One year while Arlie was still teaching and coaching football, his brother gave him a cowboy boot birdhouse for Christmas...
Other faculty members saw it and asked if Arlie could make one for them. It was a challenge, and he enjoyed working in his shop, so he started making birdhouses as a hobby. It grew into a part-time business, and buying cowboy boots was part of it.
We found beautiful vintage cowboy boots at garage sales and thrift stores, and fell in love with the artistry and craftsmanship of cowboy boots. Soon, buying and selling vintage cowboy boots became another part-time business. It occured to us that even when the soles and vamps were worn out, the leather tops were often still in beautiful condition.
After Arlie retired from teaching and coaching, we moved from Round Rock to Morgan Mill, TX, where we continued making and selling birdhouses, and buying and selling vintage cowboy boots. But Arlie wanted to try his hand at using those beautiful boot tops for another purpose... making cowboy boot purses!
Now making purses is quite a stretch from teaching and coaching Texas football! But Arlie was determined, so he went out and bought a commercial sewing machine. He taught himself how to sew through practice and perseverence, and gradually honed his craft. He made up a few purses, and we sold our first cowboy boot purses at a horse show in Stephenville, TX. We then did several craft fairs, and eventually set up in Canton, TX, where we had a booth for four years. Along the way, we created a website to expand our business further.
Month after month, we listened to customer feedback. Arlie loves trying new things, and our purse styles evolved. It wasn't long before he created his own design, the "Diana", which is now our most popular style.
Customers also wanted "Custom" purses made from their own boots. Most were sentimental boots, having been worn by someone they loved, or in some cases, a favorite pair of their own boots they could no longer wear. This has grown into a special part of our business. We enjoy hearing the stories behind the boots, and Arlie is honored each time he is entrusted with such treasured possessions to make a special keepsake.
Life is good! Work hard, put yourself out there, stay open to new possibilities, and you never know what might happen!
One day out of the blue, we got a telephone call from someone who had been hired by the Hartford Insurance Company to create a nationally televised commercial. Two actors played a father and daughter who owned a custom cowboy boot business. The daughter suggested adding cowboy boot purses to match the boots they were making, and the father agreed. Hartford was there to help them grow.
The person responsible for hiring the "talent" for the commercial found our website and was interested in our "Diana" purses. They asked Arlie if he would design a similar style for the commercial, and he said, "Yes!" In the commercial, another actress plays a customer who is trying on boots with the matching cowboy boot purse made by Arlie. This purse is now known as the "Hartford Purse".
The Hartford Insurance commercial was seen by thousands, and attracted many new Rootin Tootin Boutique customers. We are sincerely grateful to Hartford and all the nice folks involved in producing the commercial. Special thanks to our friends Alvie and Christy Weed, who provided moral support, a home-base closer to Austin and San Antonio, and their garage as a temporary cowboy boot purse workshop.
Since the Hartford commercial, more good fortune has come our way. Texas Country Reporter called and asked to film a segment on Rootin Tootin Boutique showing Arlie making purses and talking to Bob Phillips. It has aired twice in Texas and is scheduled to air nationally on RFD-TV in May 2013. This also has attracted new customers who had never heard of us.
Arlie and Debby look forward to working together each day and sharing ideas and all that's involved in keeping Rootin Tootin Boutique up and running. We are truly blessed and grateful!
I received my custom purse today and its perfect!!! Thank you for including your business cards..they are safely tucked inside the inside pocket so I can hand them out to friends!
My sister saw you guys at the Dulles Expo craft show in Chantilly, VA recently and loved your work. She bought a wine tote from you and since her birthday is next weekend, we decided to get her one of your purses. You do beautiful work! Thanks so much!
Congratulations Arlie and Debby! Years after receiving one of your purses as a Christmas gift from my husband, I’m still getting complements on my purse EVERY TIME I shop! A young lady at the drycleaners actually remembered my purse one day that I used another and asked me, “Where your cowgirl purse?!” Of course, I tell all of these ladies where it was purchased.:o) One of these days I hope to be able to purchase another purse in another color.
This comment would be in your "kudos" category, for sure! I just saw you guys at the Craftsmen's Classic show in Columbia, SC. I didn't buy a bag but it's only because I have frozen shoulder issues and need something that has absolutely no weight to start with so I have to avoid leather. That said, if I didn't have that issue, I would have wanted one because these bags are gorgeous and you are truly a gifted artist! I just couldn't believe my eyes! I will tell others about your bags and encourage them to look at your website. Wow...carrying one of these eye-catching bags would be like carrying around a work of art! Keep up the beautiful work and have safe travel to future shows!
Where's the "Love it" button on Facebook?
My purse always brings a smile to me and warms my heart since it was made from my Daddy's boots. I just took it to a couples shower Saturday and got compliments as I always do! Take care and please continue to keep me updated. I'm sure I will be ordering again in the not-too-distant future.
My boot bag - and it is AWESOME - arrived yesterday. This was perfect, because we actually celebrated my birthday on Thursday, so I was able to carry my new handbag to dinner! If you'd like, send me about twenty of your business cards, so I can hand them out when people notice my handbag. I'll run through the cards you sent by then end of next week!
I must say that I LOVE my boot purses. I discovered you at the Craftsmen's classic Craft show in Greensboro held back in March! I bought two, but find that I carry the beige one all of the time. I wish I had a dollar for each time someone ask me about the purse. I WOULD BE RICH! NO KIDDING! I have a question? What is the cost if I supply a pair of boots and have them made into a purse? Please let me know. Thanks!
This is the third purse I have purchased in the past three years. My wife can’t go anywhere that she doesn’t get a comment about how beautiful they are. Thanks!
I love my purse!!!!
