W&E Today provides retailers and manufacturers with education and ideas that provoke innovation in the Western and English markets.
Issue link: http://wetoday.epubxp.com/i/156105
22 Western & English Today X Marks the Spot About five years ago, Bob and Jenna moved from their Hempstead ranch to a ranch outside of Ingram, Texas, about 75 miles northwest of San Antonio. While Twisted X's headquarters remains in Decatur, Bob remotely does his part of running the business from their Ingram ranch, but his primary focus is on development and designing boots. "My development ofce is in the upstairs of our barn," Bob explains. "We have windows on both sides, so I get a lot of natural light so you can see true colors." No doubt, Bob works hard at his job, but Jenna, who happens to be Twisted X's No. 2 salesperson, burns rubber 300 days a year — meeting with every potential retailer in southern Texas and all of Louisiana, while transporting almost 200 boot styles in a 30-foot Winnebago, a.k.a. "Turtle." "I'm on the road most of the year, but I love my job," Jenna says. "I can't go fast enough. It's a lot of fun, and I love meeting with the retailers, who are also my friends." After almost a decade with Twisted X, driving around and seeing her friends/store owners is Jenna's favorite part of the job. "So many business relationships have turned into friendships. And I love going and seeing my friends and showing them our new products," Jenna says. "I like to see how I can help them. I admit that being on the road 300 days a year takes an odd cat. I think I must have been a gypsy, because it's right up my alley. I ofen have boots coming out of every drawer, nook and cranny inside the Turtle. All my customers know Turtle, and they're excited when she's coming. And Bob used to do what I do, so he's very understanding. We make a point to get together every two weeks or so, wherever we might be." Together, Bob and Jenna attend the Red Stegall's Cowboy Gathering in Fort Worth, the Working Ranch Cutting Finals in Fort Worth, the Working Ranch Cowboy Finals in Amarillo, the Fort Worth Livestock Show and Rodeo, the South Texas Ranch Rodeo Finals in San Antonio, the San Antonio Livestock Show and Rodeo, the Houston Live Stock Show and Rodeo, and of course, the Western markets. "Not only are these events a blast, but this is research and development for Bob," says Jenna. "We want to know how diferent boots are ftting, what people are wearing and what they're buying. We're there to be hands-on, literally, on our hands and knees, fitting boots on people. Tis way, Bob gets input from our end users, which helps him stay abreast of the working cowboy's footwear needs." While Jenna is cruising in the Turtle, Baker and the other 10 sales reps are also on the road, Bob is holding down the fort in Ingram or is in one of the three factories where Twisted X's boots are made. Te rest of the Twisted X team is hard at work at the headquarters in Decatur. "Decatur has been very good to us," says Jenna. "We considered moving the headquarters to Hempstead, but Decatur had a lot of economic development going on; plus, there's a large labor pool up there in the Dallas/ Fort Worth area." Sandy Brazile, who primarily works in advertising and marketing, but also helps the company in a number of other aspects, has been with Twisted X since November 2005. She works out of the Decatur ofce and lives about a mile away. "I grew up in the country, and our ranch is my entire life. I still ride for fun," she says. "And I've been into cowboy boots my entire life, so this job was a natural ft for me. I love and wear boots every day. Tis really isn't a job for me, it's a passion." Brazile further adds that she's amazed at the amount of growth Twisted X has experienced over the last eight years. "It's just incredible," she says. "And I think that's a big credit to the people who work here." While Brazile may not be in sales, she knows Twisted X's boots backward and forward. In a food of boot jargon, Brazile delineates the company's large selection of boot categories — from their Buckaroos to their only semi-fashion boots (the Steppin' Out Collection) to the men's Red River Line to the Rough Stock Collection — not to mention the work boots, casual shoes, and of course, the children's boots. "We have an amazing collection of boots that Bob has developed, and they're so comfortable — it's like wearing an orthotic," Brazile says. "Tere's no break-in time. Out boots are comfortable from the get-go." fall 2013 PHOTOs ON THIs PaGE aND OPPOsITE PaGE by alaNa HarrIsON ABOVE: Twisted X's marketing and advertising go-to gal Sandy Brazile arranges a display shelf at the Decatur, Texas, headquarters. OPPOSITE PAGE: Twisted X's massive, air-conditioned warehouse, located in Fort Worth, houses tens of thousands of boots. and a variety of toe styles. "Both of us have a knack for taking something that we see and turning it into a stitch pattern," Baker says. "We are students of the boot business, and we learn something new every day." Not only are Bob and Baker business partners, they've been fast friends for nearly four decades. Early in their careers, they worked for competing companies, but remained close. "When we frst met, we were both junior salesmen for boot companies and our booths were right next to each other at the Dallas Market, so we had the opportunity to talk." Baker explains. "We also traveled the same territory and competed for shelf space." Baker, too, has been involved in the cowboy/ranch lifestyle for most of his life. "It's just my way of life. And this job is an ideal ft for me, and maybe, hopefully, the last job for me," he says. "I love the Western industry. Te people are the greatest people in the world, and I can't imagine doing anything else."