It’s always a great personal pleasure to connect with athletes, rodeo contestants, rodeo designers and all round turned on creatives in various industries to expand your horizons and knowledge. Knowledge is power y’all. I think it’s important as a writer not to stay too locked down in your own niche area and we should look to outside inspiration in those who we admire, outside motivation, and other’s in our field.
This time I got to connect with Lauren; owner of LJT Custom Rodeo Hats and let me start with saying that it is a great pleasure to introduce her and LJT to our readers.
Here was our feature interview:
International Cowgirl: Tell us a little bit about your hat/clothing line and what was the motivation to get it off the ground?
LJT: Well, I own LJT Custom Rodeo Hats. I started it in 2013 and I was riding older gelding in a big rodeo and I knew it was coming up and I didn’t want a boring hat. I wanted the announcer to know who was coming through the alley-way so I painted my own felt hat and sure enough when I ran, they made a comment about how vibrant it was. I then started doing it for friends and family and it boomed from there.
IC: How has the line developed since you first launched it and do you undertake all the work yourself?
LJT: I do actually do all the work myself, except for the t-shirts which I go through a local company to help me make those. I always like to help small businesses. It definitely has gotten a lot bigger over these last 2 years and I am hoping it continues to get bigger in the coming months going forward. We have a website now and we run primarily on Facebook, which I think right now we are almost at 3700 likes which is HUGE. We have an instagram also and the online shopping on the website is growing. It’s gotten pretty big; hats, helmets, t-shirts, all sorts of stuff.
IC: How does it make you feel seeing your line on people/contestants at rodeos and local shows (big or small)?
LJT: It puts the biggest smile on my face. To see a customer at an event or send me a photo via email or text or on Facebook with their child in a hat or helmet and them in a hat or helmet or t-shirt, seeing all the sponsors that I have, they are amazing…I start with a couple of people who I hope will get big one day and they really push the business. It’s an incredible feeling.
IC: Do you have any grand plans for your brand in the future and any sneak peek exclusives you are willing to share with our readers?
LJT: We are actually hoping to start doing some more travelling. We are in the process of getting an enclosed trailer and that way we can take our merchandise on the road more & visit a couple of the big shows around the United States. We have a bunch of people all the way over in Australia that ride in our hats and others riding in Reno so we are really hoping to get to those bigger shows in the future…hopefully sooner rather than later. In addition to that, we are doing a lifetime coupon (whether ordering online or via Facebook) for helmets. We are really trying to push brain injury awareness and it’s a $5 off coupon whether you send in your helmet or buy one from us and get a custom painting. So keep an eye on the Facebook page for contests and coupons.
IC: I am interested in what inspired your t-shirt line designs such as #StopBulling and Keep Rodeo Classy. Could you tell me about that?
LJT: When I first got started, I was trying to think of a slogan would reflect our business and our paint jobs and they way we like to rodeo. With as many competitors out there, it’s hard to stand out so I spoke to my customers and followers on Facebook and that was actually one of our first contests; to come up with a slogan. So we had someone who came up with Keep Rodeo Classy which I thought was the cutest thing ever because you want to stay classy and you want to run a barrel race, rope and all that but you want to still look cute. As for the #StopBulling, I personally, have been bullied. It does take a toll on riders. I am a huge advocate for not bullying and I always telling my customers and friends to keep their heads up, stay strong, keep doing what you’re doing and those haters will be your motivators. Don’t worry about the bullying and when they started doing the whole everyone bashing on pro barrel racers and then at shows people getting click-y; I was really against all of that and their comments so I jumped on the Stop Bullying bandwagon and it helps shed some light on the situation. I try to show people, hey I’ve been bullied but look where I am now, growing my business, happily riding my horses, growing my business with awesome support from my husband and customer base.
So if you are looking for a cute custom hat or helmet, or would like to support the #StopBulling cause and continue to “Keep Rodeo Classy”, hop on over to her website LJT Custom Rodeo Hats or find them on Facebook – you will not be disappointed. I absolutely love her brand and will be sporting my blue and multi-coloured font Keep Rodeo Classy t-shirt over the weekend and at future shows and rodeos.
We here at International Cowgirl love to shop local and support small businesses just like Lauren and we are hoping we can reach all corners of the globe with her line. This is International Cowgirl after-all.
That is all for us here today at International Cowgirl. We hope to see more and more Keep Rodeo Classy and #StopBulling shirts around town, around the state, the country and if you’re feeling frisky, the world. Take a second to stop over at the website or Facebook page and if you have a shirt or hat from LJT, share it with us AND with them. We are both on Facebook!
Til next time!
Safe stay and God Bless!