If you’re not from Texas, you might not fully understand the subtle nuances of the cowboy boot. There’s a wide range of options in this $3 billion industry, from the $40 pair you pick up at Target to $12,000 alligator skin pair you have handmade by a specialist.
Paul Hedrick, a 28-year old Texan who went to Harvard then worked at McKinsey, decided to give the cowboy boot the Everlane treatment. A year ago, he launched direct-to-consumer brand called Tecovas. He works with one of the oldest boot-making factories and tanneries in the world in Leon, Mexico, to produce high-quality men and women’s boots that would ordinarily sell for $500. But by selling them on a website, he’s able to charge less than $200.
“It was so clear to me that this model would work with cowboy boots,” Hedrick tells Fast Company. He was right: In his first year in business, he generated $2 million in sales and he expects to make eight figures in his second year. When a boot sells out, the brand now gets wait lists of more than 2,000 customers waiting for it to be restocked. It goes to show that there are still many industries that stand to be disrupted by the direct-to-consumer model.