46: Embracing Inclusivity in Your Animal Based Business
It is crucial to the success and longevity of animal, pet and equine-based businesses (and it’s just the right thing to do) that you don’t just showcase diversity, but that you increase the inclusivity of voices that are different from your own in all aspects of your business. On this week’s episode of The Business Animal, Kim and Cara chat with self-proclaimed serial entrepreneur, Shelly Watts of Muirneen. Shelly shares some of the crucial steps that she took, tough decisions she made, and lets us in on some of the hard conversations she undertook when developing her equine business’s mission and the products that followed. Join us for this episode!
Our Big 3 Takeaways
It’s important to show up as who you are — don’t try to fake diversity, it doesn’t work.
Listen to people with other points of view
Truly take an interest in those you serve. Talk to people who have different experiences. Ask them how they feel in your industry. Listen carefully to the responses to build good will and trust.
Include People Different from You in Your Brand
You don’t have to be the representation black indiginous person of color (bipoc) to expand your brand to include all equestrians
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Shelly Watts is the founder of Muirneen — an equestrian clothing company that equips riders with ethically-made apparel and celebrates diversity and size inclusivity. She comes from an immigrant family and married a Navy veteran. Shelly and her daughter take dressage lessons at Fox Pointe Equestrian Center in Michigan. She feels most at home at the barn and most at peace when riding horses.
Shelly’s company is named after her forever horse and OTTB Muirneen. She started her clothing line to create breeches made in the USA and support living-wage jobs. Muirneen is the official apparel sponsor for the USA Pentathlon Team through the 2024 Paris Olympics. She outfits riding teams, pony clubs, and individual riders, including Grand Prix and Olympic-level equestrians. Her favorite movie, which she watches on repeat, is Secretariat.
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Transcripts are autogenerated and may contain typographical and grammar errors. This transcript is copyright©2021 Kimberly Beer and Cara Taylor Swift. DO NOT COPY in whole or part without written permission.
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Kimberly Beer 0:00
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Why Welcome to The Business Animal podcast. Settle up for a gallop to the top of the animal industry, where you’ll learn how to tame your wild business beast with tips, techniques, and tools that will take overwhelm to obedience school, and have you wagging your tail with joy. And now your hosts, Kim Beer, and Cara Taylor Swift.
Kimberly Beer 0:41
Hey there business animals, it’s Kim with Be More Business
Cara Taylor Swift 0:44
and Cara with Fast Horse Photography.
Kimberly Beer 0:47
And we have a wonderful guest for you here today. And the topic that we’re going to be discussing is going to be pretty important. I know it’s near and dear to both Cara and I’s hearts. And that is embracing inclusivity in your animal based business. Now, we’re not just talking about kind of the token aspect of that we’re talking about truly embracing inclusivity. Right, Cara?
Cara Taylor Swift 1:12
Absolutely. I think one of the things that I think about when I think about this topic is that we’re either talking about diversity, but we’re also talking about inclusivity. So it’s really important in animal based business, that we don’t just showcase diversity in our business, but that we actually increase the inclusivity across the board. So what does that mean? Right? So that to me, and you know, we’re going to have a little conversation about that. But to me, that’s more than just showing images of people in your product that are diverse. It’s more about what hopefully Shelly’s going to talk about today, the work that she’s done with her company, is it’s going out and talking to people and learning about people that maybe are a little different from you, and finding out how your product can fit their needs and how they can see themselves as an active part of your business and an active part of your community that you’re trying to create with your brand. So I think with that being said, Kim, if it’s okay with you, I really want to introduce our guest today.
Kimberly Beer 2:07
You bet go right ahead.
