01 Sep 2013
A Start-Up with GiddyupTopics:
A Start-Up with Giddyup
Whether you're the real deal or all hat and no cattle, you can cowboy up in style with custom-made boots from Sarah Ford (MBA 2007). Ford founded Texas-based Ranch Road Boots (ranchroadboots.com) in 2012 after stints with Trilogy Software, BCG, and Local Motors. She also served for five years in the Marine Corps (including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan) as a logistics officer, rising to the rank of captain. It's a résumé that Ford jokes has made her "just dangerous enough to BS my way out of most tight spots."
"Cowboy boots go way back to my West Texas roots," Ford explains, so when the entrepreneurial bug bit, she knew exactly what she wanted to do. Here's the story behind RRB:
Lightbulb moment "Consumers like made-in-USA products, customization, and handcraftsmanship. I thought, 'I can do that with cowboy boots.' They're timeless and appreciated worldwide, so I don't have to guess fashion trends."
Best advice "Don't worry about a business plan, just go and sell 50 pairs of boots."
Capitalization "So far, just me and my savings; I don't want to be in debt and wasn't ready to surrender equity until I'd built something."
Online sales "That's our focus, and it's made possible by our 'Fit Kit' at-home measuring system. We're now shifting to more ready-to-wear sizes, too."
Best-seller "The Honcho, for about $900–$1,200. It's a traditional style, which I prefer."
The future "I'd like to have a lifestyle brand, with boots leading the way. We're on the low end for custom prices but it's still a lot to ask of first-time buyers."
Class of MBA 2007, Section I