In December 2016, Lia Ludlow launched her new business Just Jodz. Her passion for affordable riding wear for all shapes and sizes was her inspiration in starting her own equestrian business. Since introducing her stylish, fashionable hard wearing jodhpurs and breeches, Just Jodz has grown considerably winning a Business Excellence Award last year.
Samantha Hobden recently caught up with Lia in Haynet’s Chatting A Bit series to find out more about the personality behind the brand:
Your passion for horses is incredibly strong! Were you brought up in this environment as a child?
Yes absolutely! My mum is one of four sisters that all rode, my dad’s sister rode, and so did both my grandmas. My mum had me on the front of the saddle with her by the time I was six months old, and my grandma recently came riding in Vegas with me in her 70s.
What was your childhood ambition? Was it to always work in the equestrian world?
Yes, I wanted to be a horse vet from when I was very young, but then life happened and it never quite went in that direction.
You have worked in the equestrian industry for a number of years in a variety of different ways. What would be your advice for a school leaver that wanted to work with horses?
Get both practical work experience and do your exams, it will make you an all-round candidate.
In the last few years, you have diversified into the clothing side of the equestrian industry. What made you step into this area of the business?
I started by selling jodhpurs on eBay as a side business for some extra money. It was a huge market, but I realised that there were no brands selling items at these prices that actually looked good. All the cheap products were ugly, in limited sizes and colours, with unattractive photography, so I turned my eBay shop into Just Jodz, expanded my product range, and set up as a brand.
Tell us about Just Jodz. What are you particularly proud of with your company?
Well first I am proud of carving a place out in a competitive market, there are so many places to buy riding wear from now and I’m still grateful for every person that comes to JJ! I am proud that I give people an affordable option they, in turn, can be happy to wear without feeling they are wearing ‘cheap’ and boring clothing, and I love catering to this neglected end of the market. My proudest moment was when I first saw a young girl leave a comment asking her mum to get her some JJs for Christmas, that was when I first realised it had become clothing people really wanted to wear.
What has been the up and downs of working within the clothing side of the equestrian industry?
Goodness, I could write a book on the ups and downs! The worst down is when unscrupulous manufacturers steal from you and you lose both money and a product shipment, that is very hard to deal with in the beginning. The biggest up though is realising you create genuine value in people’s riding lives. In December I get a lot of emails from parents saying they don’t have a lot of money, but thanks to JJs prices they were able to get their daughter two pairs of jodhpurs for under the tree. I cry about once a week in December when I get those emails! It makes me want to hand out armfuls of breeches like the equestrian Oprah!
What are your future plans for Just Jodz?
Keep expanding our ranges to bring people the products they love, in the sizes and colours they want, and always keeping our low prices. We get a lot of requests for children and men’s ranges, so that will be in the pipeline in the next few years.
On a day off, where would we find you?
If it’s been a tough week I will be relaxing reading a thriller or watching a film. If I’ve got more energy I will be having a sidesaddle lesson or in London with friends for dinner and drinks.
Where do you hope to be in ten years’ time?
Well apart from wanting Just Jodz to be a big, go-to equestrian brand by then, if I could still be where I am now that would actually be ideal! I am lucky to be surrounded by wonderful supportive friends and family, Just Jodz is growing and thriving, and I get to live with my lovely rescue animals. Maybe a Royal Warrant for JJ and a husband for me would be the icing on the cake though!
Against the Clock
Beer or Champagne: Champagne
Sunshine or Snow: Sunshine
Home Counties or Far Away Shores: Far away shores
Spend or Save: Save
Home Cooked or Eating Out: Eating out
Music or Film: Music
Wellies or Heels: Heels
Please visit : https://justjodz.co.uk/