Name: Kelly Artz
City: Corona, CA
Main Hustle: I am the founder and owner of Entrigue Consulting, LLC, which is a full service equestrian and small business marketing agency. In 2018 the company went global, serving clients in Canada, Australia, and Europe. We are the largest digital agency working across all horse sports in the equine world and expanded last year to offer our services to small businesses working to navigate niche markets.
We specialize in niche marketing strategy for startups and have deep roots in the equestrian and horse racing industries, where navigation of industry specifics is critical. We provide rider representation to Olympic athletes, hall of fame jockeys, negotiate athlete and sports sponsorships, build websites and e-commerce platforms, offer small business social media management and content production, among our many services. As a boutique agency, we consult with each client to individually tailor marketing and digital branding for strategic growth.
Side Hustle: I am also the designer, president and majority shareholder of Anique Inc., a women’s outdoor apparel line that launched in 2018. We are a Made in USA company providing female equestrians, golfers, tennis players, and more stylish athletic options, offering cooling technology and UVP (along with rose gold zippers). I have managed to build a successful boutique retail network and done many of the sales through our e-commerce site. I personally package all of the orders in my home office/mini warehouse.
How did you get started?: I did a documentary for my MFA Thesis at UCLA on female jockeys and began working with a company called Arias Whips to help expand their presence in the horse sport of eventing. I have been an active equestrian my whole life and grew up in the sport, so I would sell whips for the brand and helped build their sponsorship program outside of horse racing and management to make a small mint for the owner, Carlos Arias, who still works with Entrigue today. After this I got asked to help some professional riders build their websites and social media, as well as the saddle company, Equipe, which is based in Italy, to help align the brand in the United States. My strategic efforts to connect athletes and brands in relationships and ability to bring high production value creatives to the equestrian market created a flood of opportunities and the company needed to become a “company.” It was my original side hustle. I eventually left my paying job working as a financial analyst in advertising production to work on Entrigue full time.
When/where do you work on your Side Hustle?: It started in 2017 as an idea. I like to call Sun Shirts the “underwear” for equestrians. Everyone wears them–all the time. You want lots of colors and comfort. The problem I found with the shirts on the market was that the cut and sew, in order to allow for cooling, was made of thin fabrics, which literally reminded me of underwear. I have a curvier body type, and I always felt like the flat cut silhouette didn’t do much to help women of a variety of shapes hide any of their problem areas; in fact they really exposed the extra squish! I decided I wanted to find a way to develop a shirt with just as many cooling properties, but that could be made out of a richer feeling textile, and we could have fun with the details. I introduced rose gold zippers to the sun shirt scene, and people have loved it so much!
What are the challenges of your Side Hustle?: I am often extremely busy with my marketing company, so the hardest part is what I call the “garage phase grind” for any start up. It’s literally the hustle. We treat Anique like any other client at Entrigue for social media, etc.–except it generally comes last. I have to work hard to make sure that I am continuing to push to expand the brand, and that has worked largely due to building a great team of sales reps.
With any fashion manufacturing company, the toughest part is moving along inventory fast enough to produce the next season! It’s a grind, but something that is a bit exciting as the equestrian and golf markets have different seasons from your typical markets and different rushes for horse show season, etc., so my work with Entrigue has really helped here.
What are the rewards of your Side Hustle?: Well, it is super fun to see everyone wearing the shirts all the over the country and even globe! People tag us in social media with their ponies, golfing in Bali, hiking in Japan, and that feels really rewarding. People always tell me how soft the shirt is and how much they love the rose gold zippers.
Who is your greatest supporter?: I have a board of directors for Anique. I actually had to make a 60-page business plan and bring on investors in order to form the company. I could not have started it without some of my dearest friends: Saling Simon, Lena Persson, and Susan and Dusty Williams. They believed in my work ethic and passion and trusted me to use what I had to build something more, which has happened with Anique, and I am so excited for it to grow. I also could not run the company without Helene Langer, who always honks the horn pushing us forward when I get consumed with Entrigue, and Anique still has needs.
Who/what is your greatest source of inspiration?: I really admire Sarah Blakely. I think she is an example of how you can build something from your tiny little “single girl” apartment into a multi-million dollar company. I would say Yvon Chouinard is another huge source of inspiration and example for me. I really believe in the way Patagonia and Spanx were founded and operate, and I have tried to incorporate Chouinard’s ‘Let your people go fishing’ into a ‘Let your people go riding’ mentality from day one with both of my companies in managing the staff.
What is your dream for your Side Hustle?: It is my dream to expand Anique’s outerwear and outdoor collection for women into a global outerwear player.
I would love to create fashion-forward, functional options for women who love to be active–not just equestrians, but climbers and more.
It’s my dream to one day sponsor a female climber for a K2 expedition in my jackets and gear. It’s also my dream that the company grows enough to be able to invest millions of dollars into our initiative, Kold Kids, and we can manufacture warm clothing for children living in cold climates in low-income families and poverty, whether that be at the base of mountains like Kilimanjaro and Everest or inner city schools in Chicago, Detroit, etc.
Do you have any advice for others working on a Side Hustle?:
A jockey agent once told me there was no way for a jock to get horses other than to beat the pavement—you just have to start.
If you don’t know how to do something, teach yourself or find someone who can teach you or become a part of your team. I knew nothing about fashion design other than having basic sewing skills, and I cannot write java script, but I have a fantastic team of people who can, and we make beautiful things together. I teach myself how to do a lot of things, and I just redesign and redefine until I figure out a pathway.