W&E Today provides retailers and manufacturers with education and ideas that provoke innovation in the Western and English markets.
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EARLY SPRING 2015 Western & English Today 23 PETRIE F irst know that black is black, and it still rules, but colors are way in, and they are of en startling enough to make more conservative trainers wonder if boots weren't always meant to ref ect certain vivid hues of the rainbow. Devotees of Petrie Boots from Holland, for example, believe the footwear really is an extension of their personalities— whether blue or turquoise in jumping boots, or browns and rust for dressage. "We attend the International Leather Fair to see what's new, then buy leathers in the most popular colors," says company director Gerald Petrie. In the U.S. market for 25 years, he sells more dressage boots in America than his jumping styles, citing overall early adoption of colors in competitions "over there." Petrie also of ers a tantalizing selection of "allround" tall boots that are deemed all-around gorgeous, even though the company brands them mainly for less formal use. At Petrie's "Customize Your Boots" website, consumers can surf a caboodle of materials that include boxcalf, crocodile, patent and nubuck, and then choose their favorite sole and stitching, trim and more. At Petrie's exclusive U.S. retailer, Dressage Extensions in Moorpark, Calif., just north of Los Angeles, general manager Jill Waterman says some consumers check out Petrie's websites and then seek her out expertise for conf rmed f t and price. She also includes the line in a biannual catalog mailed to 48,000 customers, believing education is a great sales booster. Dressage Extensions, recently purchased by Dover Saddlery, also services retailers who want to sell Petrie, and Waterman would love to up those numbers. She adds a cautionary note about f t, noting it's easier to incur a high return rate if you don't know how to f t properly. "We'll go over this on the phone until you're tired," she promises with a chuckle. Petrie has 16 dif erent size combinations, with both height and width considered. "Customization features for the high end are really popular, but remember it takes time to make such a quality boot—and sometimes, of course, people want things right away," she says. She carries 700 pairs of Petrie boots in f ve styles and says her 2014 numbers show the Anky Elegance dressage boot was tops with her customers at MSRP $1,075.95. She also added Petrie's Sydney at MSRP $299.95. "It contains a small piece of leather to add stretchiness that better accommodates a range of sizes," she says. T e top of the price range, without lots of extra options, hovers around $1,200, says Waterman. CUSTOMERS RIDE THEIR IMAGINATIONS T he DeNiro Boot Company ensures its boots lives up to Italy's reputation as a destination for the f nest leather products. In Lecce, located in the "heel" of Italy's geographical boot shape, the company f rst made Western boots — one even named the "California" — since co-owner, Filippo Donadeo, is also an active amateur reiner. "Our boots are truly handmade and the soles aren't even bought from a supplier," says co-owner Irene Sendaco. "We use the lightest of leather — two layers and one of rubber — and they're so very comfortable. We of er a wide collection of boots because our customers like to 'imagine' their boots and like to customize as much as they want." She cites the Salento as a great-selling stock jumping boot at approximately MSRP $712.50, and the Raf aello dressage boot with a new close-f tting ankle design as a top choice in its category. Plain leather MSRP is $855, with Raf aello Top Rondine at $969.50. A wide variety of colors and leathers keeps options open for DeNiro customization. "T e workmanship is absolutely superior to anything that I've seen — just outstanding — and we really like the price points, says Gallops Saddlery owner Patty Cameron in Tigard, Ore. Proud of what she calls "a great boot program in general," she also likes dealing directly with the company and says DeNiro gets an "A+" for communication and for its comprehensive sizing chart. One store favorite remains the stock Quick Boot at just under $400, for dress or f eld use, "a great introduction to the tall boot world," says Cameron. "I've had great luck with custom boots — I f t them personally — and there are so many fabulous options." Another notable member of the Italian boot club in America, the Sergio Grasso brand from Verona takes its inspiration from the Grasso's family's commitment to "quality created by the craf smen, with the experience, care and the pride they exhibit in their work. Not the machinery." Pride of workmanship is job one for the founder, who also likes to inject a dose of humor. "Making a boot is not dif cult. T e dif culty lies in making a Sergio Grasso riding boot," says Sergio. Part of the Charles Owen & Co. family of brands, the company carries a "Young Line" with a technology that allows the same boot to be changed COLOR YOUR BOOT WORLD SERGIO GRASSO DENIRO BOOT COMPANY