Cara Taylor Swift 2:08
Okay, you guys. So first of all, we are super excited to welcome Shelley Watts to our show today I found Shelly, was it through the it was through HP that I found you it was okay. So I found Shelly and I immediately went to her website. And I fell in love quickly. First of all, the better than breeches look amazing. Secondly, I was just drawn in by your imagery that’s on your website and your mission. I fell in love with the fact that your clothing that you work hard to make sure that your clothing is it made in the United States that you are paying a living wage to employees, and that you are valuing diversity and inclusivity in your business, and that you’ve taken some concrete steps to make that part of your business’s mission. So can you tell us a little bit about your Oh, hold on. Before we do that? Let me let me read your bio real quick. I want to make sure folks know who we’re talking to here. So you guys, I’m so excited to introduce you to our guest today. Shelley watts, she’s the founder of Muirneen. Did I say it right? Okay. She’s the founder of Muirneen and equestrian clothing company that equips riders with ethically made apparel and celebrates diversity in size inclusivity. She comes from an immigrant family and married a Navy veteran. Thank you for your service, and Shelly and her daughter take dressage lessons at Fox Point Equestrian Center in Michigan. She feels most at home at the barn, and most at peace when riding horses. Shelly’s company is named after her forever horse and off the track thoroughbred Muirneed. She started her clothing line to create breeches made in the USA and support living wage jobs. Muirneen is the official apparel sponsor for the USA Pentathalon through the 2024 Paris Olympics, she outfits Writing teams, Pony clubs and individual writers including Grand Prix and Olympic level equestrians. Her favorite movie, which she watches on repeat is Secretariat. I’m right there with you, girl.
Shelly Watts 4:11
I actually watched it last night too. So, you know, my husband has to work late, I just pop that movie on. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing. I can just get sucked right into the story.
Cara Taylor Swift 4:23
That is fantastic. Well, welcome to the show. We’re so excited to have you here. Thank you for joining us. And we’d love for you to first of all, tell us about your company how you got started in what is so amazing about your company.
Shelly Watts 4:36
And so I have been a serial entrepreneur since my really, really early 20s. And so what I really knew about business and how to connect with people is being authentic, right? You don’t want to create a company that just out of happenstance or the desire to just have a company you actually want to create a company that you can really connect with deeply. And so being a serial entrepreneur, you have lots of ideas of what what’s going to be attractive in the market. But I just took me a long time to get to the point where I have an idea that combines my love for animals and horses, and also my my background, ethnicity, and my desire to just help the greater community. And so took a long time from my early 20s Till now, but that’s how Muirneen came about. And so I had ridden as a preteen, and I really, I liked it, but I didn’t fall in love with riding horses. And so it was one of those barns where you popped on and off a horse, they had it ready, you didn’t get it ready, you didn’t really connect with the animal. And so when I eventually fell off, after two years of riding, I just kind of like maybe this isn’t for me, this isn’t really what I I want to do, since it was just more of a hobby, not a love. And so kind of walked away from horseback riding did the whole, you know, get married career college thing. And then my eight year old daughter came to me and she said, Well, how about riding horses? Mama? Okay, I guess we can do that. And so I knew enough about it, where I felt like it was something we could bond over. And so we started riding horses together. And that was just such a fun experience to share that with my daughter. And we actually went to a barn where you had to tack up your horse untack your horse. And so you learn so much more about horsemanship, and how these creatures thought and work. And in my preteens, I didn’t know you could fall off a horse. That wasn’t anything in my and so I didn’t develop that perseverance of okay, I got to keep going at this. And so when we were shopping for clothing, and so of course, when you get into a new sport, you’re looking at all the newest trends and fashions and what do you buy. And so I noticed something very startling. And so I’ve been a runner for many years, completed several half marathons. And the running industry is definitely more diverse, you see a lot more imagery of people from different backgrounds, ethnicities, and races. And so I just assumed that that’s what would be what I encountered when I started shopping for equestrian apparel. And I was really disappointed. And so I would look through magazines, I would look at websites and clothing online sites, and I just had this radar that just kept going off that said, Why is there no one that looks like me, or even my friends, like, there’s just not a lot of diversity of people with tattoos, or people with disabilities, whatever the case may be, it was just very cookie cutter, the same image, the same type of face over and over. And so that kind of stuck with me. And I just kept that in the back of my mind. And, and so it wasn’t until I got my first horse, which is near Nene that started just kind of even considering more about what should I do about this, I met so many incredible equestrians in my time writing, that I just felt that nagging that I had to do something. And I thought to myself, well, if I started a clothing line, I could pick the models. And then I could actually introduce and showcase more of that diversity inclusion that I felt was really important. And so that’s kind of where we’re at led me in this really crazy journey. And as I was designing and looking at clothing and fabric, what I found also was something that was glaring, again, is that most of our clothing, not even equestrian clothing is made overseas. And so there, you’re not providing jobs here. It’s it’s just a very different experience because you want to support your local community. And so what what I decided was, I’m going to make everything in the United States, I’m going to make sure that the seamstresses that are making the clothing are going to make a living wage, and that was what happened and your name was born.
