Readers of this blog and viewers of my website are probably aware that I became a fan of Tecovas boots. They emerged onto the “cowboy boot scene” in 2015. At first, they offered a limited lineup of men’s traditional western and roper boots. But by now — 2021 — it is my opinion that Tecovas is “too big for their britches.”
I had become more and more wary of the company as they expanded with more styles of boots, additional non-boot products (bags, jeans, belts, swag, and the overpriced boot jack), and began opening a number of brick-and-mortar stores in several U.S. southern states. I was getting concerned that this once small, well-targeted and focused company had been expanding beyond the core concept that I once admired.
However, as a result of a significant March 2021 marketing blunder, I no longer…
…can recommend or will purchase any more Tecovas products unless they make it up in some way to us, the average consumer and boot afficionado. That marketing blunder was the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back.”
Tecovas had a good concept. They had boots made in León, Mexico, known as the “bootmaking capital of the world.” I have a number of boots made in León under different labels and have been very pleased with the quality and craftsmanship. They focused on “direct-to-consumer” sales and kept pricing in line with that sales strategy. Their sales took off. So much so, they occasionally experienced “stock outs” of some of their boots.
At first, their boot lineup was limited to what they could get from production. However, production capacity quickly increased, and by 2017 there were no more “stock-outs”. Also by this time, the company began offering more variety of skins, colors, shapes, and toe styles of their boots for both men and women.
Tecovas also began opening brick-and-mortar retail stores and expanded their product offerings (as described above.)
Marketing was always very good for Tecovas. One would see them everywhere, especially on social media channels. They would buy ads often on Facebook (and I assume also on other social media, too, but I don’t have an account on Instagram, Twitter, or whatever else is available these days, so I can’t check.)
Their aggressive marketing led to a lot of demand. By 2019, Tecovas offered limited production runs on certain boots, such as belly-cut and back-cut python, and in 2020-2021, nile crocodile.
The limited production runs were marketed extremely well, such that when the boots became available, they sold out in a matter of (at first) days, then hours for subsequent runs (such as the “Brady” back-cut python.)
What frosted me was that in early March, I began seeing people showing off “the Cooper” — a high-end black cherry nile crocodile boot — on Facebook’s “Tecovas Enthusiasts” page while this boot was denoted as “coming soon” on the company website. (They also offered a side-zip style in the same color and skin, too.)
I learned that Tecovas marketing folks selected a limited number of people who they determined were more than major customers, but were more influential on such platforms as social media. Tecovas identified these people as “Tecovas Insiders.”
The “Insiders” were offered an early opportunity to buy boots from this limited black cherry nile crocodile production run. The rest of us schlubs (no matter that we’ve bought 18 pairs of their boots by now), were excluded from that opportunity.
When this much-promoted boot was finally offered for public sale on Friday, March 5, the run was sold out in about 30 minutes.
There was much fury and anger expressed on Facebook (and I’m sure on other social media, too) by guys who missed an opportunity to buy these boots, or by feeling left out due to the “insiders” enthusiasm.
This was a classic case of marketing being “too good” and creating a demand that could not be reasonably met which led to consumer dissatisfaction and anger directed toward the company.
For me, this situation also made me feel like I used to feel in junior high school when cliques were formed and I never met the criteria for selection. I know this analogy is not the same thing; however, it made me feel the same way — left out, disappointed, and angry.
I will be looking at how Tecovas tries to address this issue and make up for this big blunder. Honestly, this appears to be only their second marketing misfire. (See first blunder here). BUT — as they say — this one was a “doozie.”
However, for me, I’m done. I dropped from the “enthusiasts” group and am not looking at acquiring any more Tecovas boots or products. I want to downsize my boot collection anyway. I am not getting any younger and eventually, I will need to pack up and move to another place to live more suited to me being alone (and older.)
Life is short: Tecovas, learn a lesson then show us how you will apply what you learned.