The Tailored Sportsman Debacle

The Tailored Sportsman Debacle is brought to us by our guest blogger, Joanne. If you spend time on social media and have lots of equestrian friends, you have likely already heard something about it. We will start by going over the “story”, followed by Joanne’s personal thoughts, and finishing with my 2 cents.

 

Tailored Sportsman Debacle

 

BY: Joanne Scott

 

Last week, this post circulated to my Facebook feed by fellow equestrian Brianna Janson.

 

PSA to my fellow equestrians: This is how the owner of Tailored Sportsman treats their customers for selling a pair of breeches I personally own and paid for(for slightly less than retail). Please keep in mind I have no relation with the company as a retailer. If anyone wasn’t already irritated by their pricing and policies, here’s one for the books. I won’t be buying the brand first hand from the company or any tack stores EVER again personally. Feel free to share! #equestrianawareness #tailoredsportsman

 

 

The included screen shots included comments from Brianna’s sales post in a Tailored Sportsman resale group.  The owner of Tailored Sportsman, Susan Isaacs, was a member of the resale group and commented on Brianna’s ad.  Susan accused Brianna of “bootlegging” brand new breeches, and the situation quickly escalated.

 

 

 

Brianna’s post has received over 200 shares and 300+ comments/likes within the few days since it was posted.

 

As a pretty astute consumer, I was appalled to see such a public quarrel by a brand owner.  Throughout my years of horse ownership, I have bought and sold many new and used items that wound up being resold.  Sometimes for profit – yes.  I once purchased a saddle for $900 and resold it in a week for $2500.  The owner of the BNM (Big Name Manufacturer) didn’t come after me, accusing me of bootlegging a product.

 

Since this conversation came to light, I’ve had questions wandering through my head.

 

When did customer service become so easily dismissed?  In a niche market with upcoming competition boasting better quality and lower price points, how can a business owner make such a reckless display without a second thought to how this would impact her business?

 

As a consumer, I prefer to spend my hard-earned, penny-pinched dollars on products that will provide a good return on investment.  Sometimes, that investment comes from years of use and abuse.  Other times, that investment comes from a resale prospect.

 

Putting aside quality, price point, and investment, I also prefer to do business with small businesses with a personal touch.  There are other retailers online now that are quick to answer a chat window or provide personal advice via a phone call.  This documented exchange with the owner of TS has me cringing at the thought of picking up the phone and having a chat with Susan Isaacs.

 

Now, this specialized, niche company within an already segmented specialized, niche market has lost a customer.  Several actually, if you include Brianna Janson, a bunch of supporters who have seen her viral post, and this guest blog writer.

 

 

BY:  Kelly (Hunky Hanoverian)

 

tailored sportsman hunky hanoverian
love my TS breeches, which fit like a glove

 

When I first got wind of the back and forth between Brianna and Susan, I instantly went to Brianna’s FB page to read the comments. Hundreds of people were posting and sharing their opinions. Now, I am not here to pass judgement. Even though we have screenshots, it is impossible to fully know both sides of the story.

Many people were backing-up Susan and discussing how she tries her hardest to price control, to help smaller businesses from being out sold by mega stores. Other small business owners chimed in that Susan can be very difficult to work with, citing that they don’t get to decide what TS products to stock. Apparently, Susan decides what to send stores, and this often results in unsold product sitting on shelves for ages. Several small business owners said they refuse to stock TS products due to all the restrictions attached to them.

 

tailored sportsman hunky hanoverian
Trophy Hunters in Airforce blue bought from my local tack store (Quail Hollow)

 

It seemed that the majority of comments were made by outraged consumers though. Manyyyyyy people said they would no longer support TS after seeing the back and forth between owner and consumer. It seems that the large majority of equestrian consumers place high value on customer service, and would not be able to overlook the way Susan spoke to Brianna.

 

So what do I think? I also place high value on customer service, and standing behind one’s product. Several customers and small business owners said that it can be very difficult to get TS to replace or repair defective breeches. This complaint in particular gives me pause. When I spend $190 on breeches, I want to know that if the threading starts to come undone on the 3rd wearing for no apparent reason (ie the breeches fit, were not snagged on anything, etc) that they would be replaced/repaired at the expense of the company. Unfortunately, that does not always seem to be the case from many stories I have heard from other equestrians. If TS DOES agree to repair the product, it can be a lengthy and bothersome process. Between these stories, and the apparent disrespect shown by Susan to consumers (Brianna’s situation is NOT the first time I have heard of Susan acting rudely).

 

I am not sure I will be supporting TS anymore. Although I REALLY like the fit of TS breeches on me (seriously, they are a perfect fit), I think that in the future I will only purchase TS breeches second hand, and save my new purchases for other brands, with a better reputation for customer service and appreciation.

