After working two horses, Désirée sat down in her barn to change pants for the umpteenth time. "Why?", she wondered. "Why can't I buy pants that are functional and practical for riding AND perform and look good in the rest of my life?"
As Dez and husband Eric researched the market, they learned that 90% of the more than 20 million amateur horseback riders in the U.S. are women...whose average age is 35 and rising! And they discovered that no major manufacturer offers an inside-seamless jean, cut for adult women.
Smooth Stride had once produced the best riding jeans available, but had fallen on hard times and just ceased operations following an off-shoring effort. Dez and Eric bought Smooth Stride, have re-designed the product to capture the original intent, added some cool features, and want to bring production back to the U.S.A. Thus, "Kick in the Pants" is a brand revival project.
- One: nobody offers jeans that are designed to fit a woman's curves, especially when mounted in the saddle.
- Two: jeans are constructed with an inseam and uncomfortable lump where it crosses the center seam in the crotch...including so-called "riding" jeans! Smooth Stride jeans have no inseam!
- Three: nobody offers a full seat riding pant with a Western, boot-cut leg. Smooth Stride Full Seat Jeans are exactly that!
Smooth Stride wants to bring comfortable jeans to the women who ride horses. We want you to feel great in the saddle, and look great out.
We have redesigned the jeans and focused on superior fit and comfort, premium materials, and carefully graded sizes 4 through 24. We're obsessed with our target demographic: women who ride. We've built an all-U.S.A. supply chain. An e-commerce website has been created. Now we're finally ready for production, but need seed money to "prime the pump".
The $30k goal will finish the last of the design work. It will purchase denim, microsuede, zippers, buttons, thread, labels, etc., and will pay for cutting, sewing, finishing, tagging, packaging, and shipping. And it will launch the product in two of the planned sales channels: website sales, and trunk sales (see "Where?" below).
Update: Reduced Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices (MSRP). Based on Kickstarter backers' feedback, we've reduced MSRP for the Jeans. Just Jeans now $100, Knee Patch Jeans now $110, Full Seat Jeans now $130. Kickstarter does not allow any changes to the reward descriptions after it has been selected by a backer, so the reward descriptions reflect the original MSRP.
"Scoop Fit" waist. Our exclusive, highly contoured waistband:
- ...provides a relatively high-rise back and relatively low-rise front, specifically designed for a woman's body mounted in the saddle.
- ...is graded specifically for fit and coverage in the larger sizes.
- ...completely eliminates the "gap" at the back when seated in the saddle (or anywhere else), or jumping position.
- ...provides full back coverage, whether seated or jumping, but rides below the natural waist in front to allow full freedom of movement and maximum comfort.
- ...features a stretch microsuede lining: soft and luxurious, and keeps shirts tucked in!
No-Inseam construction has always been a feature of Smooth Stride pants. This important design detail eliminates the cause of chafed and raw skin when that seam is normally located between you and your saddle.
Welt Cell Phone Pocket
Whether you're an endurance rider, trail or extreme trail rider, or simply hacking for pleasure or conditioning, you don't want to be without your cell phone in case of trouble. And if there is trouble, the phone doesn't do you much good if it's on your horse (unless you've trained him to voice-dial). So we designed an unobtrusive, secure, and comfortable place to keep your phone with you. The angled welt pocket is located on the outside of the right thigh and designed with interior shelves that prevent the phone from slipping out accidentally.
We are intentionally keeping a tight focus to ensure success. We will initially offer just three styles of jeans, below. The stretch goal of $60k will enable production of the English Leg (narrower, shorter, for inside of half-chaps or riding boots, already designed) for the three styles below. We have demand for other colors and fabrics, but again...staying focused for now.
Spectacular Western-style blue jeans...with Scoop-Fit waist and without that nasty inseam. Constructed of 10.5 oz., 99% cotton denim (1% Spandex for just the right amount of stretch). The cotton is grown and milled in the U.S. This soft, superior quality denim feels, wears, and washes every bit as well as you (and we) would expect. Just Jeans feature an unobtrusive welt pocket for your cell phone on the outside of the right thigh (but not shown below) and the slightly flared Western Boot-cut leg is offered in three lengths: Long, Longer, and Longest! Work your horse(s), muck stalls, run to the grocery store, pick up the kids...all without changing pants! We designed these to be your everyday working jeans (but they look good enough to be your dancing jeans)!
