Wednesday, February 3, 2016

What Do Wednesday: Loyalty

Another Wednesday another lovely What Do. Hopefully I don’t drive off anyone this week ;)

I don’t know about you, but I take care of a lot of my to do list driving to and from work in the car, on the phone, making and confirming appts, checking status of accounts and fixing things. Its really the worst.

However, while on the phone today with Smartpak, trying to coordinate payment and shipping for two different horses in two different states, I began to appreciate the cheerful and helpful woman I was speaking to on the other line.


This got me thinking about customer service and how much thankful I am for good customer service when I run across it (not often). I’ve been in the industry for years now, first as a server, then with my old job and part of my duties at my current job. Customer service is key and a lot goes into it.

For me, I appreciate a cheerful voice and a can-do attitude. Smartpak has ALWAYS been that company whenever I have problems (generally billing, getting it to sync up, etc), no matter how slight, they are open 24/7 and always so willing to help.



I have been a loyal customer for years. So many years, it began before  I had my own bank account. That’s over ten years people.

Smartpak started off with providing convenience in feeding supplements and soon evolved into a company that produced high standard brand of supplements at an affordable cost, in addition to a wide range of other supplements. Then, tack & apparel and now they have their own line of blankets with the no questions asked return policy.

For me, this is a win. I have counted on them to supply my horses with the supplements they legitimately need to stay healthy and I have never once encountered an issue. Simply superb company and they have a loyal customer for life.



This got me thinking about tack.

I am not really “brand loyal” to any tack simply because I can’t really afford the good quality brands that are worth remaining loyal to.

When I thought about it though, I do have some affordable favorites I tend to stick with, simply based on the fact that they work, I can afford it and it fits. For breeches, its Kerrits and Smartpak Pipers. For people boots, ariat. For horse boots, Majyk Equipe. For blankets, I prefer Amigo or Rambo. Saddle pads, hands down BOT & thinline half pads. Tack in general, I own mostly HDR tack, with some stubben that I’ve acquired with major discounts. So I suppose you could call me “brand loyal”. However, I have no particular desire to only remain loyal to those brands or products when it boils down to it, because I buy them all from tack stores, they are just what works.

Usually Smartpak.


My question this week is, are you  brand loyal to a certain store, or even, brand of tack? Why? (Like you legit cannot go without the product or company in your life.) Please tell me, what do!

20 comments:

  1. The rundown:
    Breeches: SmartPak Pipers, my show breeches are TS
    Horse boots: Eskadron open-fronts and Prof Choice bell boots (both purchased from SmartPak)
    Blankets/coolers/sheets: SmartPak
    Tack: mostly SmartPak, saddle is Antares
    People boots: La Mundial purchased on consignment (otherwise I would not touch La Mundial with a 10-foot pole, because reasons)
    Saddle pads: I do have an Ogilvy half pad, and most of my saddle pads are Dover because I didn't know about SmartPak back in the day and I've had them forever

    I adore SmartPak for all the reasons you mentioned, but their amazingly superior customer service is the #1 reason I continue to shop with them. Not only does SmartPak provide a great customer experience, but I haven't been disappointed with any of the MANY MANY products I've purchased. Besides, who can beat their 'no questions asked' FREE return shipping policy?? Whenever I need anything ("need" being a relative term sometimes) I always turn to SmartPak first. SmartPak for life, yo.

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    1. SmartPak doesn't really make their own stuff, they're made by other companies just with the SmartPak logo. So their tack is made by Harmohn Kraft and I believe their breeches are JPC. Their coolers are Centaur.

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    2. Don't care, customer service is amazing haha. That's most important to moi

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  2. I'm very brand loyal if I love it. However, it takes A LOT for me to love something. For shops I'm super loyal to Riding Warehouse and Luxe EQ (sadly I have not had good experiences with SmartPak like you have). For brands, I'm definitely loyal to Majyk Equipe and PS of Sweden, and marginally loyal to other brands. Of course, there are also the brands where you would have to pay me to buy anything from them. ;)

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    1. Ohhhhh if only I could afford PS. I want a bridle from there SO BAD.

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  3. i'm not so much 'brand' loyal as i am a creature of habit - i generally stick with the familiar if it's been working. so i do tend to buy the same things repeatedly - mostly bc i don't have to think much about it and i know it'll do what i want it to do (esp in terms of fit for both me and the hony!)

    i like smartpak for many of the same reasons as you - they're convenient, affordable, and easy to work with. and i LOVE the pipers. really tho, most of my shopping (esp tack) happens at a local independent saddlery since they have a baller consignment section and i like shopping used. but then again i also like our local dover and shopping online at riding warehouse...

