These boots are made for lending

Texas brand raises $56M to expand retail stores

1333 South Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas and Tecovas CEO Paul Hedrick (Google Maps, Twitter)
1333 South Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas and Tecovas CEO Paul Hedrick (Google Maps, Twitter)

A Texas cowboy-boot maker is betting its stores will walk all over US retail.

Austin-based company Tecovas raised $56 million to expand its brand, the Austin American-Statesman reported. Much of that expansion will involve investing in retail stores across the country.

Venture capital firm Elephant, founded by Warby Parker co-founder Andy Hunt, led the investment. Access Capital, Seamless Capital and Kemmons Wilson Companies were also part of the deal.

Tecovas founder and CEO Paul Hedrick said that the company had $100 million in revenue and turned a profit last year. Tecovas has raised a total of $120 million to date.

The company was founded in 2015 and initially sold its handmade boots only online. It opened its first store, at 1333 South Congress Avenue in Austin, in 2019. Not unlike Warby Parker, Tecovas offers retail outlets for buyers to try on its wares, get customer service and otherwise experience its brand. Purchases are still made online.

Tecovas now operates 19 stores in 10 states and will open its 20th location in northern Virginia Friday. In the fourth quarter of 2021, it sold its one millionth pair of cowboy boots.

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The boots are designed in Austin and made in Leon, Mexico, by artisans using a 200-step process and custom tanned leathers.

While the company still makes 60 percent of its revenue online, Hedrick said he is counting on growing sales from new stores. The company will use the new funding to open five to seven stores in 2022. ​​It will also expand its line with other styles of footwear, apparel and accessories.

The company will move its corporate headquarters from its South Congress site to a 23,000-square-foot space in the WeWork building at 801 Barton Springs Road. Its flagship store on South Congress will remain open.

Tecovas is also betting, a little, on office space in 2022. The company has 90 corporate employees and 400 employees in retail and other roles. This year, It aims to increase the number of employees working at its headquarters to 140. Those employees work in areas such as product development, operations, marketing, finance, law, accounting and human relations.

[AAS] — Cindy Widner

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