Paul Hedrick believes you don’t have to live in cowboy country to wear Western boots.
The founder of Austin, Texas-based direct-to-consumer brand Tecovas told FN that industry estimates peg the Western category as a $4 billion market that offers a range of possibilities.
The 30-year-old entrepreneur, formerly a retail consultant, launched his company in 2015, funded in part with $28 million raised through outside investors.
“Our goal is to be as accessible as possible to [anyone] who wants to try Western boots for the first time or the 100th time,” said Hedrick, adding that his customer base spans the country.
Tecovas seems to have a winning formula. In 2017, for instance — its second year in business — revenue totaled $10 million and then tripled last year.
From the beginning, Hedrick has been committed to an online platform offering classic men’s and women’s boots that are made in Mexico and retail from $195 to $455.
However, this spring, he’s taking a cue from fellow e-commerce brands Allbirds and Thursday Boot Co., and opening a brick-and-mortar location on Austin’s trendy South Congress Street. The store will sit below the company’s new headquarters, allowing Hedrick to interact directly with customers. “We tried the [retail] model in our [current] office space to confirm that people loved coming in, meeting the team and seeing the boots,” he said.
Tecovas also connects to consumers through social media and online ads, though always with an eye on the bottom line. “We’re very data- and results-focused, and never increase our budget unless we’re making improvements,” Hedrick said.
The company did, however, move into new marketing territory last fall with national spots on CNN and MSNBC. “It was an opportunistic time when [advertising] inventory was cheap.”
And Hedrick is equally assertive when it comes to expanding his brand’s product range. For fall ’18, he added men’s denim to the mix, following the introduction of leather bags and belts in spring ’18. “We see leather goods as an opportunity in 2019,” he said. “We also love the idea of getting into more apparel.”
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