Full Seat Jeans
The Full Seat Jeans are constructed with a full seat and inner leg of microsuede - an amazing material that looks, feels, and wears like real suede leather...but it doesn't stain, wear, or tear. The microsuede washes and dries as easily as the denim, and feels luxurious against your skin as it wicks away moisture. And on top of all that, it's made from re-cycled plastic bottles! The Smooth Stride Scoop-Fit waist provides superior fit and comfort, in the saddle and out. Smooth Stride's Welt cell phone pocket is located on the outside of the right thigh, but the Full Seat Jeans do not have back pockets. Both the denim and the suede stretch for maximum comfort and great looks. The Full Seat Jeans feature a slightly flared Western Boot-cut leg and come in three lengths: Long, Longer, and Longest! High-end performance of an expensive riding breech and the everyday practicality of your regular jeans. Spectacular fit and comfort to boot! You will look GREAT in these jeans.
Knee Patch Jeans
Just like the Just Jeans...except add a patch of that beautiful microsuede from the Full Seat Jeans, on the inside of each leg from above the knee to the bottom of the leg. The seams, of course, avoid saddle pressure points. Extra protection, comfort, and grip between you, your saddle, tack, and your horse. Scoop-Fit waist, Welt cell pocket, back pockets, but no inseam! (And these Knee Patch Jeans fit perfectly and look great too!)
Where will we sell? First, on our website. Fit is always a challenge for buying clothes on-line, especially pants. So order whatever sizes you think will fit - we pay the shipping...and then return whatever doesn't fit within a week - we pay the shipping again (North America)!
Second, trunk sales. Mobile vendors take their booths or trailers to horse show and trade show venues and sell direct, providing customers an alternative to on-line buying. Smooth Stride will support this channel with distributor agreements that provide wholesale discounts to existing or new independent "trunk sales" vendors. We will offer kits consisting of a rolling cabinet unit, banner, and starting inventory. We wanted to offer this as the top-tier reward here on Kickstarter, but it just got too complex. So if you're interested, give us a call after the project is successful! (and help us to spread the word so that it IS successful!) We'd love to put you into business with Smooth Stride Jeans!
Third, your local "Ranch & Home" or "Murdoch's", or wherever you go for quality farm supplies, horse tack, and western work wear. We believe that a) selection for proper fit, b) immediate availability, and c) experiencing the product quality first-hand are the value elements that your local "brick and mortar" store can bring via this channel. A "stretch goal" of $60k will accelerate our entry into the retail market.
Désirée: is a professional equestrienne and competitor. She is the youngest woman ever to compete with the U.S. Eventing Team (World Championships - 1978; she was 18), and still loves to compete in her beloved 3-Day Event discipline. She has been teaching riders, training horses and changing pants for over 25 years.
Eric: is a business, product, and manufacturing professional, and has spent the last 20 years in technology start-ups, wearing a wide variety of hats and gaining the experience under each of them. "I love to build lean, quality processes", he says, "and I've always enjoyed learning a new field - and right now this learning curve is nearly vertical! But we've hired world-class experts to provide course corrections along the way and we're having great fun. It seems as though every time I look at a pair of jeans, it is with new eyes!"
Together Dez and Eric believe that they have discovered an under-served demographic and need and they are committed to fulfilling that need.
Well, we recently updated our logo...and used Kaushan Script for the font...which exists because of a successful Kickstarter campaign! Nice work, Pablo - we will donate some proceeds from our "Kick in the Pants"!
We got a nice write-up in Horseback Magazine (see page 32)!
(Thank you, Margaret!)
A stretch-stretch goal: we want to purchase equipment and bring the cutting and sewing in-house. We want to employ local folks, and provide them long term careers. We want to pay them a good salary and provide benefits. We want to apply the proven principles of lean manufacturing in the garment industry and move away from batch processing and toward single-piece flow and make-to-order.
And finally, a GREAT BIG THANK YOU to the many folks who have helped us in this endeavor! Jim, J.D., John, Julie, and Jessie. Ilana, Alissa, Carol-Lynn, Désirée B., Kelli, Shaela and Christine. Kathleen and Kayla. André and Cynthia. Oh, and of course the horses: Quinn, Frenchy, Lacey, Hero, and Willie!
Risks and challenges
A ton of foundation-laying has been done in order to minimize risks. We have contracted with an expert pattern maker with more than 30 years of industry experience. Our business and advisory board brings impressive credentials and tough questions. Fabrics and other inputs have been sourced, we know their availability and cost, particularly the denim. A skilled and experienced sewing contractor is selected, and back-up contractor with sufficient capability and capacity is identified. Market channels are identified and working plans developed. Material and risk insurance policies are in place.
A key to success, we believe, is frequent review of assumptions and the willingness and guts to change if and when reality slaps the side of our heads and whispers that we're going in the wrong direction. The largest risk is whether there is the demand for these products that we believe there is. This campaign will go a long way toward answering that question. Assuming that demand, there are no challenges that we won't overcome.
We believe there is a real need for this product and we're committed to fulfilling it. Things never work out exactly as one plans, but we are ready and eager to adjust to reality as we go along.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)