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    1. Smartpak for lyfe. Sidenote I do love warehouse and their prices

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  4. I'm definitely loyal to Ghodho for breeches at this point, and loyal by default specifically to the PS of Sweden High Jump. And I think Veredus has earned me with the quailty--I've only had a pair of open fronts for a few weeks and they are astonishingly good.

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    1. I am SO glad you said that, I was debating between Veridus or Majyk for open fronts.... Hmmm

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  5. I used to be a Smartpak loyalist but after multiple poor customer service interactions and quality issues the past couple of years I will usually shop around a bit more to find a better deal or better service. That said I do have their ultimate turnout and hope that I can expect great customer service should it ever need replacing.

    I am now super loyal to RidingWarehouse when they carry the item I am in need of and also have a love affair with Adams who has also been nothing but great to me. Riding Warehouse stuff gets to me a good week before almost all of my Smartpak orders generally speaking.

    I too am a big fan of Veredus, I also have loyalty to Tailored Sportsman, Dubbary, CWD, and Edgewood when buying bigger ticket items. The quality has been too good for me to look elsewhere.

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    1. I am so sorry you've gotten the shaft with smartpak. That is so odd, you're the only one I've heard that happening to :( sidenote, heard that on the riding warehouse. Also I'll note the liking of Veridus when buying my open fronts! Awesome.

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    2. It's happened to me too. I had to get to the point of a super bitchy rage before SmartPak seemed to give a shit about the problem.

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  6. I'm not super brand loyal... but I DO love good customer service in every aspect of my life. I'm not a confrontational person by nature (opinionated and outspoken, yes) but if I feel like I am getting less-than-adequate customer service, I turn into a monster. Having worked on the other side of the equation for a greater part of my life, I feel like I have certain expectations that need to be met. That said, i try to stick to companies that work with you like Dover and Smart Pak. But the majority of my horse related shopping happens at places like Bartville Harness (where I can get Nunn Finer leather goods for a steal) or Maryland Saddlery, where, if you are patient enough you can get all kinds of cool things heavily discounted!

    I secretly want some fancier things, but I do not like spending money on myself (Riley, yes) -- so I am in the process of making a wish list in case the SO wants to surprise me!

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    1. Ohhhhh I too have a list of goodies. Smart equestrians unite! I LOVE finding a good deal. Might have to look into those!

      And I absolutely agree with you. Poor customer service makes me want to rage and I am not a rager

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  7. I don't know how loyal I am, but I really like Riding Warehouse. Their customer service is awesome and their prices are the best. Plus, being in CA, I get free overnight shipping. The biggest annoyance I've had with Smartpak is the super slow shipping. I even got my PS of Sweden Bridle from Sweden faster than I could get a package from Smartpak. I do like Kerrits a lot and their one year guarantee is great.

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  8. I can't complain about Smartpak (especially regarding) shipping because I'm in the same state so the regular delivery usually show up next day for me! No complaints about customer service either, but I also haven't had many issues! RW is growing on me because their prices really are great and coming from CA to MA the shipping isn't bad...probably takes like 5-6 days.

    For brands, I just love Ariat. Not because of amazing customer service or anything, but because their stuff just works for me. Their boots are the best fit for my feet, the jackets are really flattering on me, and I've found the quality to really last. I still have and use a pair of Ariat paddock boots that I got in 2008!

    Regarding stores, I am loyal to my local feed store. Last summer a Tractor Supply opened up just down the road from my barn and I priced things out there - it was a bit cheaper, but I just couldn't do it, I really wanted to remain loyal to my locally owned and run store instead of a chain. I'll run over to TSC if I need something really quick (like it was super handy when I opened up a random abcess over the summer and needed some betadine and more vet wrap stat!) but otherwise I'm totally loyal to my local store and really want to keep them in business.

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  9. I adore smartpak as well and don't understand why people don't like it. I've looked into Riding Warehouse but really can't find anything I want there. I used to buy everything at my store that I worked at but since it has closed I've stuck to ETT or Mary's when I am in San Diego. I love my Goode Rider breeches and plan on buying more. I want to try GhoDo. I used to be loyal to Annie's but I've just found better breeches. Other than that I'm not very loyal. I was loyal to another tack store farther away but honestly the prices got too overpriced for me

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  10. I too have always had good experiences with SmartPak... Riding Warehouse not as much.

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  11. I'd have to know the brands of my stuff to be loyal to it haha! I buy whatever is affordable and meets my needs. I guess the only company I buy from regularly is the company I got my Aussie saddle from, but that's more because hubby likes their stuff than any desire of mine to remain loyal. It took me a long time to get used to my saddle, but now that I am I love it (and it fits Chrome which is the main important thing). I rode in a friend's saddle recently and it was sooooo uncomfortable compared to mine!! That said, hopefully my next saddle will be a dressage saddle, so that will be a new brand lol. :)

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