Jared Zenni has come a long way in a short time. In his first attempt, 6-goaler Zenni helped his Daily Racing Form team capture the U.S. Open Polo Championship in 2018. The surprise win over favorite Valiente catapulted Zenni’s team into the top tier of high-goal organizations competing in Wellington. However, Zenni and his father Jim are not strangers to the circuit. They have also played under the name Villa del Lago, the family’s equestrian facility. Last season, the Daily Racing Form roster included Zenni with Tommy Collingwood, Costi Caset and Agustin Obregon, and the team made it to the semifinals in the USPA Gold Cup before play was suspended. When the Gauntlet of Polo resumes with the finals of that tournament, Daily Racing Form will still be very much in the hunt.
Hilario Ulloa grew up in Argentina, watching his father and expert horse breeder Carlos “Polito” Ulloa train and breed polo horses. He was always surrounded by horses and polo players and dreamed of one day playing in the prestigious Argentine Open. He got that wish in 2013, and in 2014, he won the U.S. Open with Alegria at IPC. Ulloa, who earned his 10-goal ranking from the USPA in 2017, has been visiting Wellington to play at IPC since 2010. He returns to Wellington after a strong season competing on the Ellerstina team during the Triple Crown in Argentina. Playing alongside Facundo, Gonzalo and Nicolás Pieres, the team won the Tortugas Open and the Hurlingham Open, falling just short in the final of the Argentine Open at Palermo.
The 2021 polo season is now underway, and while it will certainly be different than in years past due to new safety protocols, one thing that will not change is the amazing athleticism, drive and awe-inspiring skill on display in each and every game. The world’s best polo players have once again made their annual return to Wellington to play in the most prestigious high-goal tournaments in North America. At the International Polo Club Palm Beach, the season gets underway with the 18-goal Joe Barry Memorial Cup, followed by the Ylvisaker Cup and the Iglehart Cup, both played at the 18-goal level. Then the height of the season arrives with the 22-goal Gauntlet of Polo series. It will start with the final games of the 2020 USPA Gold Cup, which was cut short due to the pandemic. This will be followed by the 2021 C.V. Whitney Cup, USPA Gold Cup and U.S. Open Polo Championship. The U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship will also be featured. Can’t make it to the game? You can catch them livestreamed and on-demand at Global Polo TV. Meanwhile, we invite you to meet just some of the amazing players on the field this season in Faces of Polo 2021.
The World Polo League recently announced that the world-renowned Gaston Dorignac has accepted the position of head umpire, beginning with the 2021 Florida season.
Dorignac, who lives in Madrid, is president of the Spanish Polo Referees Association, holds a category A designation from the Asociación Argentina de Polo and is qualified to officiate at a maximum handicap level of 40 goals.
A native of Argentina, Dorignac comes from a family with a rich polo tradition, being the son of legendary 10-goaler and Argentine Open winner Gaston Dorignac. Prior to becoming an umpire, Dorignac played polo professionally for 20 years, reaching a handicap of 6 goals.
Dorignac’s umpiring began in 1996, officiating at up to 28 goals, and by 1999, he was umpiring in Argentina’s Triple Crown of Polo at Tortugas, Hurlingham and Palermo. By the end of 1999, he had officiated at seven of the eight games played in the Argentine Open in Palermo, including the final.
Today, Dorignac has umpired more than 20 finals in the Triple Crown, including six in Palermo, as well as eight King’s Cup finals in Madrid, eight finals in the Puerta de Hierro, five Sotogrande Gold Cups and numerous international tournaments, including matches in St. Tropez, Barcelona, Columbia and the Dominican Republic.
“We are thrilled to have an umpire of Gaston’s standing joining us as head umpire for the World Polo League,” WPL founder Melissa Ganzi said. “Our aim is to offer the very best in high goal polo outside of Argentina, and Gaston brings tremendous experience to the table. With his involvement, we can continue to enhance an already incredible level of play in the league.”
Dorignac is excited to begin this new opportunity.
“After Argentina, the WPL offers the highest handicap matches in the world. Play at the 26-goal handicap is very challenging, and if you take into account players like Cambiaso, Nero, McDonough, Andrade, Ulloa and the Castognola brothers, we’re talking about an epic level,” he said. “This wouldn’t be possible without the organization and effort from the WPL.”
