There are believers and non-believers, encouragers and stifles. President Kennedy once said, there are people who see the world for the way that it is and others that see it the way it could be. Personally, I’ve always fallen on the why not instead of settling on the why. So it comes to no surprise to me and shouldn’t to you that if you put a boulder in front of me, I will figure out how to get around it. Better yet, plow right through it.
Some people choose to understand this and others don’t and that’s A-Ok. I’m proud of who I am, who I’ve become. Trailblazers are far and few between. Texas was built on them; I’ve alluded to this before. Maybe it’s in my blood. There’s a long line of sassy and savvy women throughout the Lonestar history. If I somehow get into the mix I would consider it quite an honor.
Maybe I should be better at my storytelling. You see when I first decided to start a vegan boot company, people snickered. Sure there were a few vegan cheerleaders on my side, which I’m eternally grateful. The rejection I received from my beloved state though was enough to put a fork in me and call me done. After spending 28 years in sales, rejection was not new to me, but this time it was personal.
Despite that early rejection, I pushed onward. Even now I’m in awe of the reality. Vegan boots are a thing, a real thing and I’m so very grateful for the people person who said yes. Sometimes the enormity of it all is a bit overwhelming. I refused to take no for an answer and didn’t give up. Trailblazer.
As a entrepreneur my mind is always spinning on how we improve, grow our product line and keep proving that animals do not have to suffer for fashion. This is where this post finally comes to relevance. Last summer I took some private “leather” making classes, I wanted to learn how I could optimize my material scraps by making jewelry and other fun items. Mission accomplished.
It was during this class that I brought up the idea of branding my boots with my logo and a vegan symbol. My instructor, who had only worked with animal leather, told me that it was impossible on the vegan leather. He said the material would not be able to withstand the heat of the iron. This puzzled me since I understand how our boots are made, where heat (albeit not direct) is involved in the final processing.
Instead of accepting the why, I asked why not. He finally gave in to doing a “test” and BAM…the material took the branding. He was completely shocked. Similar to when I saw my first vegan boot prototype, I shed a happy tear. So…I’m happy to report that every new order of boots will now carry the following branding, signifying an original Kat Mendenhall boot that’s 100% vegan.
To all trailblazers big and small, Texan or not. Keep seeing the world for what it can be.