Starting a business during a pandemic could be daunting. Many people are adjusting to the work-from-home set-up, some lost their jobs, and companies are running behind schedule. However, if you are passionate about what you do, nothing can stop you. Let’s take it from Candace Kinser, a polo player from New Zealand who courageously built Tailshot Polo during the pandemic.
While some were busy making sourdough bread and finishing a Netflix series, Candace found herself building an online polo shop for women. “When I started playing polo in mid-2019, it was quite hard to find women’s sizes and designs for polo gears. I ended up paying a fortune ordering things from half a dozen suppliers overseas,” she narrates.
This dreadful experience inspired Candace to start building Tailshot Polo in March 2020. With the rise of women polo players in New Zealand, she felt that having a polo shop dedicated to women and the beautiful lifestyle around the sport is the goal.
A few months later, Tailshot Polo became the go-to of Kiwi polo players looking for the perfect woman-size clothing and equipment. The shop carries a variety of brands for women (and for horses, too!). From helmets to gloves and jeans to boots, the shop surely has it!
“When I was looking at the products for the shop, I literally started with the top of my head and worked my way down to my toes—and the same thing for the pony,” the brilliant entrepreneur recalls, noting that she is even “happy to source things specifically if a customer is in need of it.”
Tailshot Polo’s most popular items are their white jeans, gloves, belts, and boots. Colorful polo bandages come as runner-ups as well. Apart from these, the shop also offers collectible items like vintage jewelry, art, home furnishings, and decor.
Further down the line, Candace started adding polo holidays and camps with special programs for women players in her shop, too. “I linked them to the website as a resource for others, so they won’t need to spend hours searching out locations that had a focus on women,” she details.
Candace’s passion is truly remarkable. She has only played polo for 18 months, yet she’s already successful in empowering women players. This is rooted in her passion for horses that started when she was younger. Coming from an equestrian family in Texas, she is not a stranger to them. She used to do eventing after moving to New Zealand, but after a car accident, she wanted to find a team sport instead.
Her decision to look into polo and take introductory lessons with Kel Ainsley at Bombay Hills Polo Club was a win. Three lessons after, she flew to Argentina for a five-day lesson at La Aguada and played with some high goalers. She got hooked and fell in love with polo after learning that it’s, indeed, not just a sport but a lifestyle.
“It involves people of all walks of life, the club affiliations, and how, as a club, we do not only play but socialize and share life’s ups and downs together,” Candace says, emphasizing that the friends she made through the sport made her feel like having a huge family anywhere in the world that genuinely cares, loves the sport, and the horses.
In the future, Candace hopes to grow her customer base within New Zealand and Australia. She is also looking into representing up and coming polo brands and products from women-owned businesses. “I truly believe the future of women in polo is very bright. We all need to support one another to keep the momentum going and make anything possible for the future generations,” she ends.
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Pámela Piedad is a journalist, author, designer, and the Editor-in-Chief of POLO LADY Magazine.