Small Business Makes Functional Equestrian Products Beautiful

So Southern is a premium boutique that specializes in making functional items beautiful, especially equestrian items. They began by making English saddle covers and have since expanded their product line to include Western saddle covers, Warmblood bonnets, helmet bags and other items all handmade from designer fabrics.

So Southern was founded in 2012 when owner Pat Nulis could not find a cover for her new saddle. "All I found were unappealing covers made from synthetic materials," says Nulis. "I wanted a breathable material that looked beautiful yet was practical for a busy mom." Nulis designed a machine washable saddle cover that would protect the saddle from dust, scratches and the sun while allowing breathability. Once the first saddle cover was produced, it was only a matter of time until the positive feedback and requests from friends inspired Nulis to start her own business.

Since its founding, Nulis has chosen products inspired by her life and her friends. All products are named after the person who inspired them. So Southern's original product the Levendi English Saddle Cover is named after Nulis' horse. Other product names include the Mary Jane Western Saddle Cover, the Aimee Warmblood Bonnet, and the Emily Helmet Bag. After learning a friend was diagnosed with cancer, Nulis designed the Marjorie Chemo Hat. 

So Southern believes strongly in giving back. "I thought it was very important for us to develop a charitable giving strategy, even as a young company," says Nulis. This year, So Southern is donating 10% of all Marjorie Chemo Hat sales to The St. Baldrick's Foundation, a charity committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers.

Nulis operates So Southern from her home and sells her products through Etsy, the popular online marketplace for handmade and craft items. Recently, So Southern expanded to offer in-house monogramming. "Monogramming is a unique way to personalize items or add a little something special to a gift," says Nulis. So Southern will monogram any of their products or you can send them an item for monogramming.

Despite the difficult economy, So Southern had a great first year. "Response to our products has been wonderful! There is nothing like our saddle covers out there so people are always excited when they see them for the first time," says Nulis. "The future for So Southern is bright and we have big plans to keep making functional products beautiful."

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