In my #1 · Dear Santa… wish-list post (1/12-13), I wrote about The Cobra Rock Boot Company and how I coveted their stunning ‚South Highand Boots‘. By way of my own stubornness, I can now declare that I am the proud and happy owner of a pair! So beware out there, as soon as the sun comes out more permanently, so the rain and snow wont hurt my babies, I will be strutting around like a dapper rooster on any and every sidewalk, showing them off.
On our roadtrip to Marfa we had the opportunity to visit the shop and take a look at where the hard work happens. Unfortunately Cole and Logan (the amazing owners), where out on travels, instead their sweet friend Ariele took excellent care of us. It was very surreal to suddenly stand in the room surrounded by the shoes and tools that I had stared and stared at on my google image research. And seeing the bag with my name on, pulling out the boots smelling of the thick, fat leather and then turning them over to see the mahogany dark, glossy polished leather soles, soft like two pieces of amber – I kid you not, I nearly shed a tear. No such emotion can a pair of factory, mass produced boots from China ever evoke.
Here is a little post-visit email interview I did with Logan and Colt about working with your hands every day and how that effects their life.
– Living in small town Marfa in Texas, making boots on old machines in a traditional and hard-on-the-hands kind of way – do you ever feel time travelling, when visiting fx LA or NYC?
A little bit! Life is definitely slower here. Marfa is a wonderful place since it’s geographically isolated, but culturally rich with artists, musicians and writers either living here or traveling through. We love that we’re able to watch a sunset over the West Texas plains where antelope are grazing and then go to an art opening when the stars come out.
– Has this way of living changed your views on life?
We feel very fortunate that we are able to make a living doing what we love, especially in a small town. We are both from rural communities and thought we would need to move to a larger town or city to be able to do the work we want to do.
– What is the most challenging part of your lifestyle/work?
Some of the boot-making steps are physically demanding, but honestly just keeping up with our orders is the most challenging part. We know that is a good problem! We spend the majority of our time making the boots people have ordered, so we are slower on making new designs than we would like. Balancing production and new creation is our current challenge.
– How long does it take to make one pair of shoes?
We can make more than one pair at a time, but the whole process takes about two weeks to make a pair.
– There is a 6-8 months waiting list for a pair of South Highland boots selling at 500$, and they are increasingly sought after. Do you have any thoughts on how come your boots has gained such success?
We wanted to make a boot for women that was good looking but as tough as a work boot, using the same techniques that handmade cowboy boot makers have used for a century. Colt apprenticed with a cowboy boot maker near his home town in the Panhandle of Texas and made custom cowboy boots for several years before starting Cobra Rock. Marfa draws people who are interested in art, architecture, fashion and design, so we are lucky to have customers who appreciate our handmade process. We have tried to make a modern boot that pays tribute to the place and history around us.
– Do you have plans for expanding your production to include other leather goods? (fx bags, other styles of boots etc)
Yes! Last year we were able to enlist the help of a few West Texan bootmakers to help us work on certain steps, and that has enabled us to have more time to design. We have a lot of plans for 2014! Expect more styles, colors and leather products coming from us later this year.
IMG_3920 a video snippet of the shop.
All photos by me