By Shae Walker
Cowboy boots are an absolute staple in the closet of an SMU student. However, the quest for a pair of authentic yet chic boots can be quite the mission. Thanks to SMU alumna Lizzy Chestnut, the founder of City Boots, that struggle is over. I had the opportunity to chat with Chestnut to learn a little more about the story of City Boots and their new “The Boulevard” boot inspired by her time as an SMU student and days spent on the Boulevard.
SW: What is your background and what did you study at SMU?
LC: “I grew up in Amarillo, and for my family boots were an everyday staple. I always knew I would pack my collection and take them to college someday, and the girls at SMU were sure thankful I did! I studied finance and alternative assets at SMU. At that time in my life, I envisioned a long career in the oil industry. As I gained experience, it taught me more about myself and it led me to a career in fashion and building a brand. This just goes to show you can never really know what could be around the corner.”
SW: What inspired you to start City Boots and could you talk a little about your experience starting your own business?
LC: “ I come from a family of entrepreneurs and I always knew I wanted to start my own business. My time at SMU served as the biggest inspiration behind CITY Boots. My college girlfriends loved my boots but you couldn’t buy them at the store because they were mostly vintage pairs that had been handed down. In addition, the cowboy boot shopping experience was geared mainly towards men. I wanted to create something that took my love for this traditional footwear and created a more modern and approachable brand for women.”
SW: What is your favorite design you have created?
LC: “The Amarillo. Not only is it named after my hometown where all of my dreams (boots & beyond) began, but its blend of leather and suede represents the two halves of my company’s ethos. We strive to create timeless boots with Western elegance while maintaining a feminine sleek fit.”
SW: How did your time at SMU inspire the design of the “The Boulevard” boot?
LC: “I wanted to create a boot with intricate design elements, but a classic look. The Boulevard happens every home game, but there’s always a unique element that makes each game day memorable. This boot is exciting enough to liven up a look, but sleek enough to take you from game day to night.”
SW: What is your advice to young entrepreneurs looking to start a business out of college?
LC: “Be prepared for constant change. Don’t feel pressure to move too fast and learn how to manage cash. Fine-tune a brand aesthetic that’s authentic to you and stick with it.”