Dorignac has enjoyed his previous work with the league.
“I am very proud to be a part of this,” he said. “It was a great feeling to participate in the WPL in 2019 and 2020, and I am honored to have been appointed chief umpire.”
Co-founded by Grand Champions and Aspen Valley Polo Club owner and president Melissa Ganzi and Valiente Polo Farm owner Bob Jornayvaz, the successful World Polo League is the only league offering 26-goal polo in the world outside of Argentina.
The WPL attracts a large international field of players from all corners of the world, including Australia, Chile, India, Mexico, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Argentina, Canada, Ecuador, Brazil, Switzerland, France, Germany, Uruguay, Venezuela, Azerbaijan, South Africa, Nigeria and England.
For more information about the WPL’s 2021 season, and to watch games from previous seasons, visit www.worldpolo.org.
While details about the 2021 WPL season are still being finalized, with special precautions due to the pandemic, Ganzi’s Grand Champions Polo Club is also planning a full slate of 2021 winter tournaments.
Grand Champions is located at 13444 Southfields Road in Wellington. Events include world-class umpires, 12 championship fields, a polo school, livestreamed games and polo on demand.
The club will offer polo at a wide array of levels this season:
High Goal — The Sterling Cup runs from Jan. 19 through Jan. 31; the $100,000 World Cup by Audi will be held Jan. 29 through Feb. 13; and the Santa Rita Abierto is set for March 2 through March 14.
16 Goal — The Grand Champions Cup runs from Feb. 15 through March 6; the Power Horse Invitational is set for March 9 to March 27; and the Pedro Morrison Memorial will be held March 30 through April 17.
12 Goal — The Limited Edition 12 Goal Series runs from Jan. 26 through Feb. 13. It will be followed by the Sieber Memorial Trophy from Feb. 16 through March 6; the $50,000 National 12 Goal held Feb. 17 through Feb. 28; and the Top Pony 12 Goal from March 9 through March 27.
8 Goal — The Aspen Valley Cup runs from Jan. 15 through Jan. 31; the Top Pony 8 Goal will be held Feb. 16 through March 6; and the Limited Edition 8 Goal is set for March 9 through March 27.
6 Goal — The Metropolitan Cup runs from Jan. 26 through Feb. 13; the Halo Polo Trophy will follow from Feb. 16 through March 6; and the Madelon Bourdieu Memorial will be held March 9 through March 27.
Also at Grand Champions, the Polo School Women’s League is held every Wednesday from Jan. 13 through April 14, and the WCT Finals run March 31 through April 4.
For more information, about the upcoming season at Grand Champions, visit www.gcpolo.com.
French toast, banana nut, maple bacon, s’mores and more — all in donut form.
It’s the little things in life that are so sweet, and the new Factory Donuts in the Pointe at Wellington Green is mixing it all up any way you like, made-to-order, fresh and hot. It’s not just a donut — it’s an experience.
“There’s 24 signature flavors, like bananas foster and chocolate covered strawberry, or you can create your own with any kind of icing or drizzle,” co-owner David Spector explained.
The flavors are up to your imagination and sweet tooth, or you can order from the eatery’s vast selection. Some of the most popular are s’mores, which is made with special icing, chocolate chips and graham cracker crumble, and blueberry bake with blueberry icing, glaze drizzle and powdered sugar.
“First of all, we never run out. We make them hot, fresh and ready to order. So, that concept of a fresh, hot donut is unique. Nothing beats it. It’s not sitting on a shelf. It’s not baked in a commissary. It’s made in front of you. You can see it, and it’s hot, and fully customizable.”
The vanilla cake-based donuts may be customizable, but they’re made quick and down to a science.
“We really pay attention to the baking side of it, so the inside is nice and fluffy, and the outside has a nice golden crisp to it,” Spector said. “We weigh the donuts to be sure that they come out the right weight and right size.”
Once the donut robot creates the exact shape and weight, it then drops and carries the delicacies through the process. It takes 110 seconds for the donut to go from dropping to coming out to being ready to be finished and topped by hand.
“People love the French toast. They also love the maple bacon, because the bacon we use is a super high quality,” Spector said. “It’s delicious. I love bananas foster and mint chocolate chip. We all have our favorites.”
