You don’t ask a woman her age, so let’s just say that Suzi Drnec has been selling customized western apparel since she was in junior high school. She eventually went on to create her own line of western clothing called Ready to Win, which she sells in her Hobby Horse Clothing Co. catalog.
Drnec launched the catalog in 1991 as a 16-page book; today it runs 32 pages. But many other aspects of the Chino, CA-based cataloger remain the same. Drnec still designs all of the clothing, and her husband still designs the catalog. They both handle fulfillment and customer service, along with 12 employees.
The goal of the company, says Drnec, is to provide affordable options for hobbyists who participate in horse shows and rodeos. Drnec started out selling to dealers, but the company now puts out a consumer version of the catalog as well as a wholesale book. To find consumer prospects, Hobby Horse trades names with equine magazines. And of course, word of mouth bolsters sales as well. “People tend to undervalue niche markets,” Drnec says, “but we don’t need research to tell us that serious hobby buyers are repeat and loyal buyers.”
The catalog is mailed annually prior to the primary horse show season, which runs from spring to early summer. A supplement is mailed to keep the company’s name fresh in customers’ minds during the off-season. To further increase its reach, Hobby Horse Clothing has been on the Web since 1994. The Website includes a dealer locator because “we don’t care where the sale comes from,” Drnec says. “We just want customers buying our products and excelling at the shows.”
Hobby Horse Clothing Co.
Based in: Chino, CA
Annual sales: $2.5 million
Trim size: 8-1/2″ × 11″