SPORTSWEAR brand Aztec Diamond Equestrian has gone from strength to strength since launching three years ago.

Founder Jordan McCabe is set to earn her first million this year with her business turnover hitting a whopping six figure sum for last year and a 50 per cent increase in business expected in the first half of 2017 alone.

Perched on a desk in the design studio at the farmhouse just outside Durham that plays host to her business, the 21-year-old entrepreneur explains how she got started.

Owning an equestrian clothing brand had been a dream of hers since she was ten years old. "Growing up, I had ponies and horses," she says. "In fact, the clothing range is named after my horse of a lifetime. I loved show jumping, but the clothing out there just wasn’t very fashionable."

Then Jordan's grandmother passed away when she was just finishing school and she was left the inheritance which enabled her to follow her dreams. "Totally inexperienced, but determined to succeed, I found myself a mentor during my first year who helped me with product development," she says. Then it was time to go it alone.

"The hard thing about clothing is that you have to commit and invest so far ahead," says Jordan. "You have to guess at how many pieces you will sell and make a decision based on your gut instinct. I made so many mistakes." The biggest challenge for her – and any new business – was cash flow. Having all her money tied up in fabric and production in factories halfway across the world was "very scary", she says It has taken over two years to get into an easy cash flow situation that allows the company to expand every season.

"We had weeks where we didn’t have any stock as it sold out literally overnight," says Jordan. "Being an overnight success isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. "

One of the biggest challenges she had to face was moving production of the clothing line out of Asia into Europe last year to enable her to control things. As she no longer had a product development mentor, she had to source all the manufacturers and develop the products by herself. "It was extremely daunting and challenging, but I learnt so much from this and I can now travel out to my manufacturers in Europe every other month to ensure everything is on track and that the quality is up to standard," she says.

As the business started to grow quickly, Jordan's mother quit her job to help out and is now a director. "Having a family member working with you has its plus points," says Jordan. "They understand you and work as hard as you do."

She has had to learn most things along the way. Whenever there was something she didn’t know – which happened a lot – she would just have to get on with it, and building the brand has been a stiff learning curve. "I had no idea of the challenges I’d face," she says. "A normal working day for me is a 6am start, spending an hour on social media whilst having my breakfast. I like the early start as I can catch international customers before they go to bed and plan my strategy for the day for Europe. I then go to the gym and start my proper “office job” at 9am working through until 8pm or 9pm at night. It’s exhausting, but totally worth it. "

Jordan believes social media has without doubt been the largest contributor to her success, as it has completely changed the way you can market a brand and there is virtually no cost involved. If you know how use it, you can attract and target your audience, so the possibilities for growth are endless, she says. "With an online store like mine, it really helps as you’re able to connect with your customers all day, every day. The average person will spend around two hours or more on social media daily and every time they go onto their news feed, you are able to reach out to them and show them your products, hopefully resulting in a sale."

While it’s still early days and while fashion is an ever-evolving industry, Jordan is confident Aztec Diamond will achieve huge growth over the next few years. "I have my plans to develop the brand taking it to a wider market – not just equestrian," she says. "But I never forget my Northern riding roots and am looking to include menswear and a pre-teen collection this year. It’s important to stay ahead of the game in this industry. Fashion never sleeps and neither do I!"

* Aztec Diamond’s 6th collection, Spring/Summer 2017, was launched this month. W: