We got the pleasure of chatting with Taylor (17), a young entrepreneur and equestrian, about her successful business, Three Ring Belts. Keep reading to learn how she started her business, what it means to her and within the community, and what’s on the horizon.
1. What is Three Ring Belts and why are the products different from others on the market?
Taylor’s main goal in creating Three Ring Belts was to offer comfortable, stylish, adjustable belts at an affordable price. Although she acknowledges that there are other similar products on the market, she offers the same quality (she even hand-makes each belt herself) but at a fraction of the price. Horseback riding is an expensive sport, and it’s hard to afford the basics, let alone accessories, so her hope was to provide products to help equestrians feel confident and be able to keep up with the trends without breaking their bank accounts. As opposed to similar products offered at more than double her price, Three Ring Belts are reasonable to put on a holiday or birthday wishlist and kids can even save up to buy them for themselves.
2. What is Taylor’s history with horses and what significance do they carry in her life?
Taylor’s mom grew up riding and had always hoped that her little girl would get pony fever, but Taylor just wasn’t interested. Then, she read an inspiring book that sparked her interest in horses. She took her first riding lesson in June of 2018 and she was hooked immediately. Taylor’s parents were willing to help her pay for her riding, but it wasn’t handed to her. She had to earn her own money and fund her extra lessons when she wanted to start riding more and more. Eventually, she had the opportunity to start leasing her horse, Cheese, who she’s been riding for two years. She has loved watching him progress and grow from age six to eight and is excited for their future together. Her love of horses has taught her about commitment, accountability, and hard work, and it has inspired business ventures throughout her life.
3. What’s the origin story for Three Ring Belts? What was the inspiration?
Before TRB, Taylor had been paying for her riding with profits from a different business that she’d started. In the summer of 2021, when things weren’t working out with the business, she needed to figure something else out, especially because she was hoping to start showing!
Taylor remembered shopping for an elastic riding belt and opting out because of the price. She wasn’t going to overpay for a simple belt that she could make herself, she thought. Using her sewing skills that she’d learned from her grandma, Taylor bought supplies and made four elastic belts for the price of the one she had been looking at. Her friends loved the belts and pretty soon, everyone around her was asking to buy them off of her. She was excited, but didn’t want to embark on turning this into a business if she only had a small local market. She made a TikTok video explaining her business idea, and more than 40,000 people expressed an interest…that seemed like a good enough start!
She had to pick a name for her business before she could make a website. In the hunter-jumper equestrian world, the three rings are hunters, jumpers, and equitation. Taylor hopes that riders in any ring would want to wear her belts. Furthermore, she hopes any rider of any discipline will love her products. She says she even knows people who wear them for fashion and not for riding at all! Ultimately, the name represents inclusivity. She carries products that are wanted by all and can be worn by all with her attainable price point and size-adjustable style.
Taylor’s belts were an instant success. Her first drop of 85 belts sold out locally before she could even put them on her website. The next drop of 300 belts sold out quickly, too, and people had an opportunity to buy them online this time. Seeing the demand, she made 800 belts for her next drop and 500 of them sold in the first 36 hours. At only age 14, Taylor was keeping up with riding and schoolwork AND sewing hundreds of belts and managing their sales.
4. How has the business changed since its inception?
Overall, the business has grown a lot, not simply in sales, but in styles and options. Taylor now offers colored buckles, several buckle shapes, different elastic widths, and many more color combinations.
The social media presence of Three Ring Belts has also evolved. Taylor has invested a lot of resources into creating content to keep her followers engaged. The Instagram and TikTok now have weekly (or sometimes more frequent) posts with amazing photo and video quality. Taylor knows how important social media is nowadays for businesses and she has learned that posting content consistently and interacting with her audience are keys to continued success.
5. What were some challenges and learning moments from running the business?
Taylor had learned a lot from her previous businesses, which gave her a solid foundation to start from. Right off the bat, she knew she wanted to use a drop and restock structure, because she thought people shopped better that way. Marketing and social media are what she’s had the biggest learning curve with. She paid attention to social media algorithms and played to those to increase her audience.
She remembered when she used to post about receiving supplies to make more belts and people got impatient waiting for her to drop her products on the website. After constant pressure, Taylor became overwhelmed and took some time off from her business. After a few months off, she came back with a new game plan. She learned that she should wait until she has her products ready to go before she gives her followers any sneak peaks or hints of a restock. Taylor had to learn to manage boundaries with her audience to keep the pressure manageable, especially since she is a full time student and athlete.
6. Who or what was the most helpful in running Three Ring Belts?
Taylor is really thankful for her relationship with God and her Christian background. Her faith and spirituality have been a huge part of being a young entrepreneur. She turns to God for guidance in managing frustration and disappointment throughout her business responsibilities and her relationship with God helps her understand that everything thrown her way is all part of a bigger plan. She is comforted to know that wherever she’s at, it’s where she’s supposed to be.
Another element of the business that has helped to motivate her is the response from her customers. She loves to see the excitement from her followers when she drops more products and she enjoys seeing people happily enjoying their belts in her community and online.
7. What is Taylor’s favorite belt right now?
Taylor has two favorites! She loves the 2 inch, sparkly, black elastic with the bit buckle, which is an underrated belt in her opinion. She thinks it’s neutral enough for colorful clothing, but is still fun on its own! She also loves the 2 inch, white cheetah print elastic with the black circle buckle!
8. What about Three Ring Belts makes Taylor the most proud?
Taylor is proud of the way that she had a vision that she stuck with. She has not only seen immense growth in the business, but she has also been dedicated to the mission behind her business, which is to create a product that’s within reach for anyone. She is also really proud that the profits and success that fund her riding career didn’t come to her by charging outlandish prices.
9. What does the future look like for Three Ring Belts?
In 2023, Taylor has two major goals, the first of which is to keep up the social media.She has already taken steps in the right direction by purchasing a new, high-definition camera, which she’s been taking to barns and horse shows to shoot content as much as possible. She intends to post three reels or photos per week on her social media pages with hopes of driving more customers to her website. She also is working on creative ways to make her belts the center focus of the content she posts. When you look at a person’s outfit, it’s not often that the belt is the first thing you look at, but Taylor is going to make her beautiful belts the center focus. Another goal of hers is to sell more at horse shows. She loves seeing customers face-to-face and believes that direct contact adds another dimension to her business.
Beyond this upcoming year, Taylor has some big decisions to make. She plans to go to college in 2024. She’s not sure if she will continue to run Three Ring Belts when she moves on to that next chapter of her life. Taylor sacrificed a lot of high school experiences to manage her business, and while she doesn’t regret that, she wants to really dive into college life when the time comes. She does think, however, that the business is efficient and she could reasonably still sew at college if she wishes to, but it would be less of a priority than it is now. She wants the brand to keep going, so she would hope to sell it if she can’t fit it into her college schedule and let someone else take the reins.
10. Is there anything else we should know about Three Ring Belts?
She recently added affordable belt hangers to her website and she thinks you should check them out!