"When the price of oil plummeted, Lizzy Chesnut Bentley knew it was time to go all-in on another Texas tradition."
After graduating in 2012 she moved to Houston to work at Halliburton as a financial analyst. The oil business was booming and she loved the city, where everyone she met seemed to be professionally driven. One element of corporate culture irked her, though: She couldn’t find a pair of cowboy boots that worked with her buttoned-up office wardrobe. “I’m wearing heels every day. I’m looking around, all the men are wearing cowboy boots, and I was just jealous,” she says.
After spending the holidays with her family and discussing the future, she decided the time was right to launch her business. “I just had nothing to lose. I had saved enough money to get it going,” she says. “The whole industry is getting laid off. It was like, ‘I’m going to use my energy here. I have a company ready to go.’ ”.
She ordered 50 pairs of boots from her manufacturer and launched City Boots, hosting trunk shows in her hometown and setting up a booth at holiday markets and Junior League events.
“The first year was very slow. Nobody’s heard of me. I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t have any retail experience,” she says. “People were liking the product, though. It wasn’t really a hard sell, it was just getting comfortable with selling something, for me.”
But business picked up. CITY Boots has a showroom in Fort Worth, a representative who does fittings in Houston, and otherwise operates online. As a result, the company has been well-positioned to survive the pandemic, selling more boots in the fourth quarter of 2020 than in all of 2019. City Boots range from roughly $850 to $1,350 a pair.
Read the full article on Wall Street Journal here.