I never thought I would be in a situation where I would be able to actually have live conversations with the founders and designers of companies I’ve grown to love. In a way it’s very surreal. I can’t remember where or how I stumbled upon Huntsmen and Hounds, but once I did, I ordered one of their H&H logo tees and was smitten. The material is top-knotch – you won’t get a mass-produced Hanes tee here (not hating on Hanes, H&H just is of a superior quality.) Since then I’ve also fallen in love with their Foxy Pocket tee and H&H Bomber Jacket. They’re unique, amazing everyday leisure wear (and riding! I can’t wait until it’s warm enough for me to ride in my bomber jacket.) But I love having go-to tees that I could wear on the go or even to dinner if I threw my leather jacket or a deconstructed blazer on top.
Foxy Pocket – Charcoal
Foxy Pocket – Dusty Green
H&H Bomber – Estate Blue
I think what originally drew me to H&H can be compared to why I’ve been drawn to other brands like Tucker Tweed and Boy o Boy Bridleworks – they give me a way to take my equestrian passion and showcase it in my everyday style. Their designs are subtle but a for sure conversation starter if I run into another horsey person in the ‘real world’ while dressed in everyday clothes and not the barn uniform.
My first H&H purchase, the H&H Logo Tee in Grey Heather
I’m loving the interview-style questions because I think it gives the owner a chance to let their voice shine through and tell their own story. So without further adieu, I give you the story of the woman behind the Huntsmen – Michele, owner/founder/designer of Huntsmen and Hounds.
Tell me a little about yourself and your background as an equestrian! Have horses always been a part of your life?
The huntsmen is really a girl named Michele Rozo who grew up with horses and has been obsessed with them as long as she can remember. Pretty much the most of my life. I had my first horse when I was 12 years old, she was a retired police posse horse. I rode her bareback everywhere. She was stabled in a canyon community that had river bottoms and hill sides to run for days. I was given 2 saddles. One western and one English. I of course took to the English saddle. Less leather and I enjoyed jumping. I use to ride near a barn that had a hunter program. I would watch them with curiosity from the other side of the fence and how they rode in the saddle. One day my dad took me to a horse show near us and that was it. I went to the hunter barn and started riding. Soon I sold the Posse horse and bought my first hunter/jumper and started showing
on the west coast. Then bought another horse…and did Hunters and Equitation. I still to this day love equitation ( who doesn’t). Then I became a young adult and started working and my horse days stopped for a bit of time. Once my career had really started to roll I was really missing the ride, the horse everything about it. You know… I hauled my Barn trunk and all my ribbons around for years from apartments and homes until I finally started riding again. To this day I still have the same trunk I had as a junior. So I bought another horse and I’ve been back in the saddle ever since. The horse that got me back into it is since retired, so I catch a ride when I have the time. My trainer still lets me hop on when I need a horse fix. I recently choose to not ride full time to work on H&H.
H&H is your side gig, right? How did you get into textiles and apparel?
I’m a graphics designer by trade. I’ve worked in design most of my career. From package design, brand identity to art direction. I had my own freelance business for years but wanted a little more. I found this amazing company that I have had the opportunity to work for the last 14 years – the outdoor clothing company Patagonia. One of the main reasons I wanted to work with them is I really started feeling the impact we have on the environment with our consumerism. I wanted to work for a place that did everything they could to have the least amount of impact on the environment and cared about the quality product they produced and how it was produced. I came in as a graphic designer/project coordinator with a drive to create many ideas here. An opportunity came up in product to develop and art direct the t-shirt line for the company. I got the job. For 6 years I developed the line from a small line of 6 graphic tees to the very successful business they have today in logo wear. I’ve always had a knack for wanting to learn how things are made. I learned every part from design, development to production. After that great stint I wanted to try something different and learn about store spaces. An opportunity came up to move into the Visual Design
department and since then I’ve learned all the ins and outs of Retail environments, wholesale trade shows and team management. I currently manage a team of 6 regional visual merchandisers on the west coast from Colorado to Hawaii to Vancouver to San Diego.
I’ve really been enjoying bringing all these skills together to put all the parts of Huntsmen and Hounds together. I love quality products, creating a story and environment to experience and the process of creating product and environments that share the story for the season.
What are your big dreams for H&H?
My big dream is to develop a community of like minded creators under the roof of Huntsmen and Hounds. That’s why the name is “men” not “man”. We are hunters and gatherers of unique products and story telling that have the same beliefs in product, humanity, animals and the environment.
Any fun 2018 plans you can share?
A handful of new graphics and a larger variety of different fits and cuts of our t-shirt line. I’m working on some limited edition one of a kind collections as well as a few additional new pieces. So excited about them. I’ll be doing a few more west coast shows this year and have the whole year planned out. Starting in May we’ll be at least one show a month. When I do horse shows I bring a few unique products that I don’t share on my website which shows only specific items. I also redesign the entire booth each year to reflect the inspiration and feel for the season. We plan on having a few events in our booth during the shows. It’ll be fun to bring the community together. I hope that next year we can get out to the east coast for a show or two for sure.
What was the inspiration behind the name of the company as well as the logo?
The inspiration came while doing research about the sport we love and how it came about. I find there is a lot of next generation that don’t really understand how this sport came to be. One of my goals is to share this history thru H&H. The huntsman and his hounds have become part of what this sport is all about. Still today our dogs are a huge part of this sport. Horse lovers are usually dog lovers. The hunter part for me resonates with hunting for new ideas, unique product and new ways to build a product. I feel like I’m always hunting for something new. Plus I love the idea of having a business that always has a dog or two running around the studio.
You have to tell us about the adorable Foxy! Will we be seeing him/her on any future garments?
ARLO – He is part of a series of images my dear friend and I collaborated on. Unfortunately he is a part of huntsman history. I would never in my wildest dreams hunt a fox. We show him as the true fun trickster that he is. He’s always having fun. Always playful. He will have a few more appearances for sure, such as an original watercolor series, men’s t shirts, a few other stances and products for sure.
Interested in picking up your own Foxy Pocket or H&H logo tee? What about the super cozy and stylish H&H bomber jacket? Head over to their website now – all of H&H’s prices are extremely reasonable, another reason why I love the company!
Stay tuned for photos of me in my H&H gear (or possibly a YouTube video, because I’ll be honest the weather here has NOT been very pleasant to be outside in without at least three layers on…) but, you can be sure that when I’m lounging around the house I’m usually rocking my mist green foxy (Arlo!) pocket tee & bomber jacket. So shop small, rock the fox and make sure to tag H&H in your photos on IG! If you have any questions about sizing do not hesitate to reach out to me!