Stride Boot Wear

Stride Boot Wear

Stride 2


Little did she know at the time, but a childhood close to Fairyhouse Racecourse and a passion for fashion from a very young age have turned out to be the foundations of Emma Hedderman’s equestrian fashion venture, Stride Boot Wear.

Emma went on to work for big names in the fashion industry such as DKNY and Hilfiger in both the US and Europe before being recruited into a couple of equestrian fashion businesses. Those roles allowed her to develop a keen sense of the market and to spot some possible gaps for new products.

As a keen horse rider herself, Emma knew just how important riding boots are to those with a passion for horse-riding. She had noted that there were very high-end and very low-end products on the market, particularly in the US, but not much in the middle tier. Redundancy in 2019 created an opportunity for Emma to see if she could develop new products that would exploit that apparent opening.

The Numbers Stacked Up

At this stage, Emma’s career background in fashion and the equestrian sector proved invaluable. With a good sense of costs for materials and production, she was able to pull together ‘back of the envelope’ figures which suggested that the business could work. Her network of contacts in the US allowed Emma to gather some quick feedback from contacts with their finger on the pulse of the US market. And that feedback was very positive, to the point that some retailers wanted to place pre-orders. This process also helped in terms of figuring out where to pitch the product by way of price point – always a major challenge for an entrepreneur launching a new product.

Again through existing contacts, Emma was able to identify a potential manufacturing partner in Portugal. A visit to Portugal confirmed that the company in question was well placed to deliver upon the spec that Emma had in mind.

Indeed, in her mind’s eye, she had a clear vision of a rider’s leg and riding boot moving in perfect harmony with the stride of the horse, and so was born the brand, Stride Boot Wear. Stride’s first product would be a mid-tier riding boot with real leather uppers and air impact soles, and a retail price in the region of $600.

You’ve Done this for Other People; Now Do it for You!

While so many pieces of the jigsaw seemed to be falling into place, with a young family at home and other job offers on the table, Emma’s confidence was still shaken by a few bruising years in the private sector. She still wondered if she was mad to be launching a new venture, particularly as the world was being gripped by a pandemic. When she reached out to Local Enterprise Office South Dublin, she was met with friendly and practical encouragement and assurances that the LEO team could help her launch her new business. Her LEO mentor was a huge source of inspiration and support: ‘You’ve done this time and time again for other businesses; why can’t you do it for yourself?’

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