It was a light-bulb moment. “I was working for a New York City private equity firm specializing in retail and thinking about product categories,” says Texas native Paul Hedrick. “I realized my boots were the most expensive things I had on. And it suddenly dawned on me that there was a real business opportunity.” Soon, Paul moved back to Texas and began developing a business plan that led to the start of Tecovas, an exclusively Western cowboy boot brand. Paul launched online in October 2015—and the first boots were shipping by Thanksgiving.
Though the company opened an Austin showroom in late 2016, Tecovas still sells more than 95 percent of their boots online. And nearly all of their business planning and marketing is handled using Google tools, including AdWords, Google’s advertising program, Google Analytics, Google Shopping, and G Suite. “We use AdWords and Google Shopping campaigns to get the word out, Analytics to see how our site and ads are performing, and G Suite for planning and communication,” Paul says. Google now helps generate nearly a third of Tecovas’ revenue. Paul relies on its tools to drive traffic to their website and regularly reviews Google Analytics reports to refine their advertising efforts.
“2016 was a good first year,” Paul says. An online-only marketing strategy paved the way for exceptional growth. By the end of 2016, Tecovas had 8,000 customers. Thanks in part to Google’s scalable online tools, they’re projecting over 50,000 customers in 2017. Launched as a two-man operation, Tecovas now employs a half-dozen workers and plans on tripling their staff in the coming months. They give back to the community by donating unused and returned boots to a charity that provides footwear to homeless shelters. All in all, his light-bulb moment turned out pretty well. “There has never been a better time to start a business online,” says Paul.