I don't take the term "girl crush" lightly...I reserve it for truly special ladies. Sisters Lizzie and Sarah Means take my idea of a girl crush to new heights. I basically have a duo crush on them (to me, they're a packaged deal) and a very big obsession for their boot brand, Miron Crosby. If you're someone who reads this blog regularly (thank you, whomever you are!) then you already recognize the name Miron Crosby and remember me talking about the company in this Current Vibes post and saw their generous boot donation toward The Great Giveaway Sally and I hosted. If you're not caught up to speed then let me break it down for you...
Lizzie Means Duplantis and Sarah Means launched their handmade, artisanal boot company Miron Crosby this past June. The two were inspired by their own personal collections of cowboy boots and West Texas roots and wanted to marry the craftsmanship and versatility they've always loved with their fashion-forward lifestyles. Having both lived in Manhattan and been asked countless times about whatever boots they happened to be wearing, Lizzie and Sarah plunged into the boot business with unwavering passion and a mission to design and produce western silhouettes for men, women, and kiddos meant to be styled 24/7/360.
My lovely sister friends Lizzie and Sarah did a little Q+A session me as a way for y'all to get to know more about them and bit more about the magic behind Miron Crosby. I hope you all enjoy getting a peek inside the brand and their studio in Highland Park Village - a must visit if you're in Dallas (for the boots, Shiprock Santa Fe and Mignonne Givagan jewels, Comstock Heritage silver pieces, Chacón belts and more)! And of course, if you're not in Dallas you can always shop the boots online!
Before I dive into the Q+A, I’d like to note that I’m not a stranger to cowboy boots and having lived in Texas for over seven years, have come to admire beautiful boots. I confess that the only pair I own is a boring off-the-shelf variety. Having seen so many people rocking custom boots with colorful and creative designs, initials, custom details, etc. I’ve dreamed of designing my own pair but have heard that it can be an overwhelming process and that by the time you get through the long waiting period for your pair to be made your often disappointed by the end result because it was so hard to visualize what you were designing at the time. Miron Crosby has taken the concept (and pitfalls) of custom boots and personalization to the next level. Each and every pair of MC boots is hand-lasted (done in Texas by the legendary Rios of Mercedes) and customers have the option to purchase ready-to-wear styles – which with the range of creative designs and colors are anything by typical – or create a custom bespoke pair via a concierge design service that makes the visualization process so fun and easy.
I really can’t say how much I love the boots. But it’s my adoration (re: girl crush) of Lizzie and Sarah that has made me such a fan of the brand. Miron Crosby isn’t simply a company producing beautiful boots, but it’s really a passion project for Lizzie and Sarah. They sweat each and every style and stitch…and truly want to give their customers heirloom quality boots that are so fun and fashionable they want to wear them everywhere (and not just the rodeo, ranch, and country concerts).
Q: How did you take the leap to launching Miron Crosby? (what made it the right time? what was the “let’s just do this” moment?)
Lizzie Means Duplantis (LMD): One of my best friends sparked what became the conversation between Sarah and me to launch Miron Crosby. Sarah and I had been discussing the business for months when she came to town to celebrate my birthday. We drank way too much champagne one night and decided we’d take the plunge! We had been so excited about the prospect of the business, and knew our product was authentic, unique and truly so special – we’re thrilled to have had the opportunity to bring it to market!
Q: How did you decide to open both a store and have an e-commerce site?
LMD: Our product is a luxury handcraft. We wanted customers to have an in-store experience – come in, meet Sarah and me, hear about the boots and select and design boots in a high-touch environment. We also wanted the product to be accessible, with distribution beyond the local market. We are really committed to growing our digital brand.
Q: I know that your West Texas roots and personal boot collections were the starting point for your love of the western-style soles, but how did you decide that Miron Crosby would put a spin on stock boots – offering designs that you typically only see with bespoke orders?
LMD: In this day and age, when so much is mass-produced, we want to offer product that is one of a kind, unique to and for our customer. We have worked to incorporate the greatest artistic influences of the southwest with more modern design by working with storied cowboy boot artisans in Texas and a fashion designer in New York (who, when we partnered, had never been to the southwest and is actually Northern Irish). The result is extraordinary. The modern, discerning customer wants original and that is what our boots offer: handmade with intricate detailing, fashionable, and limited – truly, our boots really are wearable art.
Sarah Means (SAM): We sample so many styles, but what we go to production with for our stock collection is about what’s missing in our wardrobes that we wish we had to wear right now. I’m forever imagining where people are wearing these – if she’s travelling to New York at Christmas time, she wants our tall Jode tassel boot – it’s sleek and urban, and can stand up to the snow, or our Jackie shorty to wear with ripped jeans and the zippers slouched for dinner in Brooklyn. If she’s going to black-tie wedding on New Years Eve (I am!), she’s wearing our Sally boots in stingray with a silk crepe midi skirt and some statement earrings. Sparkly! Day in and day-out with cropped flares, she’s in our jumping star Booke shorty, or with long printed skirts, our colorful bird and branch Caroline boot.
Q: As someone who has been wearing cowboy boots since college, your boots have completely changed my view that western boots are best for rodeos, ranches, and country concerts. How are you working to change the opinion that cowboy boots can and should be worn with almost anything and how does it influence your design process?