Aside from the signatures are the special cream-filled donuts.
“There’s a Boston cream and the Nutella cream-filled French toast donut, so really great options with custard on top,” he said.
Signatures are two donuts for $2.99. The cream-filled run $2.99 each. A dozen of either kind runs from $17.99 to $24.99. Customers have been lining up to get a taste, and some mornings are out the door.
After construction delays due to the pandemic, Spector, along with his partners Paulie Fox and Adam Hodges, officially began serving the sweet treats in mid-September. “We looked everywhere,” Spector said. “We wanted to be in Wellington. We have great neighbors. Being near the mall and schools, it’s a great location for us.”
The three are attorneys who also have ventured into various other businesses. The Factory Donuts location is the first in Florida for the Philadelphia-based franchise, and the trio plan to eventually expand to other areas in Palm Beach County.
“I fell in love with them, their recipes, the whole factory feel,” Spector said. “It’s a little hip, it’s a little fun, and we thought it would be a fantastic fit because there was nothing like it nearby.”
The father of four children, Spector also loves the family appeal. His two teenage sons can be seen greeting customers, as well as working behind the scenes.
“It’s wonderful. My 13-year-old son loves to greet the customers and tell them about the product,” he said. “My oldest is learning the business from the ground up. He’s working the register, making the donuts, he’s preparing the recipes in the back. So, it’s really a wonderful thing to be able to share that with your children.”
It’s the family appeal of the donut shop that also tugged on Spector’s heart strings. A place to gather for a treat, kids can also draw on the gigantic chalkboard. There’s also phone charging cords at the tables. There’s outdoor seating, too.
While donuts are the centerpiece, the coffee is also just as unique.
“It’s a proprietary Factory Donut brand,” he said. “It took the founders a long time to find and perfect it. It’s ground and made just for our stores.”
From their signature iced coffee to their classic hot, all can come flavored with a shot. There’s also sweet or hot tea, and fresh-made lemonade.
Also on the menu are made-to-order breakfast sandwiches that are served all day. “Our bread products are fantastic. We have bagels, English muffins and the croissants are phenomenal,” Spector said. “We offer Canadian bacon, regular bacon, egg and cheese.”
Recipes are always evolving with the seasons, as are their party trays and catering, suited and decorated for any occasion, with specially designed donut nugget trays to fit any celebration, as well as coffee to go. “We do catering, nuggets, you can customize the nuggets any color, you can do school colors, holiday colors. We do gender reveals with pink and blue. If you can think of it, we can create it,” Spector said.
Whether it’s a quick sugar fix, or a special event, Factory Donuts is ready to create some of that sugar and spice, and everything nice.
Store hours are Monday through Thursday from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Delivery is available from Uber Eats and DoorDash.
Factory Donuts is located in the Pointe at Wellington Green at 10120 W. Forest Hill Blvd., Suite 160. For additional information, call (561) 360-3922, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.factorydonuts.com.
The Wellington Village Council goes to great effort in seeking input from the community on a wide array of topics. Until recently, those efforts were concentrated primarily on the adults in the community. Then, in 2019, the Wellington Youth Council was born, and it is already winning awards and creating success.
“It was part of the Florida League of Cities initiative for engaging youth,” Wellington Mayor Anne Gerwig explained. “I’d been trying to get one started in Wellington for several years.”
The idea is to get high schoolers involved in local government, and one of the challenges is that the students get busy with school and other activities and then, of course, the seniors graduate.
“You have to make sure you keep ninth and tenth graders involved, otherwise everyone graduates, and you lose your leadership,” Gerwig said.
The Wellington Youth Council program got underway in 2019 and was still in its infancy when COVID-19 arrived. Nevertheless, it has already accomplished some great things.
“What we really want to do is get ideas from the youth of the community, ideas about what they want for activities and learn the best ways to engage them in the village,” Gerwig said.
The program is run through Wellington’s Community Services Department.
“It is very important to get kids involved and working to lead their peers in active youth programs and initiatives, and the youth council is a great way to hear from our student population,” Community Services Department Assistant Director Michelle Garvey said.
The Wellington Youth Council is made up of 16 students, eight from Wellington High School and eight from Palm Beach Central High School.