Cara Taylor Swift 9:12
Wow. That’s an incredible story. And it’s an it’s a brave story. I mean, it really is because I think that in any business and in small business, there’s a lot of fear wrapped up in like trying to have tough conversations to figure out how to be an inclusive company, you know, and, and maybe I’m just speaking from the perspective of, you know, a white woman, you know, and I mean, someone who identifies as a white woman, but I feel like as a business owner, there can be a lot of fear with that. And and I think that’s why Kim and I’d had this conversation. It’s like, we may not do it perfectly, but we want to have the conversations, even if they’re imperfectly done, like we hope to get somewhere with that as as business owners and as folks that are trying to be a voice for animal based businesses out there trying to make it. So thank you so much for the work that you’re doing and for sharing that story. And you mentioned something right at the top, which flows right into our big three. And the first thing, one of the very first things you said was how important it was for you to be authentic. And that is the first of our big three is Be authentic. And do you mind talking to us a little bit about what that means to you in terms of being a business owner?
Shelly Watts 10:21
Absolutely. It’s it’s not ignoring those nagging feelings that you get, right, it’s not going with the flow and just thinking that you’re just going to go along to get along, it’s really, as I encountered, the different times where there was this, that sinking nagging feeling, we’re gonna do something, right. That is where I wasn’t going to be like everyone else, I knew that, you know, you research everything about starting a clothing line, it’s all about margins, it’s all about making sure that your wholesale price is X number of your retail price, and that you got to get your cost down as low as possible. But what that means is that there’s a ripple effect on that. And that’s people, right, you can, you can go anywhere and find a $5 shirt. But if you look at the cost, to actually put that the fabric at the end of the day, the people that are losing are the ones making the clothing. And that’s for me was not acceptable. Because coming from an immigrant family, I think everyone should have a living wage, and not feel afraid to live each day and be able to support their families. And so I didn’t want to be a contributor to that. And I wanted to even if it’s starting small, and not having financial success, at first, I’m okay with that. Like I would rather help someone else as I’m growing, then take away from someone’s ability to make a living wage for themselves.
Cara Taylor Swift 11:52
Well, and I think that authenticity is something that I mean, your business is not a seasoned business, like you’re a fairly new business owner in this arena. I mean, even though you’re a serial entrepreneur, this business Muirneen is a newer business. And I think that one of the things that has propelled you so quickly, is that determination to be authentic, and to hold steadfast to the things that are important to you as a business owner, and as just a gosh, darn responsible human being, you know, in the environment that we live in right now. So I think that’s pretty incredible. And I think one of the things that can sometimes happen in small businesses is or in businesses in general is they skip that hard part, they kind of skip ahead and they think, Okay, well, there’s some easy bandaids that I can do to make my company feel more authentic and inclusive. And they start unfortunately, they fall into like a pattern of tokenism where they’re just maybe posting pictures of people of color, or people with disabilities or people that are just maybe diverse than their average clientele trying to get to that place. But the fact of the matter is, is that you actually have to step back and you have to really kind of dig deep and do that work along the way, you know, the inclusivity work, Kim feel free to jump in if you need to. But I think that kind of flows us into our big three. Number two,
Kimberly Beer 13:11
it does, and I want to talk about that specifically, because one of the things that I think Shelly has done in an outstanding way is she’s serving equestrians of size, and I happen to be one of those equestrians. And this is an interesting thought around really being able to provide something to an audience that hasn’t had that before. And I’ve browsed through Shelly’s website. And one of the things that I would like for her to talk about are some of the choices that she’s made. One of the choices is the size chart, where there’s names that are flattering, that go along with the clothing. And I want to say how much I appreciate that. I also want to appreciate the fact that when I go to look at clothing, that when I looked at the breeches, it was a plus size model wearing it, you know, there’s pictures of every different size of model on your website. So the plus size person can look at that and see it exactly. And just before we started on the interview, I was in a group with another plus size equestrian who I mentioned your business to and she’s like, I have looked everywhere for being able to find plus sized clothing. So tell me a little bit Shelly about your journey about understanding because you yourself are not a plus size girl and how did you embrace that so wonderfully and so fully in your branding and your marketing and also serving an audience that has a different set of needs.
