In the spirit of community over competition, I'm excited to continue the Brand Feature Series. Each month, I feature another woman owned equestrian small business that I love. This month we get to know PJ, the creator of BOTORI!
Tell us about your business.
BOTORI is comfortable and practical equestrian athletic apparel that fits any adventure from stable to street. A combination of premium technical performance fabrics with luxury hand feel and uniquely flattering fit, we create tights you’ll want to wear all day, every day - in and out of the saddle.
While horseback riding is at the core of everything that we design, you don’t have to be a rider to live the BOTORI lifestyle. Bring subtle equestrian flair to your next run, yoga session, or power nap.
BOTORI is designed and sewn in the USA. Online shopping is made easy with free returns and easy exchanges.
Why did you start the business?
BOTORI started during a night out with barn friends after a lesson. Sitting around the table we realized that we looked like a hot mess - and smelled even worse. During that time yoga and athleisure wear flourished in the mainstream, the equestrian market wasn’t evolving to serve its riders in the same way. I wanted to ride in “yoga pants with a knee patch… and pockets”, and that is exactly what I created. The fit, fabric, and quality are what keep us unique in the growing equestrian athleisure market. At the same time, the subtle branding and classic colors make BOTORI easy to transition from stable to street.
What is your favorite thing about owning the business?
There have been so many cool opportunities, events, and people I’ve experienced along this journey - it’s hard to pick a favorite. With a background as a user experience designer, the customer experience is probably most important to me. I make it a point to include my customers in every step - helping make decisions on colors and styles from concept through production. With the update to a new shopping platform earlier this year, I was able to add customer reviews to the site. I absolutely love reading all the feedback and hearing rider stories and new ideas.
If I had to pick a second favorite… a never-ending equestrian wardrobe is pretty awesome too!
What has been the biggest challenge of owning the business?
I am a creative person, so the numbers and strategy part has always been a side of the business that overwhelms me. BOTORI was originally started as a partnership, with me focusing on design/marketing, and my partner focusing on the business side. Within the first year I bought her out and took on all aspects of the business.Yikes! The big picture has definitely paralyzed me at times. But I have tapped into the incredible equestrian small business network for the expertise that I lacked. I’ve allowed myself to be open to feedback to grow and improve BOTORI. There are so many groups to turn to for education, advice, and support on a broad range of topics - I enjoyed being a part of the Equestrian Workshop group and that's actually how I was first introduced to Dapplebay!
What is some advice you would give to entrepreneurs?
There is a saying in our family: “Be proud of who you are, what you say, and what you do”.
For your brand, product, or service to be successful it’s important for it to be something that you truly believe in. There is rarely a day that I’m not wearing something from BOTORI because I love the way it fits and feels, and I am also proud of its quality and ethical manufacturing.
Being an entrepreneur can be exciting and terrifying, but if you stay true to yourself, you can always find your footing during the ups and downs. For example, the first round of our Riley Technical Top was a quarter zip simply because it seemed like a “must have” for an equestrian brand. As soon as I tried on the sample, I knew that it was not me, so it was not BOTORI. Going back to the drawing board put production weeks behind, but the redesign evolved into a technical top more unique, flattering, and functional than it started. And I love it!
Tell us about some fun things customers can expect to see in 2022.
Late fall 2022 will include three new colors of the Andi tights, a much-awaited restock of breeches, and new PJ tights with matching crop tops. There may even be some saddle pads ready in time for holiday shopping!
PJ was kind enough to make a special discount code for DB fans...use code DAPPLEBAY for 10% off! You won't regret it...BOTORI are my favorite riding pants! I reach for them over and over again, whether I'm just lounging around the house or headed out for a ride.