Welcome to the second installment of "The Woman Behind The Brand"
The equestrian industry is a unique community in the fact that it is chock full of successful businesswomen. In a world where top business executives are dominated by men, it is so refreshing to see these women take an idea, create a plan, and then run thriving companies!
I had the chance to visit with Cathy Sacher of Essex Classics... THE name in equestrian show shirts, as well as her up and coming line of casual shirts. Cathy has been riding most of her life with notable trainers such as - Carolina Show Hunter Hall of Fame-er, Pat Dodson, and Keith Hastings of Cloud Harbor Farm in Clemmons, NC.
Upon graduating from college, Cathy went into banking but found it unfulfilling. Cathy's father worked in the menswear industry, designing & sourcing beautifully tailored shirts for men. Pat & Keith were big fans of her father's garments and encouraged Cathy to break into equestrian show shirts.
At the time there were very few made in the U.S. and they only came with one choker. If you lost your choker, you needed a new shirt. Cathy brought the ingenious idea of creating a shirt company that offered two chokers with each shirt...and thus Essex Classics was born.
Over the years Essex has become the commanding force of the show shirt industry. Cathy handpicks all the fabrics, bravely mixing colors and patterns to bring beautiful unique looks to the show ring. She is constantly looking for the next new fabric that will help you perform your best at the peak of show season while maintaining that classic tailored look.
Essex Classics has truly become the industry trendsetter all other brands aspire to be. CoolMax, Talent Yarn, Wrap Collar - all got their start under Cathy's guidance at Essex Classics. Sure many companies put out a wrap collar, but Cathy wasn't satisfied with her design until the shirt looked absolutely perfect! Whether it was worn closed under a coat or open ringside waiting for the jog.
Cathy didn't stop with just shirts for the show ring. Essex later went on to introduce the Dora Casual shirt- a classic button-down, tailored from beautiful stretch fabrics in deep rich hues. And in true horse girl fashion... the line is named after Cathy's own horse, Dora (the beautiful dark bay pictured above with her).
Cathy is just like the rest of us, a true horse lover, as well as a fierce competitor. She is in the trenches with us - at the ingate waiting with us, and she knows what we do day in and day out.
Her travels on the show circuit allowed her to observe that trainers, show moms, and exhibitors lacked a nicely tailored, fashionable, casual shirt. From there she worked closely with trainers and riders while the idea for a casual shirt took hold. She was intent on designing a shirt that both enveloped her deep respect for American traditions while offering innovative classical designs with attention to detail.
So what's the next new thing you ask? Cathy is always on the lookout for fun new patterns and themes for both the Dora and Talent Yarn lines, as well as the new Trey V-Neck and Quarter-Zip Sweaters.
She is also expanding her awareness campaigns to reach beyond Danny & Ron's Rescue. Most recently she was at the helm of a fundraising effort for International Show Jumper, Kevin Babington after a terrible fall. We love a brand that uses its branding to help out charities and the equestrian community.
Haven't tried on a Dora or anything from Essex Classics? Take a peek at our collection, there's sure to be a style with your name on it! I think Cathy said it best when she said "You don't have to horse show to wear an Essex Classics Shirt".