Coupling Bespoke Craftsmanship With Technical Innovation for Equestrian Sport:  Fashion Designer Annette Wallander

Coupling Bespoke Craftsmanship With Technical Innovation for Equestrian Sport: Fashion Designer Annette Wallander

July 22, 2019

Modern Artisan 

Fashion Designer: Annette Wallander

Name of Company:  Annette Ellen Designs

Equestrian Lines: 

The Interview

SS: You graduated with a Fashion Merchandising and Business degree and worked for major retail organizations with an expertise in buying, merchandise management and sales management.

How has your background with major retail organizations prepared you to expand your product line from “made-to-measure” hunt coats & shadbellies to producing “semi-custom” and ready-to-wear coats? 

AW: My background working with major retail organizations for 15 years before starting my company/brand has helped me in many ways, here are some of the them: 

    • Leadership Skills: It has helped me work with cross-functional groups/teams to achieve goals and to lead business initiatives. 
    • Selling and Customer Service: I learned best practices for retail sales and the importance and skill of providing outstanding customer service. 
    • Manufacturing: Gained experience working with and building relationships with factory management and personnel. This has been very important. I can create the best designs, but if I do not have the support and team to make them it doesn’t matter. 
    • Designing: Designing has always come natural to me, but working with large organizations helped me to understand and appreciate the entire process that must happen to take a product from conception to the end customer. 
    • Resourcefulness: Learned to think “outside the box” to build and grow the businesses I worked for. 

    SS:  Can you explain the unique attributes of the Annette Wallander Equestrian (AWE) semi-custom show coats and what makes your line unique different from other off-the-rack coats in the marketplace?

    AW: The unique features of the AWE show coats are the fabric, style, fit and semi-custom capability. The innovative fabric features a premium stretch that is resilient, but looks like a tailored wool jacket. It is very comfortable to compete in and machine washes beautifully. The style is a sophisticated classic tailored style which is pretty unique among the current coat selection available today. The coat fits well and is figure flattering on ladies of all age groups. 

    We also have a private label semi-custom version of the Annette Wallander Equestrian (AWE) coat with a custom ribbon collar feature (Boy-O-Boy ribbon) that is sold exclusively through Somerset Equestrian Trading, as a collaboration between the three brands: Boy-O-Boy Bridleworks, Annette Wallander Equestrian and Somerset Equestrian Trading. 

    AWE Semi-Custom Coat trimmed with Boy-O-Boy Bridleworks hand finished ribbon design.

    SS: How has the assistance of Somerset Equestrian Trading Company helped you expand into the competitive equestrian? 

    AW: Working with Somerset Equestrian Trading has been very helpful because of their knowledge and vast long-time relationships in the equestrian industry. It has helped me to focus on designing and not marketing (other than going to shows to sell my products and help get brand exposure). Marketing is not my area of expertise and I definitely need this type of service to build my brand. 

    {Meet the founder of Somerset Equestrian Trading, Susan Benson, as featured in Street to Stable®

    SS: Annette Ellen Fashion Designs is a stylish collection of women’s fashions with an equestrian flair that was founded over twenty years ago. Can you tell us more about this lifestyle label?

    AW: I founded my company 20 years ago when I designed, sold and manufactured women’s custom apparel, mostly dresses and suits.  A year ago I started the women’s ready-to-wear fashion apparel with an equestrian flair. The fashion is a classic elegant style that can fit many women’s figures. It is made in a high-quality fabric that is custom printed with various sophisticated equestrian theme prints. All of these fashion designs are made in the USA and I sell them at horse shows, on the Annette Ellen Designs website and through Somerset Equestrian Trading.

     

    "Pretty Horse Dress" 
    the versatile, flattering & machine washable

    Five years ago, I started to design custom show coats and shadbellies and sell them at horse shows.  A year ago, I met Susan with Somerset Equestrian Trading and we started working together to build the Annette Wallander Equestrian (AWE) ready-to-wear wholesale coat brand. 

    SS:  What is the most important advice you would like to share with individuals considering a career in the equestrian fashion industry. 

    AW:  If someone wants to start a brand in the equestrian fashion industry, I recommend they get the proper education and work experience with a company first. I also think it’s very important to be passionate, patient and persistent. Passion for work enjoyment and to help get thru the tough times. Patience because it usually takes longer and requires more resources than what we think it will take to be successful. Persistent because not everyone will open their door to your initiatives, so... you have to try, try and try again. 

    PURCHASE/ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

    RETAIL: 

    Online: Annette Ellen Designs 

    Somerset Equestrian Trading Pop-UP at the Princeton Show Jumping Series  

    July 24-28

    • Princeton Summer Classic
    • A Hunters, Equitation, Jumpers

    July 30- August 4

    • Princeton Classic Finale
    • AA Hunters, Equitation, Jumpers 

    WHOLESALE INQUIRIES, PLEASE CONTACT SOMERSET EQUESTRIAN TRADING:

    Online: Somerset Equestrian Trading 

    Trade Show:  

    Meet Annette Wallander 

    Annette’s passion for fashion had her designing from a young age.  She graduated with a Fashion Merchandising and Business degree and worked for major retail organizations, with an expertise in Buying, Merchandise Management and Sales Management.

    In 1997 she began the journey to revolutionize the women’s apparel industry using  technology solutions for her women’s custom made-to-measure fashion business located in Cincinnati, OH.  She started the business under the name The Garment District and in 2005 changed the name to Annette Ellen Designs to better reflect her personalized fashion brand.  

    Annette relocated to the Jacksonville, FL area in 2012 and began a new venture to reposition her business to include both of her passions - fashion and equestrian. She started designing and selling custom equestrian show jackets and her women’s fashion line at equestrian shows and created an online store for her fashion and equestrian collections.  

    Annette relocated to the Jacksonville, FL area in 2012 and began a new venture to reposition her business to include both of her passions - fashion and equestrian. She started designing and selling custom equestrian show jackets and her women’s fashion line at equestrian shows and created an online store for her fashion and equestrian collections.  

    The AWE (Annette Wallander Equestrian) brand was created in 2018 which includes ready-to-wear equestrian show jackets that are sold at equestrian shows and online. With the partnership of the sales and branding company, Somerset Equestrian Trading, the AWE show jackets will also be available at fine tack shops around the country.



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