The Champion Attitude Boots Small Biz Makeover Backstory

Since the book's release, I have done a lot of workshops and engaged in thousands of discussions on how the 7 Essentials and the Blueprint approach could help companies grow. When Mina Kimes of Fortune Small Business called to participate in the Small Biz Makeover for the May issue, I was challenged. I loved the timing as this was the 2 year anniversary of the FSB cover story on companies "Batting to a Billion", but could the 7 Essentials help Joey and Priscilla Sanchez of Champion Attitude Boots grow their ~$2M custom boot business successfully to the next level? The insights had to translate into actions that a small business could rapidly and affordably execute. What could I do in 4 hours with Mina and the video crew from CNN.com watching?

The Caboots Case Study

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Here is what I knew when I walked in the door:

Background:

The Sanchez family has a long history of making boots. Joey, who is currently the CEO, says that his father used to do subcontracting work for Tony Lama (a major local boot manufacturer) in the 60's and 70's while his mother maintained the family's mail order business. In 1986, Joey and his then-girlfriend Priscilla started their own company, Attitude Boots, which they ran from his father's factory.

The business attempted growth in several different ways; the Sanchez pair pursued wholesale accounts. They also subcontracted primarily with Justin and Nocona Boots. But when the internet started taking off in the early 2000's, Attitude Boots, which combined the names with his father's business in 1993 to become Champion Attitude Boots, started tapping into niche markets ranging from Civil War Reenactment boots to men's platform shoes (one of their biggest markets). They grew to 40 employees and hit $2 million in sales last year.

Today, they make 60 pairs of custom boots a week, as well as a great deal of costume and period footwear. Their average customer is a wealthy, middle-aged male, and orders more than one pair of shoes. But they also sell to celebrities and have managed some large accounts such as Disneyland and several films. Nearly all of their sales are conducted over the internet. The business moved into its own factory in 2006.

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