This week, we introduce Lauren Garvey of The TackHack, a premier online destination for “prix-loved” and discounted riding tack and apparel. Lauren grew up riding at a young age, and her business is really a result of seeing a gap between her longtime love for horses and affordability of the sport. Thus, The TackHack was born. Everyone, meet Lauren!
More about Lauren:
Lauren rode in the Pony Hunters and made her way up to the Junior Hunter divisions up until she left for college. She only just recently returned to the sport! "I actually recently started riding again after fifteen LONG years away from the sport. It had always been my goal to work hard in order to be able to afford the sport again. It just took a lot longer than I had imagined!"
Lauren made her way through law school, but after some time, decided that litigation was just not for her. "I’m super analytical and love research, so there were aspects of the work that I enjoyed, but I’m also creative and social and practicing law just didn’t speak to those parts of myself." So, how did she go from practicing law to creating The TackHack? Well, after reassessing her career paths, Lauren made the decision to switch gears to get her MBA, ultimately graduating from the University of Michigan's MBA program. "I don’t think an MBA is for everyone, and you certainly don’t need an MBA to be successful, but that experience and that community of people absolutely changed my life and gave me the confidence to strike out on my own and create a business."
Ok - pause - at this point in her story, Lauren hasn't even gotten to The TackHack and we're already seriously impressed at her tenacity and drive! Moving on...
The TackHack Story
"I hadn’t planned on starting a company so soon after graduation, but when I started riding again I was blown away by the cost of updating all of my circa early 2000’s riding gear," Lauren said. "I asked one of my new riding girlfriends what the “hack” was for finding great discounted tack and apparel, and she basically told me that there wasn’t one apart from eBay. I had just read an article about The RealReal and ThredUP’s business model and the numbers they were posting and was intrigued. I did some industry market research and was excited enough to go all in and build a business around the idea of making it easy for people to sell and buy luxury equestrian goods online." And that is how The TackHack was born!
Advice for Equestrians Starting a Business
And as for advice to other equestrians thinking of starting their own business, Lauren has plenty of wise words to share there as well involving being confident in your research and to continue studying from podcasts and books. "I think that one of the most empowering things I learned in my entrepreneurship course at school was that a lot the projections you seen in a business plan are just that – informed projections. Don’t get psyched out by feeling like you need to be 100% certain about the numbers in order to come up with a business plan. When you’re building your business case, it’s okay to make some assumptions about the numbers. These assumptions just have to be informed by research. So for example, maybe you don’t know the exact number of hunter/jumper riders in the country at a given time. There are enough resources out there that you can back into an estimated market size or estimated costs. Investors want to see that you’ve done your research and that you have intelligent, research-based responses to their questions. So don’t let a lack of certainty get in the way of getting started.
Also, I’m obsessed with podcasts and learn SO much from listening to them. Some favorites include Masters of Scale, How I Built This, and Well Made. It helps to be reminded that every well-known company started from the bottom.
Finally, there’s a great book called The Launch Lens by Jim Price. He was my entrepreneurship professor at Michigan and wrote the book to help entrepreneurs create some structure around the process of ideating, designing and building their business. I found it really helpful, especially since a lot of this work can be kind of abstract."
What Brings Us All Together
To conclude, we finish up with my own personal favorite part of this interview. We asked Lauren what her biggest life lesson was from horses, and she had a brilliant response: "I don’t know if I would even call it a lesson, but horses taught me what joy and passion feel like on a gut level. Have you ever looked at the self-help section of a bookstore? There are literally books out there that were written to help people identify what they’re passionate about. A lot of people genuinely don’t know! As equestrians, we’re all super lucky to know what it feels like to love something so much that you would literally do whatever it takes to keep doing that thing. It’s easy to take for granted, but also what fuels the mission for this business. I want to help make it easier for people to keep pursuing their passion. That feels like something worth working for. "
I want to help make it easier for people to keep pursuing their passion. That feels like something worth working for.
Big thanks to Lauren for taking the time to chat with us! If you haven't already checked out The TackHack, we highly recommend it! They have a number of services and products listed in our marketplace as well, including consignment services, women's Winston Riding Breeches and even a Butet Practice Saddle. Give The TackHack a look for your equestrian needs at an affordable cost!