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'My Horse Box' interviews DVR Founder Danielle

A little while ago, the lovely Annabelle from My Horse Box (Luxury equestrian subscription box brand) interviewed me as part of their monthly box interviews. Seeing as we talk about the brand, I thought it would be fitting to share on here too for you all to have a nosey at. I hope you enjoy it, and do make sure you check out My Horse Box. Every box costs a fraction of what it's worth and the best part is, it's all a total surprise so you have no idea what's coming! How fun!

Check their website out here.

Hacking Out with Danielle Reynolds

Danielle Reynolds is the founder of DVR Equestrian, an up-and-coming equestrian clothing brand with a twist. All the garments Danielle designs feature high visibility and reflective elements, combing safety and style in the saddle. We’re so excited to chat to this young entrepreneur about the brand she’s building, and pick her brains about all things hi-vis!
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  1. Hello Danielle! We know you’ve had quite a busy few months, so thank you for taking the time to speak to us! Before we dive into what you’re doing now, tell us a little bit about your equestrian life and background.
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Hey Annabelle! Thank you so much for choosing me to be part of your interviews! I have ridden all my life, we’ve owned a few ponies when I was very young but I mainly spent my childhood having weekend lessons and hacks, riding holidays, helping out at yards, and part-loaning horses so that I could fit my passion in around education and work.
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In my early teens, I would find any way to ride, when I moved from one side of Sussex to the other at the age of 12, I spotted a livery yard, walked in and asked to help out in return for riding the working liveries, I also used to walk an hour to the next town to ride some horses I looked after there. Wherever the horses were, I’d be there.
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It was an ex-racer called Blueberry that was my ‘horse that changed everything’. I loaned her from when I was about 16-20. She was nervous from previous experiences and found it hard to trust so I had to work very hard for months to build our relationship. She scared me to death on many occasions but I knew how amazing she could be so I wasn’t giving up, she taught me so much more than the rest of my life of riding did. 
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I’d love to have my own but for now it’s just not possible, and with such a wide circle of friends that are horse owners I’m never short of something to ride. I currently part loan a lovely boy called Darcy off my friend, he’s 26 but in true thoroughbred manner still enjoys acting 5 on the South Downs, he’s an absolute gentleman though and I’ve fallen head over heels for him! 
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Danielle with loan horse Darcy, wearing STYLE VIS relax fit base-layer and unisex riding track-pants
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  1. So, DVR Equestrian is your equestrian clothing brand and it seems to be going from strength to strength! What made you decide to launch this company, and how has the past year been for you? 
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I always had the idea of owning my own equestrian-wear brand in the back of my head, even when I was very young walking around the stands at Hickstead I loved the idea of it, but I was never sure if I’d ever have the guts to actually run my own business. As I got older and went to art college and then studied Fashion and Business at university, it became clearer and clearer to me that this was what I was supposed to do. Nothing else felt as exciting as the idea of launching and running my own brand and seeing as I love all areas of business, I knew I had to go for it.
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The hi-vis idea came from creating my business plan in the final year of my degree. I’ve always wanted to design for a reason and for my designs to be practical and helpful to the wearer, I’ve never been keen on designing just for the look of things because I don’t like the effect the fashion world has on our environment so I am always keen to limit waste and create high-quality products that last.
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The confidence to go ahead and start the brand last year came from winning two business competitions and having such great feedback from the judges. It was after the last award that I decided to push myself by planning our Kickstarter launch campaign and just going for it. The year has been amazing so far. Kickstarter was hard, hard work but paid off when we raised £10,800, then the months following were extremely hard work getting all products out to the supporters within the time limit set. Since then it has been a whirlwind of launching the web shop, building the social media, manufacturing more stock and designing new products. 
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Danielle wearing STYLE VIS leggings (made to go in water too!) and DVR compression riding bra
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  1. It might be like asking a parent to pick their favourite child, but what is your favourite item from your DVR collection, and why?
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This is the hardest question. I always go straight for the leggings, and then I go for every other product. Everything is needed for all different reasons, but I definitely wear my leggings the most. I love them because they’re so comfortable, such a great fit and flattering too. I designed these from sitting in the saddle, so the fluorescent panel works all the way around your seat. Our hat silks are great because they’re always there and make a big difference to your visibility, our bum-bags and performance tees are a must have for hot weather, our base-layers are incredible for high-intensity sport like XC, and they’re amazing at keeping you warm when it’s colder and cool when it’s warmer. What makes them even more special is that they can be worn in the water too… I was on holiday last week and wore mine as a rash vest for water skiing. How great to keep you visible in the water if anything went wrong too! If you get too hot in the sun, they keep you cooler than if you were only in your swimwear! They really do surprise me every time I wear them. The hidden zip pocket on our sweatshirts make them super useful, our puffer jackets and neck fleeces are amazing in the cold and our sports bras are the best for support and comfort. So no, I guess I can’t choose!
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Image above: Danielle and best friend Lucy after packing up at Hickstead 2018
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  1. You must have a whole wealth of knowledge about the importance of hi vis; would you mind sharing some of your top tips with us? 
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I know that you’re supposed to go for colours such as pink or orange on sunny summer days rather than yellow, however whenever I see anyone in my area in hi-vis I notice them the most in yellow, so I personally like to wear yellow. You can judge this yourself depending on your weather and surroundings. The whole point of wearing visible colours is to not blend in, so go for colours contrasting your surroundings, look at the bushes, flowers, plants, fields, buildings around you and go with what you feel would show up the most. If you’re unsure you could always wear more than one colour.
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My advice for those that don’t like the look of hi-vis is to wear more! Yep you heard me right, getting a full set for your horse (brushing boots/covers, martingale or neck strap etc and wearing the same colours yourself will bring the smartness back as you create a matchy-matchy look. The more you wear, the better you’ll look and obviously the more visible you’ll be!
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Make sure you and your horse both have hi-vis on. This is actually something I need to get better at. If you came off your horse out on a ride, what would make your horse more visible if they decided to take themselves off back home? You want to think about your horses visibility as well as your own.
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Danielle hacking out in STYLE VIS base-layer and leggings
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Avoid riding in very low level light such as night time or thick fog, however if it is a must, it’s worth investing the hi-vis with lights. If you ride on roads, it’s important to check your insurance details as some insurances won’t pay out if you’re not wearing hi-vis and many riders don’t realise this. Also check whether the hi-vis needs a certification and if so make sure you have an item of certified hi-vis on too.
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Check your clothes are still visible. As equestrians, we’re very good at keeping things FOREVER, but it is important that your clothes are actually working. Does the colour still look bright enough to you? You can take a photo of the reflective details with the flash on to check it’s still working and you can simply look at your product to decide if it still looks bright enough.
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Photograph from DVR's first ever training-wear collection Spring/Summer 2018
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  1. We think the future looks bright for DVR Equestrian! What are your next steps with the brand?
Thank you! Well, we started with the STYLE VIS collection which will be ongoing forever. As we grow I’d like to expand the products and colours available. I’d love to offer more horse-wear and winter products. As a whole, DVR Equestrian is first and foremost a performance riding-wear brand, our products offer incredible technical fabrics with a wide range of properties such as temperature regulation, oil resistance, four-way stretch and longevity. For this reason, it would be a shame to only offer our products in bright colours, therefore we are introducing the training collection this Summer, and competition and lounge-wear is planned for the future too!