By, Kate Sanchez
Pose a challenge to any ten-year-old girl, especially one that’s horse-crazy, and you’re sure to be impressed with the outcome. That’s precisely what happened for Allyson Harrison, owner of EquiFUSE, a California based equine skin care line dedicated to creating grooming and bathing products to enhance the health and shine of your horse’s coat, mane, and tail. For Harrison, EquiFUSE was something she worked at for a very long time, thanks in large part to that young girl with a big dream years ago.
When Harrison was just 10 years old, she took jumping lessons on the weekends, and after each session would always ask to bathe her lesson horse. After a few weekends of this routine, her trainer and head groom requested a meeting with the young equestrian. Much to Harrison’s surprise, the meeting was over her “bathing techniques”, and it was expressed that should she continually choose to give her lesson horse a soap bath, it needed to be done as quickly as possible. “Making a horse sit in the wash rack and be scrubbed for two to three hours at a time isn’t very nice,” her trainer explained. Yes, after a riding lesson, Harrison would bathe her horse for hours on end just to watch it glisten after drying. “I took their recommendation with a grain of salt, and decided when I got my own horse someday, I would bathe them whenever and how ever I wanted”, she shares.
At age twelve, her wish was granted, and Harrison became a first-time horse owner, competing in the A circuit hunter divisions, all the while using a multitude of grooming and bathing products. “I would use dozens of products because no particular product line alone would do the trick,” she says, “My magical concoctions did get me some results, but honestly, I wanted something better. Less bottles, and a lot more SHINE.” Never just a hobby for Harrison, horses were always a way of life for her, thus embarking on a journey to become an influential entrepreneur in the equine world.
The idea of EquiFUSE was born in the fall of 2009, when Harrison came to the realization that she wanted to start an equine skin care line. As a new graduate of Santa Clara University with a Business Management degree, Harrison was hopeful to make an impact on the horse world. When considering all aspects of the industry, one part that truly stuck out in her mind was her love for grooming and bathing. “When I decided to make my dream of starting an equine skin care line a reality, I imagined formulating a shine serum that improved the hair health, dried quickly as to not attract dust and dirt, detangle with ease, and leave an unbeatable shine,” she shares. Harrison looked to achieve all of these things with a level of consciousness for hair health and benefits for the long term and incorporated some natural elements into the blend in order to do so. After some discussion with her father, a cosmetic chemist and successful business owner whose company sold raw material chemicals to big west coast personal care companies, the EquiFUSE ideas were taken to his lab.
That first sample sent to Harrison from her father was what is now known as EquiFUSE Gleam Moisturizer and Shine Serum. When it arrived at Harrison’s house, she felt like a kid on Christmas morning, urgently rushing to the barn to try it out on her own horses. “I was shocked by the results,” she says, “The serum was thin and easy to apply, detangled hair almost instantly and left the hair shinier than I could have ever imagined.” But, she knew just her own experience wouldn’t be enough to get the product the exposure it needed, so she sent samples out to family, friends, and complete strangers around the country, to try the product and fill out a simple survey and rate product satisfaction. “I was shocked to find out that almost every horse owner who got a serum sample filled out my survey with a score of 10 out of 10 satisfaction,” Harrison says. And what was even more astounding were the several notes at the bottom of the survey asking, “Where can I purchase this magical serum?”. From there, Harrison knew she was on to something, and hasn’t looked back since.
EquiFUSE Gleam launched in July of 2010, after 9 months of planning. Harrison then hit the road to local shows, clinics, or expos for every weekend of that year, with her one stand-alone product. “After horse people began to recognize Gleam, they wondered when the rest of the EquiFUSE product line would be available. Gleam’s popularity was growing which gave me the confidence to begin the formulation of my next EquiFUSE product,” she recalls, “For the next five years, I launched about one EquiFUSE product per year. I would use that year of planning to not only ensure the formula was perfect, but to also ensure the product packaging was efficient.”
Harrison recently celebrated 9 years in retail and wholesale sales with EquiFUSE and has a strong six-product system. The products are sold by over 300 dealers in the U.S, as well as Canada and Australia. EquiFUSE uses cosmetic technology combined with the benefits of natural additives with essential oils and proteins to be a top contender in horse skin care. Each product in the EquiFUSE line is developed to improve hair health while combatting common problems like dry skin, dander, dandruff, hair breakage, and other skin issues. Additionally, EquiFUSE products have been proven to improve mane and tail volume as well as length, and texture over time.
While owning a successful business is a huge point of pride for Harrison, she says it hasn’t been without its challenges and struggles. “Many people including close friends and family did not believe I would survive the five-year mark, and I did everything in my power to prove them wrong,” she says. But what’s bigger than any doubt initially laid upon Harrison and her product, is the support from happy EquiFUSE customers she receives daily. From messages and pictures through email, to social media shares of happy customers, Harrison says they’ve been the driving force in overcoming the challenges. “I look forward to continuing to share the EquiFUSE product line with fellow equestrians everywhere, and I consider myself very lucky to work in the horse world,” she says. Harrison’s main goal at this point is to grow her American-made business both nationally and internationally.
Allyson Harrison’s life has revolved around horses for as long as she can remember, and in doing so, she’s always looked for the very best in skin care for her equine counterparts. But in never feeling quite satisfied with what she was using, Harrison struck out in a journey to produce a product she’d be happy with herself, in hopes that other horse-owners would agree. “As a lifelong equestrian, I always dreamt of an equine line that would keep my horses cleaner for longer and add that superior shine, without all the elbow grease,” she says, “I developed each EquiFUSE product for my personal horses to solve my grooming and bathing dilemmas, and now I am blessed to share my secrets with all of you!” Blessed to share her secrets and to be chasing a dream she had from a very young age, EquiFUSE is a product that’s here to stay; all because a little girl was determined to show that one day, she would bathe her horses the way she wanted!