Welcome to this week's brand spotlight! Today we will be featuring Hands High Fly Bonnets, a custom fly bonnet company. The brand is centered on customer service and affordability while still providing high-quality custom bonnets. Hands High Fly Bonnets was started in 2015 by Jay Godston, who has generously answered a few questions for TJE!
About Hands High Fly Bonnets
"Hands High is set apart by my focus on customer service. I have constructed this business around the desire to make high quality, custom items affordable and accessible to any and everyone. While I take great pride in the quality of the product, I take immense pride in my personal approach. I specifically don’t offer an online checkout because it removes the human element from the equation, which is the most important bit! I’m not just churning out a product, I want to make your vision a reality. I’m not taking an order, I’m starting a conversation. I don’t have customers, I make friends! The human element is what makes or breaks a new business relationship. People can love a product, but it’s so much more when they get a person there for them." -Jay Godston, owner of Hands High Fly Bonnets
"I started Hands High in 2015, my freshman year of college. I taught myself to crochet with Youtube videos and then took what I saw and turned it upside down and inside out to create my pattern from scratch. After years of trial and error and many, many, MANY balls of yarn, I’ve found an outline that is versatile and unique. I’m always learning and trying new things (some cool new things in the works now!) so there are often new options available for order!"
Business in the equestrian world
"I’ve found equestrian business is slightly different from other places I’ve worked and other products I’ve offered. Horse people are fiercely loyal to their favorites and sometimes slow to try new things, but word of mouth also spreads like wildfire! I get many orders that begin with “I was talking to so and so and they were raving about these bonnets, I have to get one for myself!” However, there are some conversations that can be left unfinished as sometimes horse people can be distracted. I get it, “barn time” is kind of a black hole! We forget all our worries… and sometimes to answer our text messages! I’ve certainly been guilty."
"The biggest challenge I’ve faced has been the ability to find materials I LOVE. It can take a good bit of searching to find products I’m proud to offer, but it always is worth the wait. I take a lot of pride in the work I send out. I need to love it to make sure that my customers do!"
Overcoming those challenges
"Small business! I’ve found a couple of AWESOME other small businesses that go above and beyond to help me find just the right fabrics, yarns, or trims. Shop small whenever you can, it means so much to so many."
Advice for juniors
"Be teachable! No one (no, not even your parents or your trainer!) knows everything. You can learn something from EVERYONE. Stay humble and kind and always offer a hand to those learning alongside you. We cannot get anywhere without teamwork. My other favorite piece of advice is to compete against yesterday’s you. Yes, ribbons are handed out in the show ring, but the true test of a rider is progress and learning. It’s the journey, not the destination!"