I Google searched boot purses after that Hartford commercial a year ago or so and saved your site until I got ready to buy one. Thanks!
I was so excited to receive my purse. I was looking on line and found you. Love your merchandise!
I saw your purses on "Texas Country Reporter" show! Can't wait for my Birthday present to arrive!
I was turned on to your bags by the Texas Country Reporter show and had to have one!
I absolutely love the purse you made for my mom from my father's boots. I can barely wait to give her the purse as a gift. It will be awesome for her to carry something of my father's with her each and every day. Since his passing she misses him so very much. This is a way of taking him with her everywhere she goes. THANKS FOR YOUR AMAZING SERVICE. MAY YOUR BUSINESS BE GREATLY BLESSED!
Hi. I saw a preview of the Texas Country Reporter story on CBS news. I ordered a purse earlier for myself and got so many compliments, I've ordered another for my friend's daughter.
Hello. I just wanted to say thank you for sending my purse so quickly. It is a birthday gift from my husband to me. It is more beautiful in person than it was online. My birthday is not till next month, but I am enjoying the purse now :- ). You do beautiful work. Thank you.
The turquoise boot/purse I ordered Monday came priority mail today! The purse looks great!!
Thanks so much for the prompt attention and the great purse.
Just to let you guys know my wife flipped over the pocketbook!
Dear Debby and Arlie, i just want to wish you both a very happy christmas and new year. my mom was in the retail business and i know what it's like this time of year, but i just want to say that i love my purse. i get compliments everywhere i go and i carry your email address with me everywhere so i can share it with anyone that is interested.
I received my Rachel cowboy purse last night for Christmas. It was everything that I expected and more. My family was totally surprised with the purse; I saw the ad and put the item on my Christmas list; hoping I would receive it. I checked your website several times for updates and saw how many were out of stock. But I did receive mine. I love the sizing shown inside. Again, thanks - I cannot wait to show all my friends both here in Kentucky and Arizona.
Just received my handbag and I love it!! I’m an archaeologist (yep for real) and am always looking for the unusual and especially items that evoke a sense of time…
It is like it is painted on you, that you are wonderful sweet people!!!! You are the best example of how a simple GREAT idea can be turned into a thriving business. I have sent your web page link to ALL my friends and their wives and girlfriends...
It is RARE that I think nice thoughts about an insurance company, but I think the Hartford hit a home run here!! They have aided people with a NUMBER ONE business idea, and got national and international attention. People from all over the world, in scores of countries are seeing you and your fantastic products. It just doesn't get better than that!!
My Christmas present arrived late last week and my husband let me peek at it (to be sure I'd like it). It's a work of art!
Howdy! My husband looked up the Hartford ad on google. I rave about the purses everytime the ad comes on. Of course he went and bought one for me! They are wonderful!! Thank you Arlie! And thank you too, Debby. Christmas Blessings.
The package arrived yesterday afternoon. The purse is beautiful! My daughter is going to love her Christmas present. I simply must tell you, when she saw the Hartford commercial on TV, she got very excited and said, "That is so cool. They make purses from boots AND the bags are real pretty." Well, that got me scouring the internet to find you folks. I'm so glad I found your webpage. Thanks again for all your help with getting my order processed. We'll be checking back to watch for new items that might strike our fancy and I'm certain once her friends see her beautiful new purse, they'll want one too.
I saw the purses on the TV commercial and i know nice things when i see them! I knew i had to have one so i googled it and the rest is history! I love that they are handmade in Texas. I am proud to be a Texan and an American and nothing says that better than these purses!
I found you by googling "boot handbag". I kept looking until I found a site with styles that I liked. The purse is a Christmas present for my sister, but I will be back after the holidays for one of my own!
I saw your purse on the commerical and thought it was beautiful! I then went to Google and typed in cowboy boot purses and found your web site. They are all so beautiful it was hard to decide on one! I would love to be able to afford the one I saw on the commerical but I'll have to save up a bit to buy that one. I can't wait to receive mine.
Thanks Arlie! My wife loves it!
Hi Arlie & Debby! Received my boot purses... they're beautiful!! I had planned on giving them as gifts this year, but instead I'm keeping them for myself:) Each of your purses are individual pieces of artwork! Good luck with your Christmas season. Thanks again & Happy Holidays:)
I received the purse today and it is beautiful!! I can’t wait for my daughter to see it! I know she will absolutely love it. Arlie is so talented and blessed to have the talent. I will still add him to my FB page but like I said before, it will have to be after she gets the purse. She will know she has one, or at least suspect, if I add before then. Thanks again for all your help and have a very Merry Christmas!!
Hello! I received my purse and I love it! I saw your purses on a tv commercial and I tried to find them and I did! Thanks so much!
Received my boot purse today. LOVE IT!!!!! Didnt expect it so soon, Thanks so much!
I got my purse in the mail yesterday! Arlie...all I can say is WOW! It's so much better than I even thought it was going to be. I've got several ladies that have fallen in love with it now that they have seen it in person. I'm giving them your cards and will be telling them where they can get one. Thanks again! It was sooo worth the wait!
I received my purse yesterday. It is totally wonderful and I love it! Thank you so much!!
One of the saddest things I've had to do over the years is to wear out a pair of boots and have to get rid of them. Making something out of them like you folks do is a wonderful idea for keeping the beauty of boots alive. I really appreciate your efforts and wish you much success.
To provide high quality hand-crafted products from "previously loved" cowboy boots, along with excellent customer service. We take pride in both. Our online store is designed to provide you with a safe and secure environment to browse and purchase our products, and we are always happy to help you.
Thank You for Shopping at Rootin Tootin Boutique - We Appreciate it Very Much!
Arlie and Debby Garrett