Episode #46

Will Roman from Chisos Boots

Also available on:

In this episode of Beyond the Inbox, Will Roman, the founder of Chisos Boots, joins us to discuss his journey of creating a Texas-based boot brand known for its high-quality, handcrafted boots. Will shares how he has built a strong community around the brand and emphasizes the value of craftsmanship and exceptional customer experiences.

The conversation begins with Will expressing his desire to make people aware that Chisos Boots is different from other brands and that they prioritize certain approaches when it comes to craftsmanship and quality. He explains that while there are other brands producing good boots, Chisos Boots stands out by merging comfort and craftsmanship. Will highlights the importance of customer feedback and the role it plays in improving their products.

Will introduces the team behind Chisos Boots, mentioning that they have four members in Austin and a workshop in Juan Wato, outside the city of Leon. He discusses how he initially acquired customers by showcasing his prototypes and production models in bars on Sixth Street in Austin. This unconventional approach allowed him to receive real-time feedback from people and make early sales.

The feedback from customers trying on the boots for the first time was overwhelmingly positive. Many were surprised by the comfort and quality of the handcrafted boots, as they were used to experiencing a break-in period with other brands. Will explains that Chisos Boots conditions the leather and simulates walking in the boots before selling them, resulting in a partially broken-in feel right out of the store.

The conversation takes an interesting turn as Will shares a story about the Virginia Beach bomb squad reaching out to him after seeing a video of boots being subjected to various tests. This unexpected connection led to a memorable tour and further publicity for Chisos Boots. Will emphasizes the importance of word-of-mouth marketing and the support of their community in driving their business.

Will discusses the three tiers of their brand: building a long-lasting product, contributing back to land conservation in Texas through sales, and creating a physical gathering place for the community. He expresses his pride in Chisos Boots being a brand that customers are proud to wear and share with others.

As the conversation progresses, Will mentions that they offer free shipping for Texans as a way to show their love and pride for Texas. He talks about the importance of building lasting relationships with customers and creating a brand that people identify with and trust.

Will touches on the challenge of professionalizing the business while maintaining the quality and values that set Chisos Boots apart. He emphasizes the need to grow at a reasonable rate without sacrificing the core aspects that customers appreciate.

In closing, Will shares his vision for the future of Chisos Boots, which includes remaining a relatively small team, expanding their facilities, and creating a gathering place for customers. He expresses his commitment to maintaining the brand's quality and customer relationships as they continue to grow.

Overall, this episode of Beyond the Inbox provides valuable insights into the journey of Chisos Boots, highlighting the importance of community, craftsmanship, and exceptional customer experiences in building a successful brand.

Read the transcript:

  • (10:30) Will talks about the Junior Beach Bomb Squad story and their experiment of testing the durability of Chisos boots.
  • (11:26) Sam mentions the great publicity generated by the Junior Beach Bomb Squad story.
  • (12:20) Will discusses the importance of community for Chisos and how word-of-mouth marketing plays a significant role in their brand.
  • (12:49) Will explains how the values of community building and giving back were influenced by his admiration for Theodore Roosevelt.
  • (13:43) Will describes the three tiers of Chisos' mission: creating durable products, contributing to land conservation, and being a gathering place for the community.
  • (14:53) Sam asks if Chisos events are open to customers and non-customers, and Will confirms that they are open to everyone.
  • (15:47) Will mentions the significance of Chisos events and how they have attracted attendees from different parts of the country.
  • (15:54) Sam asks about the free shipping offer for Texans, and Will explains that it is a way to show pride in Texas and provide extra care for local customers.
  • (16:20) Will elaborates on the decision to offer free shipping for Texans and the deep love and pride Chisos has for Texas.
  • (17:33) Sam inquires about Chisos' approach to customer lifetime value and if customers refer friends and family. Will emphasizes the importance of building a valuable product that customers are proud to wear and share with others.
  • (18:56) Will discusses the collection of different boot styles and how they cater to various occasions and personal preferences.
  • (20:40) Sam asks about the strategy behind Chisos' 1,174 five-star reviews. Will explains that they reach out to customers after a few weeks of purchasing boots to gather feedback, but they don't incentivize reviews.
  • (21:50) Will expresses gratitude for the detailed and passionate reviews they receive from customers and emphasizes that Chisos is not for everyone but resonates deeply with those it is meant for.
  • (22:21) Will talks about the challenges of professionalizing the business and scaling up while maintaining the quality and values that define Chisos.
  • (23:25) Will assures that Chisos will not sacrifice the quality of the product and shares their commitment to personalized touches like handwritten notes in each boot.
  • (24:12) Will envisions his role shifting from being involved in every aspect of the business to overseeing systems and reports, as well as maintaining relationships with customers.
  • (25:47) Will emphasizes that his vision for Chisos has not changed and that he wants to maintain a close connection with customers, expand the team, and create a physical gathering place.
  • (26:53) Will shares where listeners can learn more about Chisos, including their website, YouTube channel, and Instagram.
  • (27:24) Sam concludes the conversation, thanking Will for sharing his insights and wishing Chisos the best in the future.