The students are chosen by the student government associations and the leaders of each of the schools based upon an essay competition describing each nominees’ goals and ideas for the council.
The council has a mayor and vice mayor, and before COVID-19, the group held meetings in the Wellington council chambers. Over the past year, the meetings have been held remotely.
“Ian Williams works with the youth council,” Garvey said. “He’s such a dynamic individual, bringing energy to the team and our community, working with the kids to get involved.”
Williams is proud of what the group has accomplished in its first year, despite the difficulties created by the pandemic.
“The objective of the group is to give a voice to our youth in the community,” he said. “Wellington does an awesome job of hearing the voices of the adults, but we didn’t have a way of hearing the voices from the youth of our community. We need to hear from them about the things we can provide in the village that they are seeking. It was truly the mayor’s idea to bring a youth council to Wellington in 2019.”
While he is the program coordinator, Williams credits the students for its success.
“The council members are truly amazing,” he said. “There are some brilliant, talented individuals on it. Their efforts are why they earned the Municipal Youth Council Community Service Contest award.”
Hosted annually, this League of Cities competition showcases community service projects performed by youth councils that successfully address specific needs in their local communities.
The Wellington Youth Council won for its youth center project that was the group’s brainchild.
“They positively impacted the students in Wellington with this center, which provided a place in the Wellington Community Center where the kids can go and do homework, or gaming or just hang out with friends in a location that is comfortable and that they know is safe,” Williams said.
The youth center is currently on hiatus due to COVID-19, but there are plans for it to return once the emergency has passed.
Additionally, the group earned further recognition in the League of Cities’ Youth Council Photography Competition for an image of Wellington’s Patriot Memorial with the theme, “Why I Love Wellington.”
Both the community service award and the photography award will be presented to youth council members at an upcoming meeting of the Wellington Village Council.
“Since the inception of the youth council, we found they were truly concerned with mental health awareness,” Williams said. “The first-year group embarked on a mental health awareness program, and the second-year group set the objective of implementing it.”
They even held a dodgeball tournament, before COVID-19, as part of the program to promote mental health awareness.
“They have such creative ideas and are so up-to-date,” Williams said. “Some ideas seem out of this world, and yet are so realistic. Like using a dodgeball tournament to bring awareness to the topic of mental health. It was an amazing project with creativity and intelligence at such a relatively young age.”
Williams stressed the importance of the perspective offered by the youth council. “This year, we’ve been doing all the meetings virtually. It has been interesting, but it’s still working,” he said.
McKenzie Henry is a senior at Wellington High School. She got involved in the Wellington Youth Council after moving to the community from Broward County four years ago. In high school, she still knew few people and enjoyed the interaction and making new friends.
“When I first moved here, I didn’t have any friends, and interacting with everyone was the way of finding friends and not feeling lonely,” Henry said.
Her own experience led her to know how students can feel isolated. “I know that students can be depressed, especially now,” she said, adding that mental health awareness is all the more important during the pandemic. “Mental health is important for our generation, especially now with the quarantine and isolation, being home. Students feel less lonely with activities.”
Henry particularly enjoyed it when the group participated in a virtual murder mystery event with the youth council members playing many of the parts.
A junior at Palm Beach Central High School, Dailany Echeverria explained that she also feels that mental health awareness is of paramount importance.
“I absolutely love what I do on the council. I’m really passionate about it. I get so much from the community, and it feels so good to give back and be a part of it,” she said. “I want all students to be aware that the community cares about them and they are accepted, they belong here.”
Details and progress of the mental health awareness project will be presented at an upcoming meeting of the Wellington Village Council.
“We have a project that is targeted to the mental health awareness for our youth. This is a stressful time, and it helps them feel better,” said Echeverria, explaining that the program will give youth tips to feel better and teach them how to handle stressful situations.
If you are looking for some amazing high-end boutique shopping, it’s time to plan a visit to the Royal Poinciana Plaza in Palm Beach. The Royal Poinciana Plaza is an iconic destination that serves as a jewel box oasis in the heart of Palm Beach. Built in the late 1950s, it stands today as a landmarked property and one of Palm Beach’s most treasured architectural gems.
With 180,000 square feet of retail space and lush, sprawling gardens, the shopping mecca offers a unique outdoor international shopping and entertainment destination for indulgence, inspiration and retreat.
