November 28, 2020 (Small Business Saturday) by Gina Keesling
HoofPrints is SO SMALL...
well, it couldn't be any smaller than it is (one person)
Farriers Greeting Cards was started by Gina Keesling (me) in 1986 to provide promotional materials for farrier husband Rob. Along the way we became HoofPrints.com, adding a selection of fun horse and dog products. For years I tried to make the company seem bigger - to compete with the thick horsey catalogs that showed up in my mailbox.

I finally stopped trying to be something I am not. As I have gotten older and less energetic, it's been of paramount importance to streamline the operation so that I can continue to focus on procuring the unique and inspirational products that you all love. Special thanks are in order, also, to my husband Rob and his mom Judy - who help me get the products onto the shelves (folding and packaging) as well as back off and into boxes on their way to customers during busy holiday season.
But the "smallness" doesn't stop in the HoofPrints warehouse (it's a pole barn behind my house in the middle of a cornfield). I use a call center to answer my order line 24/7. Call Center Plus is not some detached entity in a foreign land that can't do much but frustrate callers. No, CCP is a small business success story of it's own. This company began as a home-based business 27 years ago. Founded by Ilene Christensen, a single mom with zero business experience as a means of supporting her children from home. With grit, and prayer, she grew the business, learning about computers, software, and servers needed by a call center. She became an IT specialist as she built and programmed the equipment. She recruited excellent employees and trained them well; I am proud to have their voices representing HoofPrints when you call. Read more about CCP.

And the smallness doesn't stop here, either. It continues with many of the products that HoofPrints stocks on our middle of a cornfield warehouse shelves.

So, instead of offering discount prices to entice you all to buy, I'd like to share some of my favorite products that come from small companies also, and encourage you to support them with your shopping dollars. ~G
SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESS IDEA #1
Horse and Dog Fabric Face Masks
Never in a million years would I have imagined a HoofPrints catalog with face masks. But, 2020 saw me sourcing that very thing from a couple artisan makers who'd adapted their businesses to producing these. There's a story about my hoarded fabric being repurposed for this application here.
I am guessing the gals who are making these never imagined they'd be doing that, either.

One (Astali) is a musician/jeweler in California who specializes in making unique jewelry out of found objects like bullet casings and feathers.

The other is a lawyer from Georgia who left the legal field last year to focus on her equestrian monogramming business The Mane Monogram.

Both have recruited their sewing skills to fill the need for durable, attractive masks made with horse and dog themed fabric. We have both fitted and reversible styles to choose from.
SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESS IDEA #2
Ass Kicking Pain Balm for Farriers & Other Hard Working Folks
This all natural, organic pain balm is made here in Indiana, by a woman entrepreneur. Also a chronic pain sufferer (MS and fibromyalgia), nurse Cynthia Gaultney set about formulating her own blend of effective balm to soothe her own aches and pain. Many iterations later, we think she's hit upon the perfect formula.
This stuff has none of the crazy strong smells that commercial balms have, and it doesn't just fire up your skin under the guise of helping deeper pain... in fact, it barely has much smell at all. It goes on like an emollient lotion, and then gets right to work without a smelly, mentholated fanfare. All natural balm is thick, like butter, and softens in warm environments. Apply sparingly (a little goes a long way) as needed.

The label art was created by Lesley Bruce, with a nod to the now-defunct Time To Retire poster that has been out of print for years - folks still ask for it.

Anyway, we're not condoning the kicking of anyone's ass(es) but instead acknowledging that it sometimes happens - and here's something to help you feel better afterward...
SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESS IDEA #3
Annie Oakley Perfumery's Journeys™ Calming Lavender Essentials for Horse & Rider
Annie Oakley Perfumery is a home based business that was founded in 1980 by a woman and her daughters. They started out creating hand blended fragrances and essential oils; recently branching out to include this line of lavender scented products designed to facilitate positive experiences for both horse and rider.
It's a three product collection designed to work together - formulated using 100% Lavandula Augustifolia (the rarest and highest quality lavender).
These fragranced products are designed to be used by both horse and rider, as an all natural tool to promote effective training and to ease tension. And it's not just anecdotal woo-woo "feel good" stuff. There is significant scientific evidence to confirm that it really works to promote calm and relaxation in horses too!
SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESS IDEA #4
Best gift idea EVER! HAND SIGNED CDs
Mary Ann Kennedy is the real deal... She's a professional in the music industry; and one of us - a horse owner and dog lover. Her song lyrics are thoughtfully written, and the music artfully performed. AND she donates a significant portion of her sales to help animals in need.
Unlike the mega stars whose music you can find in Wal-Mart, Mary Ann handles directly the production of her CDs. She ships them from her home in Tennessee, so she was able to hand sign the most recent batch that came to HoofPrints!

