Reflecting on Stacey Small’s story and the incredible things she accomplished to get where she is today always puts a big grin on my face. This gal forged a path no one else had traveled before her with eyes set on making life better for the horse as she created her horse career. Like so many successful entrepreneurs, she wound up improving the quality of life for not only the horses she touched, but also the many people involved along the way including employees, vendors, customers, associates and want-to-be equestrian providers. Anyone lucky enough to enjoy a conversation with this gal could learn vast amounts about business savvy, creative solutions and humility.
After graduating from the University of Michigan with a degree in Graphic Design, she landed in New York City with a job at a design firm. That early education served her well as she unexpectedly went back to school to study the medicinal effects of herbs and then launched a company that was so successful with the products it produced and following it developed that she was bought out by Arenus, where she now serves as a consultant.
Inventing Your Horse Career with manufacturing in the mix
Stacey says it so well; perhaps it’s best to turn the reins over to her, so to speak. Below are some snippets from the full hour audio CD included in the Inventing Your Horse Career series. Her interview was a delight and an education for all involved. She tells the story of her challenges and solutions in manufacturing products that had no precursor, shares tips, resources and marketing genius, offers suggestions for individuals considering an equine career that involves manufacturing product, provides ideas on how to best build an effective network and more.
“The primary reason I ever ended up developing products was really to service the needs of the animals. I was finding that they had certain needs in working with the different vets at the racetracks back in the late 80s. There were holes in the products that were available in the marketplace at the time. And they challenged me, they (the vets) said, ‘You’re not a vet. You cannot practice acupuncture. Eighty percent of Chinese medicine is really the herbs. We don’t have time to study the herbs, so put yourself in school.’ And I said, ‘Sure, why not? I’ll try it.’ And the light bulb went off as soon as I hit the class because I realized it makes so much sense. Horses are herbivores. They’re meant to be eating plants. I realized that they’re subject to a lot of the fast food regimes and high-paced lifestyles that we as people have become accustomed to. So I wanted to bring back some normalcy to their domestication. So the product started evolving through the studies and the communications with the vets and what the animals were actually seeking for to rebalance themselves.”
Just in case you’re wondering, Stacey is the founder of Equilite and the creator of Sore No More Liniment® (voted produce o the year two times by The Horse Journal) and is also co-publisher of the Holistic Horse™ Magazine. She was inventing holistic products and natural solution ideas for horses before this was even part of the progressive, let alone mainstream, equine community conversation.
Interestingly, Stacey kind of stumbled into the career that has dramatically shaped the past two decades of her life. “If you asked me twenty years ago if I was ever going to be involved in manufacturing, I probably would have looked at you cross-eyed,” she admits. “It wasn’t the original intent at all. But I allowed the communication and the requests I was getting and the inquiries from multiple sources to kind of formulate a direction and I explored it. And that’s how I actually ended up developing the products.”
Holistic horse products started with Stacey Small
Stacey Small’s role in helping to introduce a larger equine community to more natural practices and products is undeniable. Anyone who has discovered the effectiveness of holistic solutions where horse care is concerned owes her a debt of gratitude. Even if you’ve yet to explore this new herbal world, her story is priceless.
If you’ve ever thought about introducing something new to the horse industry – or venturing into the manufacturing realm – what Stacey shares and the models she offers are amazing. Often, the best way to improve your chances of horse career success is to learn from those who have done it well before you. Stacey didn’t have that option when she launched her idea, but she culls from the knowledge and support of fellow entrepreneurs in the equine field constantly today. Even as an established, respected and profitable inventor, she recognizes the value of learning from others and the importance of collaboration through a support team. Why not consider the incredible opportunity available to you in learning from some of the seasoned ideas and lessons learned Stacey offers in the Inventing Your Horse Career CD series?