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Shelly Watts 15:20
Yeah, absolutely. That’s a That’s a great question. And, and so so many things have kind of brought me to this point and really listening to others point of view of what they’re looking for. Because I kept hearing over and over, even though I am not plus size, and I’m not part of that beautiful community is that we can’t find clothes that fit us. We’re flattering, and no one’s really listening to us. We’re just unheard in this space. And so I kind of ventured and I was like, Okay, well, I guess I can step in that space. And it was such a journey. And it’s such an amazing journey, because I joined this fantastic group called the English Plus Sized Riders Group in Facebook, it has around 19,000 people and equestrians. And so I joined this group and started learning and listening and talked about what are you looking for? And I think what’s really interesting about our company, yes, we launched this year, and we’re a very new company, but we’re nimble, right, when you’re a small company, you can make changes on the fly, no one’s saying, well, that doesn’t sound great. And you’re just like, I couldn’t change it.
Cara Taylor Swift 16:31
You don’t have bureaucracy that you’ve got to wade through
Shelly Watts 16:34
the bureaucracy, right? You don’t have to like stop the presses stop the manufacturing and the big machines, it’s just having a conversation with your seamstresses and say, Hey, I think this would make more sense and feel better and be better for different types of writers, the plus size riders and whatever the case may be. And so I started listening to them. And the admins were so incredible, they would just, you know, I would post things and there are times where I just got hammered with negative comments, like, you know, who do you think you are? And what is what is this and they don’t, because a lot of times the the pictures there of regular people, you see my website, none of us are models, there are no professional models, it’s just us having fun taking pictures, in horse, people that love being around each other. And so people would post a great review about the breaches, but they would take a photo, maybe in their bedroom, or whatever the case may be, and, and maybe they didn’t get the angle, right. And so there be comments. And eventually, one of the admins just said, You know what, she is trying, and all of you, you know, making some of these negative, just not thoughtful kind comments, there’s going to be no one left to clothe you for your negativity, but she is really trying. And she wants to cater to this community and learn how to make things better. And I think people saw that they saw that authenticity, and that I was willing to listen to them to say, Oh, this isn’t working for you. Let’s figure out how to change it. And so we’ve made so many iterations based on that group’s feedback. And we even have a special version of the the breeches that’s named after that group. And it’s in a glittery black leg, right. And so it’s super fun. And people just loved it that just like, you make breeches all the way up to a 53 inch waist. That’s incredible. There’s a lot of companies that stop at 36, or maybe 40. Now, and so I just wanted to make sure that people felt as comfortable as I did in the pretest. Because I am not a professional seamstress I didn’t make I didn’t go to design school. I just know feels and fits right for me. And I wanted that feeling for everyone.
Kimberly Beer 18:55
Well I can tell you, you’ve done an outstanding job in how you present your product for women who don’t fit the stereotypical body mold of an equestrian female. And I absolutely love that. And I love that you listened. And you asked questions, and you didn’t leave the conversation when the conversation got hard, right. I think that’s one of the things that we want to impart to people today is that these conversations are important. They’re important to our evolution as a species. And that there, it’s not going to be easy. There are going to be hard conversations, there’s going to be pushback, there’s going to be a lot of audiences that haven’t been heard and don’t think that you’re here to listen, but you’re just here to take advantage. A lot of entrepreneurs would look at a Facebook group with 19,000 people in it and see an opportunity to make a lot of sales and instead of listening, they would just try to pander to that and I think that the audience that received that message You probably was, in that probably mindset of we’ve heard this before, is this person really legitimate? And I gotta gotta give you big kudos for showing up in an authentic way and not leaving the conversation when it got hard. Cara, do you have anything to add to that?