We horse and dog lovers are thrilled that Mary Ann took some time out of her very busy schedule to produce this music for us. She even wrote a song about Cleanin' Stalls! Mary Ann's affinity and appreciation for the finer points of horse care is apparent in each and every one of her songs. HoofPrints' customers seem to agree - these remain a best-seller year after year. I had a customer call a while back and order 7 sets of each of Mary Ann's CDs! She is confident that all her friends will love these as much as she does. While supplies last, Mary Ann's CDs are hand signed! What a lovely, special gift to present to the dog and horse lover on your shopping list!
SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESS IDEA #5
QuenchWater Farrier's Blend Coffee; It's strong enough to float a horseshoe!
QuenchWater Coffee is roasted, blended and ground in a circa 1922 brick building here in Alexandria, Indiana. Formerly the Glove Corporation, maker of Dura-Bull Gloves, it's now home to a number of local small businesses. Harrison Street Roasters makes their coffees in small batches, using a vintage roaster. HoofPrints is proud to join the ranks of their other customers; most being upscale restaurants located throughout the state.
QUENCHWATER COFFEE is a hit!
In fact, I was actually pleased when the pound that I'd gifted my parents at a Labor Day visit was promptly returned to me, along with the proclamation; "It's too strong!" Since the tagline is STRONG ENOUGH TO FLOAT A HORSESHOE, I considered this assessment to be indicative of a successful recipe/blend. And as selfish as it may sound, I was happy that there was another open bag that we could brew up every morning instead of the cheap grocery store stuff that we usually drink. We are big coffee drinkers here and us ending up consuming the profits on this product is a very real concern.
At any rate, it is strong, but it's tasty, too. Not burnt or bitter. A half pound bag is only $8.95 so you can try it without spending a lot of $$. Several farriers have already asked to reserve this size in quantity for client gifts.
The Quenchwater Coffee logo is available on shirts, too! Check out the Longsleeve Thermal and the Baseball Jersey.
SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESS IDEA #6
Vicky Kaseorg's Book; I'm Listening With A Broken Ear
This book is so good I think it'd make a great movie. It's 426 pages, and once I started I couldn't put it down until I was finished. In it, the author finds a pathetic, nearly dead dog abandoned in a parking lot. She brings her home and nurses her back to health. Somewhere along the way the family realizes they are in way over their heads as the dog has dangerous behavior issues that they can't manage. It's hard enough to find homes for dogs who behave perfectly, so rehoming this one was not an option.

This book is self published. That means the whole load was on Vicky to decide if a story merits the idea that others would like to read it. Then to type out and edit all those pages, clarifying and refining the story as you go... and send it off to a publishing house that facilitates such projects - before she ever knew if anyone would buy a single book.
That takes some real guts.
She took her good deed; rescuing and rehabbing a dangerous stray dog, and documented how it all went wrong, multiple times, as well as sharing her own role in the goings-wrong... and turned it into a story that makes you want to cheer - that's a small business endeavor that's well worth appreciating.
SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESS IDEA #7
Lizabettas Vintage Jewelry
This unique and lovely jewelry is made one piece at a time. The glass dome covering the picture is NOT a separate component that's fastened into the bezel. An assembly process that, at first blush, might seem rather simple. On the contrary - it's actually a special resin compound that comes in liquid form - and Tiffany pours the exact correct amount into each one - to encase and preserve the picture permanently within the pendant. I can't imagine how messy this process could be - she must have it mastered as I have never, ever received a piece from her that wasn't absolutely perfect. Shown is the lovely Found Vintage Necklace, featuring Walter Hunt's image of the print by the same name. You can order that here. Lizabettas also makes the Pharaoh's Horses Necklace that's sold here
SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESS IDEA #8
These 8 American Made signs...
are all HoofPrints' exclusives! NOT available from any other source - (full disclosure: I have both Amazon and eBay stores, so they are for sale there also, but those orders ship from the in-the-cornfield warehouse the same as HoofPrints website orders)
MADE IN USA is a big thing here. And I was delighted to discover a company in Northern Indiana that has perfected the manufacturing process on these high quality composite wood plaques; they are both awesome quality and reasonably priced.

The Blacksmith Shop/Farrier signs with black enamel background are solid aluminum, each cast by hand in a Southern Indiana foundry.

One of my faves is bottom right - If you are going to act like a TURD - Go lay in the PASTURE...
This goofy wood sign is a big hit every holiday season. It's surprisingly nice (if you can say that about something that refers to a turd) and is actually the first thing I go to when needing to choose an item for a White Elephant Gift Exchange; it's a good price (just under $25.) It always gets a chuckle, and is usually coveted by multiple gift openers before the game is over. To order that one click here
ABOUT THE COMPANY
Gina Keesling started HoofPrints in 1986 to provide helpful promotional materials for farrier husband Rob. Along the way she added a fun selection of horse and dog products geared toward women of a certain age. This newsletter is emailed to subscribers a few times a month. Watch for sales, stories, including the full story behind this lovely picture (that's available here) and more.
Follow HoofPrints on Facebook
I have awesome customer service reps available 24/7 to take your order or answer questions at 765-724-7004, or email gina@hoofprints.com