Brand Spotlight: Smart Grooming
We continue our series of features where we put a brand under the EQUUS spotlight! In March 2022, with competition season on the horizon, we sat down for a Q&A with Victoria Goody from Smart Grooming, one of the best known brands for equestrian grooming products in the UK, and creators of the Smart Tails Thinning Rake.
Tell us a bit about you and why you set up Smart Grooming.
The Brand came to fruition on the back of spending many years grooming and looking after all types of horses and ponies. Having trained in the late 1970’s, I was taught all aspects of horse care very traditionally, most of which has stayed with me ever since. However, there was one area that started to trouble me and that was the discomfort caused by pulling manes and tails. This then became the catalyst of bringing dedicated humane grooming tools into the equestrian market.
Smart Tails, the original thinning and tidying rake, was the product that started us off in 2006 and to this day is still one of our best sellers.
What customers are you aiming at and why should they choose Smart Grooming products over others?
With our passion for all things grooming and turnout, we love to impart our knowledge to all equestrian customers that are interested in improving their turnout. Building our brand to become the market leader is still very much what drives us forwards in bringing great quality products but at affordable prices. Our range caters for literally any equestrian customer who is keen to care and turnout their horse with pride. Our range now encompasses everything that is needed in all areas of turnout whether for competition, showing or, most importantly, everyday needs.
How do you decide what new products to add to the range?
I am always looking at ways of making grooming and turnout pleasurable and easy for both owner and equine, so it will always be with this in mind.
I do have a very old equestrian supply book from America, and quite often inspiration comes from products that were designed many years ago.
Now that we have grown our product range, it is becoming harder to add in new products, as we do have virtually everything that is needed for equestrian grooming.
We only ever bring to the market products that are worthwhile, but I do still have plenty of inspiration and new ideas for 2022/23, and an additional top end range of brushes and accessories that will be bringing a bit of glamour to the grooming world shortly.
What’s your favourite Smart Grooming product and why?
This is such a difficult question, as all the products have been brought into the range for a reason. If I had to choose one, it would be the Pro Levelling Knife that was brought out two years ago that I am particularly proud of. A simple design, but just so effective.
If I had two more top favourites, it would have to be the Smart Tails and the Super Groomer. Obviously, the Pro Levelling Knife and the Smart Tails are my go-to for tidying humanely, and the Super Groomer is an absolute daily necessity for both mud removal and washing.
What’s Smart Grooming’s hidden gem of a product that you feel customers overlook?
I would say it would be our range of scissors. I think we are the only company that has a complete scissor range specifically for horses. There is so much to scissors, and using the kitchen scissors for trimming up does not need to be an option now when we have a specially designed range covering all needs, and all priced at under £15.00.
What ‘claims to fame’ does Smart Grooming have and for what products?
It’s got to be our very first Business Award back in 2006 when we had just started up and had one product in the range – Smart Tails. This won Best New Product of the Year. It really was an overnight success - we had to get more phone lines installed to manage the amount of interest and sales, from both wholesalers, retailers and the end user when we put our first advert in the H&H.
What well-known riders use Smart Grooming products?
We supply many well-known riders, but it’s their grooms that generally use the products. Our supported riders include Katie and Chris Jerram-Hunnable in the showing world, and Mary King, who is local to us in Devon. We're also hugely proud that some of our products have made their way to the Royal Mews at Windsor and help to achieve shine and whitening on Her Majesty’s Fells and Highlands.
What’s the story behind UK production?
We like to support British manufacturers and suppliers, where possible, and use a variety of sources, from a small one-man band making up our natural skin balms to extensive manufacturing facilities for the larger runs.
This generally means our supply is more secure, the quality is stable, and we can be more reactive with keeping ahead of market trends and variables.
What is it that you particularly like about EQUUS as a retailer of your products?
We particularly love your marketing strategy and the fact that you are passionate and enquiring about the products that you stock. Curating a brand is similar to curating a range of products for retail - its all about getting a good balance and choice for the customer.
A well thought out range, attention to detail, and giving a great customer experience are all values that are important to us, and clearly this shines through from what you offer too. A partnership between retailer and supplier is hugely beneficial and an understanding of what makes each other tick is essential too.