Cara Taylor Swift 20:17
Well, I just we have some talking points here that I think you covered pretty well. But I want to make sure that they’re clear. So our big three number two that we are getting to at this point is that it’s really important to listen to people with other points of view, you know, talk to people who have very different experiences from you, in your industry, or in the market that you’re attempting to, to reach. Ask them, how do you feel as a person in this industry? You know, what are the pain points for you? And how can I make something better for you, and being a small business owner, like you said, you are, you’re not having to cut through all of this red tape in order to make changes in your company. So if you’re getting feedback, that something has to change, you have the ability to make changes pretty quickly and actually make some people really freakin happy. You know, by being able to do that there are always things that people can tell you that you don’t know, you know, and being open to that and to listen to that, I think is huge. And it really does build that trust and goodwill to your potential consumers that are out there. So you know, you want to create raving fans, that’s something we talk about, you know, we’ve talked about on the show before, like, I feel like a great way to start doing that is to actually listen to people and listen to their points of view. And, you know, attempt to understand that. So thank you so much. Is there anything else you want to add to that?
Shelly Watts 21:30
Yeah, it was also a really fun, even though as discouraging as it was hearing some of the really harsh feedback. And sometimes it was just honestly, they’re just kind of careless with their words and decided to suppose something spur the moment. But then the people that came in rush to defend me, right, that we’re just so thankful that someone paid attention to them, talk with them. And I literally, for just months, I’ve just been going back and forth individually with many of these writers on a regular basis. And they’re just so stinking cute. They will, they’ll just send me pictures of like, hey, what do you think about this, it’s just amazing. They have just no care in the world, because they really want to help me make this company and the clothing better. And so one of the writers sent me the cutest picture. And she’s like, my husband thought, my butt great in these breeches of like what we’re looking for. Right? And so it’s just super fun, to have honest conversation. And so there’s not this veil between the company and the customers, I’m talking with them every single day, I’m getting a comment or a message where they just they just want to interact and sometimes they talk about their horses, sometimes we talk about their hardships, their loss and just being a human and just just knowing where people are at and just caring about them, you know, beyond sales beyond I am a terrible salesperson, right? I want people to feel good and inspire people to do good. And so that’s that’s who I am. But I’ll talk to you about your horse and your what’s going on in your life any day because that’s I truly care about them and just getting to know them as people and so it’s just been such a wild journey, but also, I’ve just met the most amazing incredible equestrians over this time that I wouldn’t give it away for anything.
Cara Taylor Swift 23:35
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Kimberly Beer 24:40
You know, I think that we all share that sentiment in this industry because I know Cara and I both love the people we work with. I work with mission-based entrepreneurs, many of which are in the animal industry in some form or capacity. I love my clients because I love their missions and I love what they do. bring to the world and this unique perspective. And so I totally agree, we get to have some of the best customers on the planet and building that relationship. We talk about this all of the time, or when we talk about marketing and building a company in that, what you really want to do is you want to aim to build that relationship with your clientele, because that’s the way that you’re going to launch yourself into bigger and better things. And I love that you’re a living breathing example of how that works in the real world. Because sometimes it feels to me like I’m talking to people, and they’re like, yeah, right, I’m just gonna buy the next Facebook ad and do what I’ve been doing it but that relationship building is so key. And so important,
Cara Taylor Swift 25:45
I was just gonna roll this into our third of our big three. And it’s pretty much what we’ve been talking about all along, but that you don’t have to be the representation of a black indigenous person of color to expand your brand to include all equestrians you can be who you are the person that you are in, still increase the inclusivity in your business. So can you speak a little bit to that?