 

 

Hunky Hanoverian would love to hear your thoughts!  Will this post influence your decision to buy Tailored Sportsman products?  Would you prefer to buy from a company with solid customer service?

 

 

 

 

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30 comments

  1. As an alternative- Le Fash breeches fit beautifully and the customer service from the company and owner Arianna Vastino is second to none!

  2. HOLY COW. That is a potential (and active) PR disaster. I cannot believe that an owner would directly confront someone repeatedly as opposed to offering offline or private communication. She’s very aggressive and that is an instant turn off. I’m a big fan of TS too; and I totally admit to selling/reselling their products (for example: a brand new pair that I bought pre-baby that did not work). What an odd situation.

    If she wants to police, I think she may want to consider if this buyer in question had bought more than 1 pair? It’s a lot of effort to “steal” less than $100 from a retailer. Just my thought.

  3. I own a tack shop that has been selling TS breeches since the 1980’s when the 2way stretch green-beige color was worn(ugh). We have never just been sent product by Susan and her company. What company does that and what small business just takes items? If a company just sent me product and told me “Too bad”, that would be 1 company I would never buy from again.

    In regard to returning defective items, we have maybe sent back 15 pairs in 32 years of doing business together for a problem. How long did the return take to get back? Maybe 2 weeks – keeping in mind that 2 weeks shipping is 2 days each direction.

    Susan is amazingly passionate about her product. Does she come across as pushy sometimes? Of course, but I think everyone (that is great in their field) can be perceived as pushy from time to time.
    I greatly appreciate the TS pricing policy. Keeps smaller stores like myself on an even playing field with the box stores. Muchly appreciated on my end.

    1. Thank you so much for commenting and sharing your experience- that is really good to know about the inventory! I had ‘heard’ that, so thank you for clearing it up as an untruth. Also, it is good to hear your first hand account of TS taking bac the few defective breeches you have handled and getting them back to the consumer in a timely manner. It is always nice to hear from both sides of a story, and I appreciate you sharing your feedback.

  4. I’ve never met the owner, but in working at a tack store, we’ve had her “friends” come in to make sure we were selling her product at the correct price, and at one point whether we were selling it at all. Because TS had a contract with another tack store in the area, we weren’t allowed to carry them for years, and to think she would send an associate into our store to check on us is really ridiculous.

    Passionate is not a word I would use to describe her that’s for sure.

    Especially when there are other great brands out there that could easily replace them. RJ classic gulf breeches for example are SUPER comfortable and a bit more affordable at just over 150. Tredstep hunter classic breeches are also nice at a good price point. There’s just no need for her behavior. 🙁

  5. I worked for a tack shop here in the Midwest. It is TS policy to send whatever merchandise they choose to send if you want to sell the breeches. But one another note TS will replace zippers at no charge to the customer (only thing is you have to pay postage both ways) which I thought was a good thing

    1. I do the purchasing of TS for our tack store and have never heard of such a thing. I get to choose exactly the styles, colors and quantities that work for us. There are minimums you have to order each year in breeches and other categories … but the choice of exactly what we purchase is mine. Perhaps you misunderstood? I’ve never just been “sent” product without approval from any manufacturer.

  6. wow what an interesting op-ed piece. And I am telling you facebook and the inability to ‘shout’ in public is the issue in this world today. Why would you have a conversation like that in public? There are a thousand other ways to discuss in private. I have not dealt with TS before but it makes me want to do a wide berth now. And there are SO many breeches out there. Jeez it is not like she is curing cancer or anything. RIDING BREECHES. Sure they may be nice but RIDING BREECHES LMAO. People 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    1. Absolutely agree- they are only breeches! Especially when there are SO MANY other great breeches on the market today… it’s not like she has a monopoly on the industry and can act however she wants!

  7. I already commented on Instagram but I feel like I should say it here too… this company/owner has always been like this. After experiencing the rudeness first hand a few years ago, I have opted not to purchase any more TS products. What you saw in this incident is just the tip of the iceberg. There are plenty of other companies out there these days that make nice breeches and also have exceptional (or at least friendly) customer service. I respect what they’re trying to do, but they go about it in absolutely the worst possible way. I just can’t get behind that.

  8. Wow. You’d think I’d cease being shocked by the audacity of people on the internet, but then something new happens and I’m shocked. Just. Wow.

  9. I contacted Susan the owner of TS a few years ago inquiring into getting TS back into our shop, after maybe 10 years since carring them. I had never ordered from her before and was going by the information I was given by the owner of the shop. In years past when ordering in order to get in the breeches you had to carry a certain amount of the jackets also, ( which unfortunately had never sold well for us) when inquiring if this was still in affect with having to purchase some jackets, I was immediately interrupted by Susan and she said that “if I just stayed quiet she would explain her current policy To me” unbelievable way to treat a potential customer. I did make an Appointment at Aeta to sign up and purchase from her, being new to her booth I made the mistake to walk back behind the tables to look at the products before my appointment, I was approached and told I was not allowed to be back there, isn’t that what aeta is about to look at products? So later at my appointment i had the most unprofessional young lady helping me out, doing her hair, chewing gum, sitting crossed legged in her chair, etc I really felt like I was interrupting her in some way, long story, short We decided we will never carry TS again, life is too short to deal with difficult people.

