LIM Group recently merged with the EnviroEquine brand, an American company specialized in the marketing of natural nutritional supplements for horses. While we were in Wellington, we had the opportunity to meet Angela Brackett, founder of EnviroEquine and a keen rider, and Bertrand Pelletier, CEO of LIM Group USA. It allowed us to learn more about EnviroEquine and review the synergies possible between these two worlds, animal nutrition on one hand, and saddlery on the other.
Emilie Jeanjean (E.J.): Hello both of you and thank you for taking the time to do this interview! Angela, can you tell us what led you to create EnviroEquine? How did you wake up one morning with the idea of creating horse feed?
Angela Brackett (A.B.): Hi Emilie, first and foremost, I’m delighted to share my experience with all of you! Put simply health and nutrition have always really mattered to me. I played many sports growing up, from long-distance running to rowing. As I went from show horses to racehorses at an early age, I noticed that the care provided for high-level horses could be compared to that of a human athlete. But this wasn’t recognized or widely accepted in the industry.
After studying this question for many years, I decided to start researching how food chosen by humans could be adapted to horses.
The idea was to provide an alternative to commonly used feeds. In May 2015, I launched the production of “Gastro Balance Original”, which was my first supplement. Since then, this product has become a real brand best-seller.
E.J.: I noticed that the brand was very attached to the “from farm to stable” local food system. This societal and environmental issue is really important to us at LIM Group, tell us about your approach!
A.B.: I’m also very attached to respecting the environment! I’m very involved in ensuring our products are entirely traceable, which is really unique in the equine industry today. We are also the only company in the world to produce certified, organic fully fortified feeds. We only use minerals that are known to be highly bioavailable. This means that when an animal eats our products, the waste products it emits have a low probability of contaminating water sources near its living environment. This not only allows us to make a very effective product, but also explains why it is important to know your food sources.
In addition, we encourage our customers to reduce, reuse, and generally be aware of what they are feeding their animals, and also the waste they produce to do so.
E.J.: What made you consider this merger?
A.B.: The brand needed to develop its potential and Lim Group provided the support and knowledge required to do so. So it was quite natural for us to merge.
Bertrand Pelletier (B.P.): Following the merger with the Audevard & Ravene Laboratories in France, it seemed right to position ourselves on the nutritional supplements market in the United States as well, with a brand that was already established, which was produced locally and formulations that meet the requirements of the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). EnviroEquine was one of the specialists in this field and was the company that best met the requirements of this market and LIM’s objectives in this area.
E.J.: What are your plans to develop the brand?
B.P.: We spent 6 months testing different markets and ways of approaching them, and we determined that we would initially focus on Thoroughbred horses with a small and efficient team. Racing is where Angela first tested the EnviroEquine range and where she has most of her contacts. It seemed only natural to start there, as racing customers only use what works; and they place particular importance on cost, given the daily requirements involved in caring for a large number of horses.
At the same time, we are strengthening the foundations that EnviroEquine has established over the last few years in the hunter/jumper, dressage, and Western riding markets based on a multi-pronged approach, in particular by developing websites and existing relationships in distributor networks.
E.J.: How big is the current distribution network?
B.P.: Jose, Jessica, Sommer, and Betsy are fully involved in the business plan and are actively involved in field sales. We also have several resellers (veterinary clinics and stores) as well as an online presence.
E.J.: Who are EnviroEquine’s major customers?
A.B.: Most of our customers are breeders, and specialists who prepare Thoroughbred horses for sales, but also racehorse pre-trainers and racecourse trainers. We are also in the process of opening some “hunter-jumper” stables. We rely on structures that already like EnviroEquine products to contribute to increasing brand awareness.
E.J.: Which synergies can be created with Lim Group? Which teams are involved in the project?
B.P.: We are using Lim Group’s logistics and the customer service department thanks to Hermann’s team. For sales and marketing, Angela and her 4 “rock star” colleagues are pushing sales! A perfect combination!
E.J.: Do you want to expand outside the US in the long term?
B.P.: Yes, we are working on launching production and sales in Europe early next year, just with the racing world initially. Racing is very international, the key players have several playing fields and are looking for a single supplier which is global, consistent, and customer-service oriented.
EnviroEquine will be able to meet all these requirements professionally and enthusiastically!