Shelly Watts 26:08
Yeah, absolutely. Well, just a couple of examples that come to mind is that, of course, I have been working with this English plus size rider group, and they’ve just been fantastic. And I, I definitely don’t represent them. But I try at least to give them a voice. And so that’s just something that is really special for me. But also, I just really thought it was important to have models that represented everyone as much as possible, right. It’s not inexpensive to do photo shoots. And so I have the opportunity just to pick whoever I want. And so I’ve scheduled several photo shoots into the future that are just going to be plus sized models, right? And I could just, you know, find the the skinny cluster and take a picture and get on with my day. But I want people to be able to see themselves in the clothing, right. And that’s really important to me, because as I didn’t see myself or my daughter and any of the clothing that we were purchasing, that that’s something that’s really just really crucial for me, because when you don’t see yourself in whatever you’re purchasing, or whatever you’re trying to get into. It’s really discouraging. And it makes it hard to keep being enthusiastic about it. Because you always have that feeling. Do I belong here is this something where I should stay long term, and I’ve had many of those feelings in my career I’ve had, I’ve had many of those feelings throughout my childhood. And so it’s, it’s just so vital for me to be able to represent different audiences. And I’m not going to do it perfectly. I’m going to make a lot of mistakes. I’m going to make people upset. And you talked about Kim, those sizes and those names that I had, oh, there was an uproar in the the Facebook group because I thought it was cute to have a couple of names that were kind of in progression of size. And because I I’ve riddern draft horses, I think therapeutical and fantastic creatures. But there were people who they didn’t like that as a size name because that insinuated something where it’s like, we really like these horses. And so And same with solfolk and Shire. And then some people would be like, Well, no, I like those ones. And so there was always like, this clash of what people thought was acceptable. And so I said, Okay, you know what, I will take the hint buy all new labels. And yeah, we’re gonna rename them after endangered and threatened horse species. I’m like, No one can get upset about that. They’re just it brings attention to you know, that diversity, the horse breeds that we love and cherish and don’t want to see go away. And so I said, Okay, I’ll do that. And then eventually I had to keep I just kept running out of names and so I just would throw names into the bunch and the ones that I have after the threatened and endangered species are Dinah former and sweetheart and gorgeous and these are all relatives of my horse unicorn.
Cara Taylor Swift 29:25
I was sitting here going Oh MY God, where are they?
Kimberly Beer 29:30
I want to if you have a unicorn I want one if that’s if they’re just endangered please let me help not
Shelly Watts 29:40
so fun to be able to just be creative with your brand and the naming and so the the names are just relatives of my horse and so eventually just you’ll see kind of I’m sure have different iterations but now no, hopefully no one could can get offended by the naming but it was definitely a process and I I listened to people Even though if I may not have agreed with the sentiment, I understood where they were coming from, and I made the change, because I thought it was important.
Cara Taylor Swift 30:08
And that’s the thing, I think that is so essential. And a lot of folks that are out there that are either thinking of starting a business, or maybe have a fully fledged business that they’re running out there, you know, you have to be okay. And you know, Kim, I struggle with it on the podcast, too, I always have so much self doubt. And I’m always worried that I’m saying the wrong thing. And the big thing is, is you have to be brave enough to have the conversation and to be okay with people calling you on your shit, you know, for lack of a better word, or for telling you that something is offensive or for not agreeing with you on something, and then even being able to take it a step further and attempting to understand where that’s coming from, and maybe the history there and trying to address that. So I think that’s the the big piece. And for all of those business owners that are out there, it is something that we all have to do. It’s work we all have to do, and it is uncomfortable and Kim’s raising her hand.
Kimberly Beer 31:03
Yes, I did. I raised my hand because I want to say something. I think one of the points that Shelly brought up is that So Cara, and I talked before the episode about what is your fear around this? And as a business owner, what? What do you bump up against in being able to provide inclusivity in your brand and your business? And to really truly embrace it? Why is that important to a business and what’s the fear if you don’t get it right, and I think you nailed it. For me that fear in my business is that someone would come to something that I’m doing or come to my marketing or see me at an event and not feel like they belong there. I want everyone to feel like they belong, they have a seat at the table, they have a part of the conversation that is an equal weight to everyone else there. And that I think is the important reason for me as to why I want to especially be cognizant, and aware and work on myself and my business to provide more inclusivity in the world and not just in representation, but in truly having those conversations and bringing this up to the surface. And I really appreciate your candid advice to us and information and you sharing your experience on multiple levels in this podcast today around that topic. So that I hope that everyone listening feels like they belong as part of the tribe to The Business Animal because that’s really what we want. Right, Cara?