    1. Wow. Just wow. Thank you so much for sharing your first hand experiences with TS. Everyone story like this that comes out just cements my decision that there are more worthy companies out there that deserve my business more. SMH!

  10. It is not just the restrictions on selling them that turns tack stores away, its the GIGANTIC opening order one has to do to even START bringing them in. When you are a small business, spending upwards of $20k (don’t quote me on that exact amount) on JUST breeches in ONE order is absurd !

    The store I work at tried to bring them in – we don’t have a big enough market to bring in such a huge order for our tiny, already overflowing store.

    Dyon is the same, you have to bring in literally every piece of equipment they have. Even if it will never sell to your market. But they allow trade-in’s in 2-3 years if you still have it. And you can’t put a sale price on it.

  11. Susan is incredibly difficult to deal with and a real B, so this doesn’t surprise me at all. Once when I was doing our seasonal order at a trade show I said no to show shirts and she told me to my face “You’ll be sorry.” If TS didn’t sell so well we would have gotten rid of them a long time age. After this my former employer IS getting rid of them.

  12. I just started working in a local tack store that carries RJ classics and Ariat. That’s where my money will be going when I need to purchases new breeches or a show shirt.

    Years ago I worked in a mobile tack shop and I remember the owner of the shop saying that the minimum purchase amount to even carry Tailored Sportsman was quite high, probably out of reach for very small stores, or those just getting off the ground.

    I have no personal beef with TS, but you cannot treat customers/buyers/what-have-you that way. Regardless of how nice your product is, it will make no one want to buy it. I can’t believe the owner of a pretty big company would argue on a Facebook post like that. Absolutely appalling.

  13. As a consumer I hope her business fails miserably. She is very clearly an elitist and has no respect for the “common folk” who purchase her merchandise. I’ve been a proud supporter of the TS Brand for almost 20 years and that’s all I needed to see to become a proud non-supporter. See ya on the flip side, don’t let the door hit you on the way out; bye Susan (and all those who support her).

    1. Agreed! I can’t wait to find new favorite breeches to support- and you can bet I won’t be promoting anything TS after this.

  14. TS needs to discern between a customer selling a single pair of breeches vs. a a large company/retailer trying to skirt around the TS minimum selling price agreement. Obviously TS ownership struck out majorly in this case and sounds like in many others. Imo, the bigger issue is that TS has not kept up with it’s competitors in terms of product offering, fabric technology, design, etc. let alone customer service and they have chosen to misplace their energy. Just look at how many brands of breeches are now in the market. If TS is to survive they need to stop resting on their brand laurels, stop making untenable demands on their retailers and get busy competing or they will continue to loose and it wont be because of Amazon.

  15. It would be nice if you used the screen shots of the complete exchange and not just the ones the disgruntled seller cherry picked. And she’s not some random Suzy Q selling one pair of wrong-sized breeches. She does a brisk business selling on FB. Industry insiders all know that Susan and TS generally can be a little salty, but Brianna is just out for blood here when the company owner wanted to help her exchange the breeches and she really just wanted the money because her story is probably bunk anyway. It would be nicer if Susan was friendlier, but she’s not unlike many high-end brands in and out of the equestrian industry. Just my $0.02.

    1. Hi,

      What screen shots are you referring to? I am the one who selected the screen shots for the story. If you’d like to supply some additional ones I can work with HH to get this post updated.

      Thanks,
      Joanne

  16. Wow what a story. I am a larger size rider and TS doesn’t make breeches to fit my size. That is okay because as much as I like the brand they are WAY OVERPRICED.
    Who can spend $200 on breeches? Certainly not me. Even on sale I still can’t afford them. Same goes for the rest of their line. I don’t even spend that much money on street clothes. The owner has a lot of balls thinking she can control what people sell her product for. Is she going to monitor Ebay because people sell new TS for way less. Thanks.

  17. I think I will move on the another brand. That is unacceptable for a brand owner to attack a end consumer for selling something not useful to her. This brand owner has a big head.

  18. TS are the only britches I have worn since I was a teen. Today I am in my mid 40s. Their fit is just amazing especially for certain body types. If cared for well (labels say not to put them in the dryer) they last forever. Based on the FB dialogue I can understand the various reactions. I have known Susan for over a decade. She is a New Yorker like myself. We can be rough around the edges. I have known her personally, as a barnmate and I have also represented TS at the trade shows. Susan deep down has a true heart.

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