Designed by world-renowned architect John Volk, The Royal echoes some of Europe’s legendary retail destinations like the Palais Royal in Paris. The property has been carefully restored to its original mid-century glamour while remaining true to its retail roots. Its offerings include a unique mix of luxury retail, fashion, dining and entertainment, along with exceptional amenities for both local and international visitors.
Arranged around two beautiful courtyards with outdoor furniture, palm trees and gardens, The Royal provides a destination for guests to enjoy outdoor events, read the paper, sip a coffee, gather with family and friends, shop or dine.
This season, The Royal will debut nine new tenants for guests to enjoy.
Acquavella Galleries, Pace Gallery, Lévy Gorvy and Sotheby’s join existing art gallery Gavlak, making Palm Beach a bubble for art this season.
The plaza also added luxury boutiques for every style with the addition of Jimmy Choo, Badgley Mischka, Asprey London and Lingua Franca.
SoulCycle is additionally popping up for the season with SoulOutside, perfect for a safe and fun al fresco workout.
The Royal Poinciana Plaza is located at 340 Royal Poinciana Way in Palm Beach. For more information, visit www.theroyalpoincianaplaza.com or discover @theroyalpoincianaplaza on Instagram.
A fine wine will get better with age, and the same philosophy also applies to many types of automobiles. And just as it’s fun to enjoy an aged bottle of wine, it’s also fun to see, touch, drive and, in some cases, own some of the world’s most amazing automobiles. On Sunday, Nov. 15, nearly 100 of the world’s most tried, tested and treasured cars were on display during the second annual Palm Beach Concours, held this year in Wellington.
This automobile showcase was a gathering of some of the greatest cars that the world has ever seen and driven. The list of brands includes Packard, Bentley, Porsche, Rolls-Royce, Ford, Buick, Lamborghini, Bugatti, Aston-Martin, Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari, among others.
Because of COVID-19 restrictions, the second annual Palm Beach Concours could not return to its original Worth Avenue home in Palm Beach this year. As a result, event coordinator Sidney Vallon needed a new plan, and that turned out to be the Wellington estate of host and car lover Fred Fishback. Clearly, Fishback and Vallon agreed that the show must go on.
“We had to find a place where we had enough room for the cars, and we could follow social distancing, enforce CDC guidelines and take everybody’s temperature,” Vallon said. “And everybody had to wear a mask.”
Because of the virus restrictions, the number of attendees at this year’s Palm Beach Concours was cut dramatically to only include car owners, their spouses, sponsors, car dealers, collectors and a handful of invited guests.
The festivities began with an evening reception on Saturday, Nov. 14 at the showroom of Palm Beach Classics, which Vallon owns, in West Palm Beach. At this mixer, world-famous, hall-of-fame English racecar driver Derek Bell, MBE, hosted a question-and-answer session where he discussed his long, storied and successful career in racing, largely spent in Europe. The mixer also served as a fundraiser for the event’s charity, the Pediatric Oncology Support Team (POST).
Bell, 79, who has a home in Boca Raton, was honored for his highly successful career as a racecar driver. In fact, 50 years ago, Bell drove in the 24 Hours of Le Mans behind the wheel of the Porsche 917.
Bell also worked with actor Steve McQueen in the filming of the 1970 movie Le Mans and remains an active, licensed racecar driver.
At the 2020 Palm Beach Concours in Wellington, the oldest car was a 1917 White, which actually survived a fire during the 1929 Auto Show at the Astor Hotel in New York City. That car, which features an aluminum body, has 11,000 original miles on the odometer. According to Vallon, the car is still operational. “You can start the car, and it still runs,” he said.
The most expensive vehicle on display was probably the Porsche 917, which was driven to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans back in 1969. That car’s current price tag is no bargain. “It’s worth about $20 million,” Vallon said.
Another unique car was a 1934 Rolls-Royce 20/25 Parkward Touring Saloon, one of only 40 ever produced.
Vallon, who practices what he preaches, showcased a few of his proud possessions at the event, which included a 1936 Mercedes-Benz 170 Cab A, a 1952 Mercedes-Benz 300 and a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gold Wing.
In keeping with the traditions of other car shows, the Palm Beach Concours had a panel of judges that examined, rated and graded the cars.
