Meet the Maker: Becky D'Arcy | Safe-Care Equine
We discovered Safe-Care Equine at Olympia back in 2016, initially trying their Leather & Tack Cleaner. I had some old bits of tack to clean up to sell on and had heard great things about this brand. I wasn't disappointed! The Cleaner made light work of my slightly mouldy tack and I haven't looked back since, using it every time I clean tack.
Fast-forward to two years later and the inception of Honest Riders. Safe-Care was one of the first brands added to our list as the simplicity of their products and their natural credentials are totally in line with our values. I couldn't miss the opportunity to meet with Becky and chat about the fascinating world of Safe-Care...
So Becky, when did you launch Safe-Care Equine?
In 2010 but under another brand called Noah’s Ark as the core range was suitable (and still is) for all kinds of animals. As the products are natural they can be used on any animal but we found that it was harder to sell this broader concept and most people seemed to want the safety and familiarity of either an ‘equine’ or ‘canine’ label. So, in 2014 we re-branded as Safe-Care Equine and focused on the equestrian market.
What prompted you to start selling horse care in the first place?
We were fed-up with reading labels to see what ingredients were in shampoos and skin care products for our horses. Like most people, over the years we’ve seen a shift in human skin care and household products with a move to a more natural and less chemical society. We figured we owed the same courtesy to our animals – after all they didn’t have a choice! It was really hard to find though at that time, at least, and we set about coming up with our own. We worked with bio-chemists to come up with a few core products and then did some testing and had amazing feedback - people seem to love the products!
And what was it that made you decide to create products from natural ingredients?
We wouldn’t use anything on our horses that we wouldn’t use on ourselves. We hear stories about people using diesel, bleach, washing up liquids etc on their horses and these are all highly toxic and I’m pretty sure those people wouldn’t use those things on themselves! Science knows for sure now that household chemicals – things we all have under our sinks – contribute to cancers and all manner of illnesses. Our animals have no choice and they rely on us to care for them so we believe that a natural approach is the best possible care we can give.
What kind of riding are you into?
I grew up doing the Pony Club thing and generally careering around the countryside at speed on my trusty pony Brandy. Jumping was always my favourite discipline but as I got older and work & career kicked in, I became more of a happy hacker. About a year ago though, I started having classical dressage lessons at Lomond Classical Riding School in Surrey and I am loving it. They have Iberian Horses and I met the instructor through our sponsorship of Sussex Lusitanos. I hadn’t really taken much notice of the Iberian style but it’s a beautiful thing!
Do you have any pets?
We have 2 Labradors – one at our factory HQ in Scotland (Rhanna, 13 yrs) and one at our Sussex office (Dooley, 3 yrs). The factory also has a couple of resident barn cats and we also rescue battery chickens.
So how did you get into the business? What did you do before Safe-Care?
We’re a family business but I didn’t join until 2015. I helped with the re-brand back in 2014 on top of my day job and realised I couldn’t really do both if I wanted to eat or sleep at any point! My background is marketing but for the last 11 years I had been working in the mobile telecoms industry in Sustainability where I managed our ethics and responsible business programmes. It’s set me in good stead to understand what it means to be sustainable and forward thinking so I took the plunge and left my corporate and commuting life behind. I’ve overhauled a lot of internal processes and policies - we’ve grown up a lot in the last 2 years.
What was it that prompted you to choose to make horse care products from natural ingredients?
At the time we tested the market there was not a lot out there in the equine world that could claim it was natural. That seemed to be the way the world was going for everything else and having tried to find products for our own horses and been disappointed we saw an opportunity to get in at the start. There’s a lot on the market now and it’s great to see so much choice but there is often still a big price difference between natural and chemical. Our brief to our bio-chemist was that this shouldn’t be more expensive than the chemical products you can buy. It always seemed a little unfair to try and encourage people to go natural …. But only if you could afford it. Safe-Care gives people an affordable, natural choice.
How do you choose your ingredients?
We worked with a bio-chemist and our products work using micelle chemistry which removes the food source that bacteria feed on. The base product reacts with air and water and gets to work to show great results. We always make sure the other ingredients such as soy, corn oils, tea-tree, rosemary oils etc come from sustainable sources and really, as long as it’s plant-based, anything goes! Our plant ingredient list tops over 100 different types of plants.
Have you got any exciting new products in the pipeline that you could give us a sneaky insight into?
We’re re-launching our popular whitening shampoo later this year and it’s even better than before as it has less foam (foamers and builders are aesthetic and make us feel like we’re cleaning, but the reality is they don’t actually do anything apart from cause annoyance when you have to spend ages rinsing away soap suds). We’re also going to launch a new Fly Repellent for the summer too so that’s all very exciting.
What's your favourite horse care ‘hack’?
Actually, more of a general one. We use old hotel shower caps to cover buckets of feed – cheaper than buying the expensive covers! Also we always have a pocket full of bailer twine – it’s just so versatile!
Thanks so much for your time Becky! We'll be sure to test out the new Fly Repellent when it launches.
If you're looking to try all-natural for your horse, why not give Safe-Care Equine a try and let us know what you think.