Sunday, January 13, 2013

Deux Chevaux is De Rigueur

New York and Wellington-based Cara Walinsky has hit a home run with her equestrian-related products company, Deux Chevaux.  I first mentioned the company in 2011, shortly after it was founded (you can read the blog post here).  The company continues to do well, despite the rough economy (which speaks wonders about the company and its products).

I was curious though about how the company came to be so I asked Cara about it. 

Cara is a bright woman who attended Brown and Yale B-School.  After moving to Washington for work where she was in marketing, traveling much of the time, she took an exit when her company went public in 2002.  She had always wanted to start her own business and the timing seemed right but there is another side to this story.

Like many of us who once rode horses and then got sidetracked with careers, Cara started riding again as an adult (after a successful stint as a junior).  "You should monetize what you love," she says, so Cara aimed at finding a way to combine work with horses which did not include mucking stalls or catering to other riders to make ends meet. Her sites were much higher than that.

Her company name came first and then her candles.  She came up with the design, the names, and tested every scent ad nauseum, much to the chagrin of her manufacturer.  She is indeed a perfectionist which makes her products so good.  And I love the scents (apple, hay field, mash, graze and starlight).  I have the "tack" candle in my powder room and it makes it subtly smell like new leather.  Her other scents are just as heavenly and unlike most candles, hers really smell and the smell seems to linger.  So, yes, they are worth the price!  All of her products are manufactured in the U.S., a real rarity these days. 

Then came the belts. 

Her bracelets are simply lovely and are a twist on Hermes at a mere fraction of the cost. She has a friend in upstate New York who paints the bracelets by hand so they are one-of-a-kind. 

Her newest foray is into handbags.  She linked up with a lady who sources actual vintage feedbags in Europe for some of her products. Cara inspects every product herself.

Some of her next products may include cashmere. 

Deux Chevaux has received great press and has been mentioned in Virginia Living, Etc., Cowgirl Magazine among others. The products are sold on its website and at some retailers (a list of current retailers is on the site).

Cara's adventure is a great tale of work combining with pleasure; finding something that you really love to do and living a life that allows you to work and play. Isn't it refreshing to see that you can do both in this day and age?  It takes some ingenuity, which Cara clearly has, but also passion, drive and hard work.  And I have to add that Cara is still riding!  She hopes to campaign one of her horses that just came back off lease this winter at WEF.  We will be cheering for you!

If you have not seen the products at Deux Chevaux, you can visit the website here

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