Horse Pilot is the brand that equips horse lovers. Their innovative products combine durability, versatility, design and performance. At the origin of this beautiful story, there are 3 co-founders: Aurélien Guillon, Simon Dewavrin and Guillaume Janin. Launched in 2010, Horse Pilot dresses riders – and even horses – from head to toe. The brand’s aim is to change horseback riding’s traditional image, which is either elegant or bulky (i.e. protective vests), all the while respecting the environment as much as possible. “We are 200% committed to developing products that are increasingly innovative without forgetting style and durability.” Find out how Horse Pilot has achieved a 7-figure revenue!
Becoming the leader of innovation in the world of equestrian equipment necessarily has a cost for the 3 co-founders who each put in €3,000 from their own pockets...so it has taken a long time to develop, especially since for a vertical business such as this, several issues have arisen:
For Horse Pilot, inventory is expensive. Couple that with the development and innovation they put into their products, and it can put the brakes on the brand’s geographical expansion. Because the brand is constantly looking to improve their materials that meet different needs such as: ventilation, UV protection, freedom of movement, containment, insulation, etc. Their ranges boast more than 280 items. They include shirts, ties, airbags, gloves, boots, and all the accessories needed to take part in horseback riding as an amateur or professional.
With Silvr, the goal was to consolidate their presence and brand awareness in France before stepping up their exports. Brand awareness, and advertising through social media, was actually one of their biggest problems. And so, to finance those ads, Horse Pilot spurred on this expenditure item by turning to Silvr financing for their ads. “Intensifying the marketing campaigns was a good way to increase our visibility abroad. We quickly saw an excellent ROI on these campaigns.”
This freed up cash flow, so the brand gained the flexibility to launch different campaigns in different countries. Despite manufacturing lead times that can be long, they were able to receive their funding from Silvr very quickly: “It's ideal for adapting to seasonality.” Horse Pilot also uses Silvr to spread and diversify its financing sources.
“With Silvr, we were able to quickly receive financing for our ads and our stock: it’s ideal in terms of adapting to seasonality. It also allows us to spread and diversify our sources of financing”
Aurélien Guillon, Marketing Manager and co-founder of Horse Pilot
Horse Pilot’s business model is first and foremost an innovation-driven identity. After their research and personal observations, they realized that horse riding gear left a lot to be desired. Consequently, they drew inspiration from the best current technology that different sports have to offer. Aurélien offers up the example of winter and outdoor sports of all kinds, especially since it was also necessary to “modernize the agricultural image of the equestrian discipline.” Proud of their passion, they wanted to enable their now 20,000 Pilots (the name given to their customers) to enjoy horseback riding in all circumstances and with comfort, design and technicality where little existed before. Horseback riding is a tough yet appealing sport, in which you can fall, sweat, get dirty – in wind and snow. To further establish the quality of their products, they have surrounded themselves with select brand ambassadors, including some of the world's greatest riders.
They have adopted an omnichannel strategy: their distribution network includes more than 300 independent points of sale in over 40 different countries; their website has been translated into 3 languages and is accessible from more than 20 countries. As for events, they are managed by a team of 4 people fully dedicated to the brand’s presence at the numerous events covered each year (trade shows, competitions, etc.). “We really want to maintain this contact with customers as long as possible in our strategy.” Through this connection, they can directly highlight their identity of durability and versatility. These two aspects can be found in the quality of the materials. They have no fewer than 12 different technologies that can be incorporated into their products (find out more about them here). “This is real added value for our customers.” They also offer a 2-year product warranty on all their products and a free repair service in the event of a fall.
The brand has experienced fantastic average growth of 40% per year, for each of the 10+ years of activity. Today they have a staff of 30, plus 10 agents and 50 select brand ambassadors to make Horse Pilot shine in paddocks all over the world. In terms of revenue, 10 to 15% is realized on their site, 10% from events, and the remainder in the network of stores which extends across 40 different countries. 50% of their business is in France. The other half is international exports (including 10% to the United States). All this for revenue of 6 million euros.
The 3 co-founders behind this great story are Aurélien Guillon, the Marketing Manager of Horse Pilot, Guillaume Janin, the Global Sales Manager, and Simon Dewavrin, the Supply Chain Manager. These 3 long-time friends have been horsemen since they were very young and share the same passion. And so this path was a natural one to take. They felt the need to offer technicality and beauty to a sport that requires movement and elegance.
Horse Pilot’s future ambitions are likely to remain lofty. Aurélien does not hide his desire to increase revenue fourfold by 2026. It is also important to point out that horseback riding is backed by the third largest sports association in France. Moreover, the 2024 Olympic Games will be held in France – a great opportunity for Horse Pilot. Obviously, the brand will continue to innovate and grow internationally.