I’m not a “couture” kind of rider. I’m not going out and spending $800 on a Samshield or $1,500 on custom dressage boots. I’m not schooling in $300 Pikeurs or showing in a $1000 Animo coat. I don’t have that kind of budget (but don’t we all wish we did!). I’ll happily drop several grand on a high quality saddle that will last me years or spend hundreds of dollars on grooming products, horse treats and leather cleaner. When it comes to dressing myself, I’d rather spend my money on hard wearing breeches I can ride in until they fall apart. If those hard wearing breeches also happen to be a beautiful color or have interesting details, I’m all for it. I am constantly on the look out for riding clothing that fits well, rides comfortably, looks fresh and is reasonable on the pocketbook (which is a bigger challenge that it should be). When I happened upon Tottie, UK my first thought was…”Finally some company gets it.” And that was before I actually tried the products. The prices are reasonable, the color palettes are cool, the cut of the clothing looks practical, and the little details look to add function, rather than just style. I’m pleased to present this spotlight on Tottie and their Ecommerce Manager Sami Dabek!
My official title is Ecommerce Manager, but my role covers so much more than running the website and social media platforms. I work with our designers to create the product ranges; recruit our brand ambassadors, take the brand to various shows and events and I even get involved with photo-shoots!
What year did Tottie open? What was the inspiration behind the brand?
Tottie was relaunched in 2015, historically it had been a Polo brand but we saw a unique opportunity to relaunch to target fashionable young women. Our mantra is to create fashion that functions. We are influenced and inspired by the catwalk and the latest seasonal trends, but create our products from carefully considered technical materials, for comfort and durability.
What makes Tottie products different than other products on the market?
With Tottie you can Wear it. Ride it. Live it. You’ll never be embarrassed to head to the shops
or meet your friends on the way home from the yard. Our range is versatile and multipurpose, our base layers are ideal for any outdoor activities and our Endurance Jodhpurs are perfect for running or hitting the gym.
For me it’s the colour options. We’re bored with beige; there shouldn’t be a limited colour palette in equestrian fashion (and I very much agree!).
What is the design process like? How many designs do you go through before deciding on what to produce. How do you select your fabulous colors?
First we start by preparing a mood board of colours, materials and textures that are on trend that particular season. We then put together a list of products we’d like to add to the range, based on sales data and feedback from our brand ambassadors and target audience. The design team then work on multiple designs for each product. We feedback and refine these a number of times, checking with our focus groups as we go, before finally selecting a range for production.
A typical day would include monitoring the website and making sure that the social media channels are always up to date. The most rewarding part of my job is to read positive customer feedback and to hear that people love our products. More challenging parts of the job are growing the brand in the UK and internationally and making sure new ranges launch on time. This is where all the teams have to come together and there’s a lot that needs to be done in a short space of time!
Do you have any plans to distribute Tottie in the United States? I think there’s a big market for you here.
Yes! We’re currently on the lookout for a distributor in the US, we think our products would be well received and we can’t wait to get started! Our International Sales Director has taken a couple of trips so it’s definitely in the pipeline.
How have horses inspired you?
I’ve always loved horses but I don’t actually ride, I was asked to join the team at Tottie to relaunch the brand, as it’s something I had previous experience in. Since joining the team I have had a few lessons though. I have enjoyed spending more time with horses and learning all about their personalities.
In 5 years I see Tottie as an international equestrian fashion brand, retailing online and in stores across the world. Our loyal customer base will continue to grow and I think our product range will also continue to expand, I think our horse products in particular are very strong and we should develop this offering.
For us the Tottie girl is the girl next door. She’s confident, caring and she loves her horse and looking good.
Tottie is clearly inspired by modern athletic wear. As popular as athleisure is right now, why do you think it is that there are not many brands focusing on the “sport” aspect of equestrian?
I think the main reason is that brand focus tends to be on the fashion aspect of the clothing, with all the glossy magazines and rise of the selfie, there’s increasing pressure to look good. I think the practical properties are often forgotten.
Do you have any other products that you would like to add to the Tottie line?
We’re introducing some water resistant breeches for winter which will be amazing! I’d also like to add some pyjamas with some cheeky slogans on and some more horse products such as fly veils and boots.
What is your favorite product(s)?
As a non-rider I cannot live without the Swithun Base Layer! It’s perfect for wearing under a t-shirt when going to watch a Football game or for staying cozy in winter. It also looks smart on its own or with a gilet in the spring. I also love the legwear; the breeches are flattering and incredibly comfy.
To learn more about Tottie or purchase their products please visit their website. US shipping is a little rough at the moment, but as Sami mentioned, a US distributor is going to happen! It’s just a matter of when. I’ll be reviewing the Queenswood Knee-Grip Breeches and Maven Zip Polo in a future article, so be on the lookout.