SAM: The cowboy boot is such a classic silhouette, and it works on everyone – you’re seeing them more and more in street style and down the runway. Our customers are so cool; they’re styling them with every-day wear already, but my hope is right now, right this second, swap a pair of cowboy boots for the Sam Smith sneakers or moto boots you have on – it feels fresh and on-point. Further, the option to choose from a variety of fabrications, incorporate colors, monograms and other personalization creates an authenticity that we feel is lacking in fashion right now.
Q: I love the range of options – both in color, detailing, and designs – you all have come up with for the stock line. How do your personal tastes and aesthetics influence the available styles?
SAM: We laugh about this all the time, but Lizzie and I actually have very different aesthetics. If it were up to me, the whole collection would be black and grey, but in Lizzie’s mind it’s gold and hot pink! We’re both really inspired by juxtapositions: our modern, fashion-driven collection is made in a factory that has been in existence since the 1860’s; our global travels, our transformative time in New York City, all this tempered with the fond and familiar things we grew up around on the ranch. That’s our sweet spot: the paradox between the old and new, the traditional and the modern.
Q: The bespoke – or custom boot design offerings – you offer in-store and while doing trunk shows is one of the aspects I find most special about Miron Crosby. I know you all have custom-designed more than a few pairs of boots for yourselves, how did you want the Miron Crosby bespoke experience to be different from other self-designed programs? What do you feel makes the MC offerings to special?
LMD: Our design process is curated so that the customer is involved in every aspect of the boot’s design. From fabrication to the color of the leather and stitch – we want the customer’s fingerprints all over their custom pair of MC boots. Our program is specific – we have leather swatches you can touch and feel, even tiles with every letter in the alphabet in each of the two fonts we offer that can be laid over a piece of leather to visualize what your initials will look like inlayed or appliqued on the boot. My very favorite part of the program is you can write a message that will be transcribed in your handwriting onto a piece of leather and then sewn into the lining of your boots. We’ve had the sweetest, most hilarious, most meaningful messages written. Our boots are heirloom quality, and we hope that they will be passed down from generation to generation. The note makes them all the more meaningful. We spent hours researching and developing our custom program, including trips to LA and NYC. We stand for custom, and this sets us apart.
Q: Sarah, if you were a boot, which boot would you be – and which boot do you think Lizzie is? Lizzie if you were a boot, which boot would you be – and which boot do you think best represents Sarah?
LMD: I love this question! 100% Sarah is our Jode boot. Her style is timeless, and she is refined, dignified and stunning. But like the Jode boot that sports the unexpected tassel, she is witty, smart and no one makes me laugh harder – the girl’s got it all! I am our Little B boot which is bright red with a really fun, oversized tassel and vintage arrows on the ear pulls. I love color, live for the next party but am romantic, sentimental and covet tradition.
SAM: Lizzie is our Margretta boot. The boot boasts jumping stars, not shooting, to symbolize optimism- Lizzie is always optimistic, friendly and open, she’s so gorgeous inside and out, and a the girl loves a little metallic! I think I’m our Jackie shorty in black and black stingray…I like to be a little under the radar and downtown but with unexpected special details
Q: What are the best and worst parts about being small business owners?
LMD: Worst: It’s hard to turn off. Best: We LOVE what we are doing, are super excited about what is to come and have the BEST team.
SAM: Worst: budgets. Best: we have the greatest customers!
Q: Because Sally and I get asked this a lot: how do you like being both sisters and business partners?
LMD: I think one of the nicest parts about being business partners is the comfort and security I have working with Sarah. She is even-keeled, dependable, resourceful, thorough and silly smart. I think one of the difficulties we’re learning to work through is how to be social with each other again. We’ll sit down to coffee and inevitably the conversation turns to the business. We need to remember how we like to talk about clothes and boys! 😉
SAM: Doing this with Lizzie is honestly my very favorite part. Our policy is a really open and honest communication line. We communicate constantly and do not let things fester. Also, early on, we realized we needed to delineate our tasks. Luckily, we have very different strengths and interests, so we don’t step on one another’s toes too much…unless it’s a debate about color! She hates grey — kills me!
Q: What experiences from your past careers help you today with Miron Crosby
SAM: My fashion background is in wholesale sales for a contemporary shoe and handbag company, Loeffler Randall, which is an exemplary company with such incredible people there. When I worked there, I had no idea we would one day be doing this, but observing Jessie and Brian and their team taught me so much. They have gotten to be so big and successful, it’s encouraging to remember that they started somewhere too, with a dream and a great partnership.
Q: What has been your biggest challenge and biggest celebration?
LMD: Today, where we sit right now, I think a challenge we’re facing is how to tap into other markets and gain national exposure. Navigating influencer platforms, promoting MC online and refining our social media is our focus, but it’s unchartered waters for Sarah and me. We’re learning a ton!
Q: Aside from the upcoming Fall/Winter collection (which I’m sure will knock everyone’s socks off) and all the great brand partnership pop-ups you all have been hosting in store, are there any exciting future plans for Miron Crosby you all can share with us?
LMD: We’re in talks to do a collaboration with a national fashion house we’ve long admired. We are super flattered and truly humbled! More to come!