Connect
To Top

Meet Lauren O’Neill of Hooves and Hope in Orange County

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lauren O’Neill.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
From a young age, I have always had a passion for helping people. I began working on Hooves and Hope my sophomore year of high school after I came across an article that addressed hunger and poverty in America. Needless to say, the statistics about people living on just $1.50 per day had a lasting impact on me. At first, I was shocked to read this information but something in me sparked an idea to take a creative approach and find a way to help. I wanted to give people hope through meals in an effort to restore a lost sense of security due to extreme hunger and uncertainty. I connected this passion for helping people with my love for horses. I began riding horses at the age of five and have been competing and riding almost everyday since then. When I was ten, I was kicked in the face by a horse and my body went into shock. I was in ICU for a week and was unconscious. All I remember was waking up in the hospital with a neck brace and tubes down my throat.

Although my recovery was challenging, for me, this accident and my dedication to the sport serve as a symbol of grit, tenacity, and an example of the importance of working through challenging moments to continue doing what you love most. After I came across the horrifying reality of hunger issues even in our local area, I felt responsible to think of ways I can help the community and inspire others to do the same. In April, after watching the devastating economic effects and death toll of the coronavirus pandemic, I launched my necklace brand called Hooves and Hope. I chose the name hooves and hope because in my life, it has always been horses (hooves) that have given me hope in times of need. It is my goal that through Hooves and Hope I can do the same by helping people and giving them hope and security through meals. I curated pieces, designed my logo and began a social media campaign for my company. I created pieces so others could purchase them and have something to feel good about.

Again, it was my mission to help inspire others to look past themselves and those who need it most. I wanted to create something that was engaging in people’s daily lives. When I launched Hooves and Hope, I started with two gold horseshoe necklaces- one small gold (hooves necklace), and one larger gold (hope necklace). Each necklace comes in a pink suede bag with a card that says To Live. To Dream. To Laugh. To Love. I began reaching out to local media and news outlets to spread the word about Hooves and Hope. Through social media posts, articles, and branding on my website, I was able to raise enough funds to donate 25,021 meals in just four months. I donated 100% of all sales proceeds to Feeding America because of their widespread network across the country, especially in remote and underserved areas. The positive response and overwhelming support was just the start for Hooves and Hope. For me, it was the approach and the underlying message that inspired me most. If I was able to donate enough funds to feed 25,000 meals, imagine the help from many as a community.

Has it been a smooth road?
The greatest challenge occurred at the time that Hooves and Hope was rapidly growing just after I had launched it. In late April/ early May, all shipping was delayed due to the pandemic. I order product from a manufacturer overseas which made the growth process quite challenging when shipping was delayed anywhere from 4-8 weeks at a time, if not longer. Besides the delays in shipping at the start, it has been a smooth process. Today, in a time where everything is online it is important to keep an online presence for marketing and engagement. Although it can be challenging to maintain active engagement, with persistence and consistency it is achievable. Social media is a powerful platform for marketing especially when the product is targeted at a younger audience.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Hooves and Hope story. Tell us more about the business.
My brand Hooves and Hope is completely run by me meaning I make all of the decisions, take product shots, send emails, ship orders, and everything in between. As a small business owner, I have the ability to be flexible and adaptable to change in necessary situations. I am proud of the message and meaning behind my brand because it is a reflection of what I believe and strive for as a person. My hope is that I can inspire others my age to help those who need it. For me, it was the approach and the underlying message that inspired me most. I am so proud of how far Hooves and Hope has come in such a short amount of time. From this rapid growth, I constantly strive to produce quality pieces and continue to make an impact on my peers just like the article that changed my perspective my sophomore year.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
At first thought, so many fond memories come to mind; it is hard to pinpoint one. From taking care of my pony Roxy at the age of 6 to ski trips with my family so many memories are brought back. One of my favorite stories is about my first horse show when I was six years old. It was a small horse show and I was riding my small pond named Sir Laddy of the Nile (Laddy) for short. I had two classes on Saturday, one class where I went around in a group and walked trotted and cantered which I came in 6th place and then a class in the afternoon. My class in the afternoon involved a course going over poles so it was more challenging.

I went in the arena with my trusty teammate and completed the course of poles. When each person had done their round, I heard the announcer say it was time for the results. I remember being so nervous yet excited because it was my first day competing. I heard the announcer say, “We have the results, first place goes to Lauren O’Neill and Sir Laddy of the Nile”. I could not have been more excited about winning this class especially for my first horse show. I could not have done it without Laddy. Needless to say, that moment was the start of a lifelong passion. I am so grateful for this sport and all that it has taught me. I truly feel that it has given me so much determination and grit over the years. Overall, it has shaped who I am as a person.

Pricing:

  • Small gold (hooves necklace) $24.00
  • Large gold (hope necklace) $30.00
  • Each necklace comes with a pink suede bag

Contact Info:

  • Website: hoovesandhope.org
  • Phone: (949)325-4567
  • Email: hoovesandhope@yahoo.com
  • Instagram: hoovesandhope


Image Credit:

Laila Klinsmann @equ.photography

Suggest a story: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in