Cara Taylor Swift 32:39
Sure. And Shelly as a someone that is a self proclaimed serial entrepreneur and someone who is running a business that is getting, you know, national recognition. Is there anything else that you’d like to say to our audience to those animal based business owners that are out there?
Shelly Watts 32:53
Absolutely. I would say don’t sell yourself short. And just put yourself out there, right? Those seem really simple. But they’re they’re not because as we have mentioned on this podcast, we always have those moments of self doubt. And so one of the quotes that have continued to stick with me and I actually had to tell my husband this is that it comes from the founder of Spanx, Sara Blakely, who said, If you are not horrified and embarrassed by the first version of what you put out in the market, then you started and you went to market too late, right? And so well, that it’s not exactly the same for all businesses, but you have to put yourself out there, it’s hard because as a business owner, whatever your product or service, whatever you’re doing is an extension of you. So that’s a reflection of yourself, you’re kind of putting yourself out there, there’s going to be criticism, there’s going to be people who don’t like it, who just have nothing better to do than to just make your life miserable. There’s those types of people, but it’s okay and there’s so many more people that are going to rally and help you and support you. And I’ve had so many people just have been that have been like that. And and just a couple of examples. And now a dear friend of mine, who is a USA pentathlon, national two time champion. She is absolutely amazing. Her name is Stacy and I reached out to her. She started following me on Instagram. And I just started a conversation with her. And I said, Well, it’s really interesting what you do with pentathlon? Do you ever have sponsors and I, I could have gotten a response. Of course, we’ve got these national sponsors of you know, these big brands, and we would want nothing to do with you. And she’s like, Oh, we actually we would love to have an equestrian sponsor, because we’re kind of that black sheep of the family and the Olympic sport. And so that would be really interesting. And we just kept having the conversation, and we were selected recently as the USA pentathalon official sponsor for our peril in the cluster and arena. And we’re will be doing that through the Paris 2024 Olympics. And so it just was just that one conversation that sparked that amazing opportunity for me. And just there’s so many stories like that I even got the cutest call from a former pentathlete, who just called me out of the blue just left us the sweetest message on my voicemail that just said, Well, this is Tom, I’m really excited about what you’re doing. I mean, elderly gentlemen that it just made my day. He’s, I mean, he’s never gonna buy breeches from me, right? But it was just like, someone thought of me to leave a voice message for me to just encourage me, and even the owner of the plaid horse, she’s just been amazing to me. She’s just like, I love what you’re doing. And I’m just going to promote it. Because I believe in you and what you’re doing. And I’m, I’m just excited for you. And so I’ve just had so many people that have come alongside me. And I could have just stopped when things got hard and never put myself out there. All the mistakes, all the failures, even the short time running a business. But I’ve just had so many champions, and I just pray and hope that everyone finds those opportunities to come alongside small business owners encourage them because it’s hard. It is so unforgiving and people are unforgiving. But you will find those champions and I just really pray and hope that you become one of them. Because that’s what this great nation is built on is entrepreneurs and small business owners, they they’re all small business owners at some point, even if they become bigger and scaled and just encourage them because it’s hard. It’s a hard journey. And it’s so important that we give them that support that’s truly needed space.
Cara Taylor Swift 37:02
Thank you so much for that and Kim and I are going to be excited to see where your journey goes with Muirneed. So for all of those that are listening out there, can you tell us where folks can find you online where they can see your incredible apparel?
Shelly Watts 37:17
Absolutely. And so you can find me at www.Muirneen.com And then also on Instagram at Muirneen and Facebook at Muirneen as well.
Kimberly Beer 37:31
Thank you, Shelly, for being with us today and sharing your your story, your inspiration and your wonderful heart with us today and your clothing brand as well.
Shelly Watts 37:42
Thank you. Okay, thank you Cara for this opportunity. I love chatting with you ladies. And this is you’re an extension of my equestrian family. So I’m grateful for both of you.
Kimberly Beer 37:52
Ah, we’re grateful for you too.
Cara Taylor Swift 37:54
Oh, that’s awesome to hear. Thank you.
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Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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