After more than 40 years in the lead here, founder Suzanne Vlietstra will be retiring at the end of 2017. She will be handing over the reins of Hobby Horse Clothing Co. to Kristin Darnall-Titov.
Darnall-Titov been a Hobby Girl since she was seven years old. Over the years she modeled in dozens of the company’s catalogs.
“Part of the fun of running this business for so long, for me, is seeing ‘my kids’ grow up, and more than a handful have made me proud. Always determined and focused, Kristin is one of those people who always has a plan, who sets goals and achieves them, who finds a way. She leased and groomed and catch-rode horses while saving up for her own, and then bought and sold those horses, no matter how beloved, to keep moving towards her dreams,” said Vlietstra in her blog post.
“Kristin and I come from similar backgrounds. Both of our single-parent mothers were school teachers who did all they could to make show ends meet. Where my mom Mary Lou made costumes for haunted houses to buy my first show saddle, Kristin’s mom Lynell worked at a fast-food joint after her teaching day ended to get her daughter to all the shows in the circuit. Our moms supported our horse hobby... and these great ladies later became dear friends, discussing the many adventures of their horse-crazy daughters.”
“Ask any entrepreneur: it’s very hard to find the right person to take over your business that you’ve raised from a seed. It’s a financial choice, sure, but it’s also an emotional decision: who can I trust to keep things going, who will take care of my customers and my employees, who will keep the good and update the things that are ready for change? Who will respect what I’ve built, but take it forward in ways that I cannot?” wrote Vlietstra.
Here is a video on the passing of the reins - https://youtu.be/QI5fGUETsIk