There were a number of categories, such as Best of Show, Best Pre-World War II American, Best Pre-World War II European, Best Post-World War II American, Best Post-World War II European, People’s Choice, Super Car, the Derek Bell Award and Best Porsche.
In all, the value of the cars on display at this unique Wellington event was in excess of $100 million — from classics to exotics to hypercars. The winner of each judged category received a Derek Bell-autographed bottle of Carbon Champagne, which was one of the primary sponsors of the Palm Beach Concours.
While walking from car to car, attendees were served champagne. There was an interesting story with every car, and every owner had a story.
Thomas and Julianna Sawicz enjoy driving their black 2018 McLaren. “It’s fast and fun,” they both agreed.
Grant Kehres, a Boca Raton-based real estate executive, showcased his 1961 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II. It’s a car he will never sell, which he named “Grace,” as the car reminds him of the late actress Grace Kelly, the late Princess Grace of Monaco.
“You can’t get more elegant than Grace Kelly,” Kehres said. “I have hand-cleaned every nut and bolt in this car, and I will never sell her.”
Wellington residents Chris and Caryn Lapinski enjoy owning their 1934 SS (Swan Swallow) 1. “It’s a really smooth ride,” Caryn Lapinski said.
Jupiter resident Gene Tareshawty enjoys bringing his 1940 Packard to these types of events. “I enjoy spending time around old cars and old friends,” he said.
The roots of Vallon’s interest in automobiles can be traced to his childhood. He grew up along the French Riviera in Côte D’Azur, France, where he was always around beautiful cars. To this day, he admits that those childhood experiences made a huge impression on him.
Years later, as an adult, he opened his own classic car dealership and restoration shop, which is now Palm Beach Classics.
In keeping with the traditions of Wellington’s equestrian roots and the “horsepower” of automobiles, a horse jumping showcase was also assembled for the viewing pleasure of those who attended this year’s Palm Beach Concours in Wellington.
Visit www.palmbeachconcours.com to learn more about the Palm Beach Concours.
In many respects, longtime English racecar driver Derek Bell feels as if he’s “lucky to be alive.”
“When I was racing, the thought of dying in the race crossed my mind at the beginning of every race,” Bell recalled. “I just wanted to walk away alive at the end.”
Those are rather simplistic goals for a man who knew how to find the winner’s circle on a regular basis.
The 79-year-old Bell, who resides in Boca Raton, attributes his longevity to working with great people and great equipment. “I worked with the best racecar teams and the best brands,” said Bell, who remains lean and physically fit to drive.
As Bell reflects on his career in racing, he said that one of his most vivid memories in the sport was qualifying for the 1967 Italian Grand Prix.
“I qualified in the third row, which I felt was a little disappointing,” he remembered. “Then, on the day of the race, I had Denny Hulme (the 1967 World Champion) on one side and Jackie Stewart (a future three-time world champion) on either side of me. Looking back, that was pretty impressive.”
The roots of Bell’s career behind the wheel can be traced to his childhood. Bell was encouraged to start racing by his stepfather. He won his first-ever race while driving a Lotus in March 1964.
Bell’s career highlights are many, as he won the 24 Hours of Le Mans race on five occasions — 1975, 1981, 1982, 1986 and 1987, which makes him the most successful British driver in this race to date. He also was on the winning driving team at the 24 Hours of Daytona three times — 1986, 1987 and 1989. And Bell won the World Sportscar Championship in 1985 and 1986. It’s fair to say that Bell had a “love affair” with the 24 Hours of Le Mans, as he once drove the JW Gulf Porsche 917LH to a top speed of 246 mph.
Besides making a name for himself in Hollywood, Bell played a big part in the sport being seen on the big screen. He was involved in the filming of the 1970 movie Le Mans, which starred Steve McQueen. During the filming of the movie, Bell and his family lived with the McQueen family. While the film was being made, Bell was involved in a potentially fatal incident when the car that he was driving — a Ferrari 512 — suddenly caught fire. Fortunately, Bell was able to successfully escape the burning car and only suffered minor burns.
When Bell was not driving, he enjoyed playing other sports. “I enjoyed skiing, playing squash, tennis and rugby,” Bell said. “I played a little bit of rugby in New Zealand and Australia, but I had to stop playing so I would not injure my fingers, which I needed to drive.”
