All About Zoe

Published : 31/07/2023 08:22:15
Categories : Latest News

All About Zoe

Meet Zoe - Founder & Director of sustainable equestrian brand Honest Riders.

Zoe Kiff Zoe Kiff decided to break free from traditional big brand rider wear and created Honest Riders in 2017 following the ethos that equestrian style shouldn’t just look good, but do good too.

Find out more about Zoe and her quest for sustainable equestrian fashion and products.  

Zoe, please tell us a bit about yourself, what do you do, where are you from?
I’m Zoe, wife of a pro sailor, mum of 1 toddler, 2 dogs and 2 horses. I grew up in Bedfordshire, but happily migrated south to Hampshire in 2013 where we now live right by the sea. 

I’m the Founder & Director of sustainable equestrian brand Honest Riders. Before that, I spent 15 years working for advertising agencies in London. My job was to work with big brands, devising their marketing strategies and working with creative teams to bring their key messages to life. There were bits of it I loved, but I have to confess, being in the city and working for huge brands just wasn’t ‘me’. About 5 years ago I decided to make a big change…
What inspired you to set up Honest Riders?

I’ve always had an interest in design and style and had this feeling that equestrian ‘fashion’ that existed just didn’t suit my style. In addition to that, I was going on a personal ‘sustainability’ journey as I realised the impact our purchase behaviours were having on the planet – call it a bit of the ‘David Attenborough effect’! I had ideas floating around in my head for years, but It was only after I moved to the South Coast and started a marketing consultancy that I had the headspace to be able to take the leap and do something about it.

Finally, with the support of my amazing husband, I created Honest Riders back in 2017. I never thought I’d be able to get to the point of making a living from horses, but slowly that dream is coming back to me, albeit in a form I hadn’t expected!

Please tell us more about the products you sell 

Honest Riders started primarily with sustainably produced clothing. We were one of the first brands to use organic cotton and recycled fabrics to create casual riding wear. We sought out factories that prioritised staff welfare and minimising carbon output and made sure that we considered the environment in every single aspect of the business, from product to packaging to postage.

More recently, we’ve developed our own horse care range. I was struggling to find horse care products that were cruelty-free, didn’t contain any nasty synthetic ingredients and actually worked, so launched Honest Horse. We’re currently focusing our attention on the excessive packaging that often comes with horse care and recently launched our Refills range. This really excites me as I believe it will make a huge impact on our collective carbon footprint as equestrians.

Do you have a product you really couldn’t live without?

I live in my Honest Riders Full Seat Riding Leggings and Trakehner T-shirts! Riding in comfort and style is hugely important and I love the fact I can go from the yard to the nursery pick up without looking too ‘horsey’.

From a horse care perspective, I use all of the Honest Horse products on my horses, but the biggest game-changer has been our shampoo bars. I haven’t used shampoo from a bottle for over 3 years now, since they launched. Both my horses look super shiny after using them, they’re super easy to use AND there is zero plastic and very little waste! What’s not to love?!

What do you do in your spare time & what do you get up to offline? We know you love horses, how is the competing going this year?

My spare time is mostly taken up with taking care of my little boy, who turned 2 last week and my two horses. I have Asia – a chestnut yearling that I bought as a foal last year and Trevor, a 10 year old Oldenburg whom I bought as a 2 year old and have trained up the levels at dressage. Trev and I are out competing at PSG/Inter 1 and we recently started competing on the Premier League circuit which, as an amateur rider is a bit of a dream come true! The big goal is Grand Prix and as long as it goes to plan, we’ll get there in the next 12-18 months.

What is your ultimate Hiho love (favourite piece from the Hiho collection) and why?

I love the horseshoe earrings.

I’m a sucker for a stud earring and with several piercings this is a great piece to add an equestrian ‘nod’ to my ear party!

 And finally – what would be your one piece of advice for anyone looking to start a new business?

Hmm, don’t?! No, only joking, it’s been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done, but it is HARD work. I would say, do your research, know exactly who your audience is, what you stand for as a brand and what you’ve got to offer. Don’t be tempted to copy others, they’ll always be one step ahead of you. Be realistic about whether your products are genuinely offering something different/better than what’s out there currently. And finally, consider your impact on the environment – I really believe brands of the future need to make sure they are conscious of their carbon footprint. 

You can find Zoe 

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