People began to take notice and asked where the outfit was made. Susan recalls a judge following them to their stall to inquire. Soon, Susan was being asked if she would make clothes for others.
“I began wondering if I could do this for a living,” Susan reflected, “I just told Scott, ‘I want to quit my job and design show wear.’”
“The next thing I know, a semi pulled up out front and began unloading fabric and materials,” Scott said.
Riding High USA was born in 2001. Their logo was designed by Ken Carter, the same designer who crafted the iconic “Marlboro Man” silhouette. Patriotic red and blue with a horse’s mane resembling a waving flag, their logo is a reflection of the Rummels’ endearing pride in their country.
Their clothes have been worn by dozens of rodeo queens and entertainers around the world, including Ms. Rodeo America, Ms. Rodeo USA and Country Gospel Entertainer of the Year, Renee Lee. The company has sent garments to nearly 20 different countries and every state in the U.S., according to Scott.
Riding High USA apparel has been featured in “Vogue” magazine as well as “Horse & Rider.” The Rummels were even invited to Cody, Wyoming for the exclusive High Styles Runway Fashion Show with noted designers Manuel and Project Runway Star Jonathan Kayne.
Keeping their headcount scalable, Riding High USA contracts six seamstresses who help them meet demand. The average outfit can range from a couple of days to a week to make – their most extreme gown requiring six months. With some outfits commanding more than 6,000 hand-placed beads and gems, a Riding High USA creation is no simple task.
“Most of our outfits are our own custom design, but sometimes our customers have an idea and we work with them to produce it,” Scott explained.
With a solid footing in high-end western wear, Riding High USA is expanding their breadth.
“We have even begun making wedding dresses,” Susan shared.
Their gowns, shirts and jackets sell for anywhere between $600 and $10,000, with $1,800 being the average. The company sells their clothing out of their Brush Prairie studio, on their website (www.ridinghighusa.com) and through a travelling store that runs the rodeo and show circuit.
According to Scott, Riding High USA’s marketing strategy is very straight forward: get their name out and help win coronations. The company regularly offers scholarships to girls who could not otherwise afford such an outfit. This allows them to push the limits on design and place their own stamp on the western wear world. This strategy has proved to be tremendously successful, for both the wearer and Riding High.
When asked about Riding High’s secret to success, Scott said, “We base all of our decisions on our client’s needs, not ours.”
“That and faith. Lots and lots of faith,” Susan added.