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Una Howe

Dupree, SD

INDUSTRY: MANUFACTURING
BUSINESS: WORKING COWBOY SADDLERY
YEAR FOUNDED: 1992
PROGRAM: 2012 EMERGING LEADERS RAPID CITY
“I think the most important thing to a successful business: understand your customer - understand their wants, but also understand their needs. Be true to what you say you do, and know your limits - what you can do and can’t do.”
BUSINESS OVERVIEW
Working Cowboy Saddlery is a native-owned business located on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation that focuses on custom-made saddles for riders across the western US. Initially making saddles and horse gear, the business has expanded to incorporate beads, purses, and other souvenirs into their product line. Since 2012, the business has experienced steady growth of between 5 and 10 percent and last year was recognized as the Minority-Owned Small Business of the Year by the South Dakota office of the Small Business Administration.

EXPANDING PRODUCT LINE
To survive in a tough business, Una and her husband Don have found creative ways to keep their business afloat. They expanded their product line, providing parallel services for members of the local community, and also expanded their portfolio of products to reach more customers. Take Una’s repurposing of scrap leather with Pendleton Wool for purses: “It really helped our show because the man would stop, look at our bridle, and the woman could stop and look at a handbag.”

For Una, an artist at heart, her business is all about creating and adapting. “You’ve got to know your customer, you’ve got to know what you can offer that customer since we really pride ourselves on making almost everything ourselves.”

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