Over the years, Bell has received a number of honors, including one from Queen Elizabeth II. Back in 1986, she bestowed upon him the title of MBE (Member of the British Empire) for his contributions to motor sport. So, his official name is now Derek Bell, MBE — quite an honor for a man who considers himself “lucky to be alive.”
Spending summers riding horses in South Florida, Carrie Scharbo never imagined that her professional career would one day lead her back to combine her love for fashion with horses in creating an American lifestyle brand inspired by both.
As an award-winning television journalist, successful entrepreneur and mother of two, Scharbo founded William Grace in May 2019 based upon the belief that fashion should be both easy and effortless, a mantra that is taking the equestrian world by storm as she shares products that help people from all backgrounds sport their own unique style.
“I have always loved being around horses, and I spent several summers riding western and barrel racing a little bit growing up, but it is an expensive sport. I was not from a wealthy family, so that wasn’t something my parents could afford for me to continue to do,” Scharbo said. “As an adult, I got back into horseback riding with some girlfriends. I brought my children out to the barn, and they immediately fell in love with it. So, we jumped right into horse showing.”
Upon entering the hunter jumper horse show scene with her young son and daughter, Scharbo noticed a gap in the equestrian market for products at an in-between price point. This noticeable rift inspired Scharbo to put on her entrepreneurial hat and dive deep into the possibility of starting her own business. Further investigation led Scharbo to one conclusion: if she was to have her own business, it would be a one-stop-shop that made fashion accessible for both riders and people who just love the equestrian aesthetic, lifestyle and fashion — something for equestrians and enthusiasts of the sport.
“I was looking for something for the next chapter of my life, as my kids were getting older and becoming more independent,” she explained. “Having started a company before with partners, I was anxious to exercise my own entrepreneurial skills, and the more time we spent at horse shows and the more horse shows we went to, I was envisioning different products and elements that I could bring. I really wanted to see more of what I was personally and decided that William Grace would allow me to bring all of that to life.”
And so, the brand William Grace was born, breathing fresh air into the equestrian space with what she calls a “livable luxury” line of products, including masks, scarves and hats, handbags, jewelry and home accessories. The hand selection of each product is a process Scharbo takes great pride in. Careful consideration of quality, function and style are all determining factors that go into finding and pricing products that best serve her customers.
“I care very much about our customers and their experiences regarding the pieces that we are putting out. There is nothing more disappointing than spending your hard-earned money on something and not having it last for years to come. I want to make sure that the products are high quality and durable,” Scharbo said. “From there, I consider the aesthetic. I want these items to be fun and fashionable. I want people to feel good about what they are putting on. I test everything with friends, family and people inside William Grace, because their opinion matters. I also like to pick things seasonally. There are some classic pieces that will stay in our product line for many years to come, but I love celebrating the change of seasons, especially with jewelry and, of course, home décor.”
Scharbo is dedicated to weaving the William Grace brand into all facets of life. Due to the recent outbreak of COVID-19, Scharbo took it upon herself to implement face masks into the William Grace brand in order to support the growing demand in the industry. Along with popular lifestyle products such as jewelry, clutches and scarves, Scharbo’s addition of face masks allows equestrians to remain safe while continuing to sport their style as they compete across the country. Just this fall, William Grace became the official mask provider for the 2020 National Horse Show and has now sold more than 50,000 masks worldwide.
“William Grace translates to people inside and outside the horse world because it has such a traditional, classic, simple elegance to it, a refinement,” she said. “It is just something that I wanted to share with people, share my love of the things that bring me happiness.”
The sky’s the limit for Scharbo and her growing business, as she continues to pioneer her way into the equestrian space with products that serve all disciplines. In the future, Scharbo hopes to take the brand global, aligning herself and the William Grace name with a broader audience with one common denominator: their love for horses.
“We have so many wonderful disciplines within our sport, and horses are just a universal commonality for each,” Scharbo said. “Horses bring people together and unite people, and as a company, I want to unite people, because we are more similar than we are different. That is my goal for the brand, to bring people together, whether it is around clothing or jewelry or homeware or kitchenware or even just each other, being together is what matters most.”
Learn more about William Grace at www.william-grace.com.