivont

After getting the business side set up and established, Jessica and Jackie branched out to sell by owner listings. They established their brand and made it known that the attention would mostly be on the businesses but there came a point where they were fielding too many requests for personal listings to keep saying no to those. 

The sell by owner listings were especially popular during the quarantine because so many people were either spending time cleaning out tack rooms and trailers. 

They built the platform with horse people in mind so they wanted it to be really straightforward and well organized. As a consumer, when you’re shopping, you can actually find saddles in the saddle section instead of some old pair of breeches that are totally unrelated to your search.

You can sell nice english tack in good condition. All you have to do is make an account and create an add. Fill in as much information about the product as you can, and upload photos and videos of your product. Once you hit submit your listing goes to the Equivont team for approval They make sure someone’s not selling a three legged zebra or anything else they don’t want their brand to represent. 

Once approved your listing is available for sale. In your account you’ll be able to see all the analytics about the traffic and leads you’re getting so you can see exactly what’s working for you. 

Equivont’s community are active horse owners. If they aren’t showing every weekend they are at the barn three or four days a week  and most of them own multiple horses. We all know they’re like potato chips. You can’t have just one.

Is Equivont only for English Disciplines? 

Jackie and Jessica started with what they knew. They were both familiar with eventing, dressage, and hundred jumpers so that’s where they started.  Obviously, those disciplines work really well together as far as services and everything go. They’ve always planned to look at adding Western, racing and polo to the site as well. 

There’s a lot of crossover in the disciplines. Even the casual trail rider needs equipment for their horse. Expanding the reach of Equivont is on the roadmap and it’s approaching sooner than later but there is no concrete timeline as of now. 

Horsey Update

Jackie has a coming seven year old gray warmblood named Amari who she started herself. Amari is as sassy as they come. They’re hoping to step into the meter 20s once the show season kicks off, so they’re working really hard on fitness while keeping it fun. She’s a mare, so she demands for Jackie to tell her she’s pretty 14 times and give her 45 cookies before they ride. Jackie is proud because she recently taught Amari how to smile on command. 

Jessica still has her first horse who’s now 28. He’s become her boyfriend’s and my mom’s trail horse. He loves going out on trail and demands to go out at least three days a week. She also has Coco, a Zangersheide mare that she does eventing with. They are working towards qualifying for their first two star. Jessica’s third and final horse is a off the track thoroughbred that she rescued with her mom. They did a little beginner novice eventing at the beginning of the year and a few small hunter jumper shows doing the meters. He’s a fun little project.

Business Accounts on Equivont

Equivon’t business subscription lets you list as many services as you want. If you’re a horse trainer you can list your training packages, lesson packages, and any horses you have for sale. You can also list jobs.

Every business is different. Jackie and Jessica wanted to make sure they offered flexible options for everyone. Product businesses can have an online store right on the Equivont site. The business owner handles shipping the product, and Equivont keeps the customer updated about the status of their order.

Once the tracking information shows the item was delivered to the customer, Equivont is able to release payment to the business instantly.They take a small commission on the sales that transact through the site. Using this option. 

The corporate subscription on Equivalent is meant for businesses that have representatives in multiple locations. This way the corporation has control of the imagery, the branding, and pricing across the board. Then you can promote sales at the local level to support the retailers that use your brand. Driving leads in this way helps your reps do really well. The customers get divvied out automatically as far as who’s getting the leads in their respective area. 

Jessica and Jackie work hard to promote the businesses they work with. Their whole motto is if they can all help each other then everyone wins. They highly encourage the businesses and professionals that they work with to provide educational content. Everyone gets a little something out of it and it builds credibility for the business owner with their audience.

It’s a win win all around. They try to shout their businesses out on social media, in their email campaigns, and make sure that those who are doing amazing work are getting seen. With their background in software and technology, Jackie and Jessica have the ability to make changes to the platform very quickly. 

They can add a category and make other adjustments in minutes which allows them to have incredible customer service. Equivont is also proud to offer free listings for nonprofits. They know it’s super important to give back to the horse community and that’s just one way they practice doing so. 

10,000 followers on Instagram

Equivont has just reached 10,000 followers on Instagram. It’s taken them two years to reach that milestone. When they create content for their account they think about what they’re most interested in and what we would like to learn about the most (from their perspective as equestrians), so they can connect with their followers.

Their content has resonated with a lot of people. When you follow Equivont you’re learning something and you’re finding businesses that you might not otherwise find. Anyone who runs an Instagram account knows that it’s 24/7 monitoring and responses. You have to be really active to keep everyone interested and enjoying what’s coming out.

You have to be willing to learn from all ages and industries if you want to succeed on Instagram. The 16 year olds know something about social media that we missed. The 65 year olds who use old school marketing tactics also have valuable information to give. It’s all about balancing and being adaptive to what’s going on today. 

You have to be willing to change a plan in the middle, scrap it, and start over with something new when things go sideways. Listening to advice from inside AND outside of the horse industry has been super valuable for Jessica and Jackie and they recommend you do the same. 

The Equivont Facebook Group

Jessica and Jackie launch their facebook group and then had to step back and attend to more pressing matters. This happens in business all the time. Now they are reining it back in and focusing on the group again. 

The goal for the group is to provide useful reviews for the services and products listed on Equivont. A place for people to share what’s actually working for businesses and riders.

“Does the sticky grip actually make you stick to your horse better?” “I tried Tick Tock and it was a total bomb.” This way the brands and brand ambassadors can help each other figure out all of the different ways you can communicate with people about products and services. 

The Future of Equivont

Jessica and Jackie are excited to continue making Equivalent a user friendly platform for equestrians. The more people that use it, the more the businesses are able to grow. It’s incredibly empowering for the small businesses to be found and be searched. They don’t want you to have to spend a gazillion dollars every month to be found. They want the horse community to be able to easily find stuff that works for them. When you buy horse products from Amazon you don’t know what you’re going to get

Equivont is a place that’s for horse people to find whatever it is they’re looking for. They want to support every part of their community from the tried and true brands that have been around forever, to new and emerging businesses. They want to put all the best products and services out there next to each other so customers can choose what’s best for them.

 

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