Since 2009 The Horse has built a reputation for its classic leather lifestyle goods. The brand is run by partners in life and business, Amy and Scott Hawkes. At the crux of their business is their refined collection of classic watches.
They started out as many family businesses do, working from their kitchen table. The Horse initially began as a leather-footwear brand, though its identity and popularity grew significantly when Amy and Scott introduced a range of timepieces in 2013. Now, with a large portfolio of stockists and a growing team, they’ve made the move to a large warehouse space, tucked away in the industrial part of Caringbah in Sydney’s south.
A white neon logo marks the entrance to their warehouse inside which high shelves are stacked neatly with boxes of product. Dispatch happens on large workbenches in the middle of the room. Their succinct business motto is “magnifying what is essential, editing out excess”, and they apply this to their working space. The upstairs office is tidy and bright. There is a neat kitchen in which the team has Friday lunches together. Plants and flowers – from their florist friends The Sisters in Engadine – occupy corners and tables.
There is an inherent sense of ease in the studio, which is surprising given business operations are increasing rapidly. The team dispatches more than 100 products a day from sales made on The Horse website. The wholesale side of the business manages accounts with 200 stockists worldwide, including online retailers such as The Iconic and Surfstitch.
Scott is a registered nurse who has always had a hand in manufacturing. He has worked with leather since 2004 when he launched leathergoods brand Status Anxiety with friend Will Sked. “I’m always thinking of ideas for products and really enjoy the sourcing phase,” he says.
Scott and Amy choose the colourways for the brand’s timepieces diligently, and their designs are simple and functional; the two qualities necessary for something worn everyday. This month they are launching a range of everyday leather accessories; a simple block-colour wallet, an oversized bag with rope handles and a carryall tote. Each has been developed in their instantly recognisable style; classic designs with a modern detail, a tapered stitch or a textured embellishment.
The pair has moved at its own pace and has learned a lot about the importance of saying no. “I think the biggest lesson we’ve learned is to just be ourselves. Stick to our own lane and run our own race. And then secondly, ensure we have the right people working alongside us.”
Scott and Amy are at ease working together so close to home, and it's reflected in The Horse aesthetic – the seaside blues, sandy yellows; the colour palette of their local beaches around Cronulla.
The Horse watches don’t make phone calls or count kilometres but, mirroring the Hawkes’s approach to business, they might remind you to take things one step at a time.