‘Bourbon and Boots’ Marries Southern Culture And E-commerce

by Talk Business & Politics staff (staff2@talkbusiness.net) 13 views 


It’s a uniquely Southern web site.

It offers you the chance to purchase some of the finest, personally-picked unique items made by southern artisans and crafters – items such as a bourbon buffett, a deer necklace, handmade soaps, or moonshine cookies.

Clothing, art, music, food and drink, home decor and scores of unique gifts – you’ll find plenty of ideas for Christmas and other year-round occasions.

The founders of Bourbon and Boots, Arkansans Matt Price and Mike Mueller, have a love for the South, but they also have a passion for the Internet. Both have made their livings for years in a variety of Internet-related ventures.

This site started like you might expect – over bourbon in Mueller’s living room one night.

“About a year ago, we reconnected.  We realized we were both in Internet marketing,” said Price. The concept unfolded in twice a week evening meetings where duties were delegated and a web site was borne in quick order.

“It was certainly Matt’s idea,” Mueller adds. “I think he was looking for someone to jump on board with him.”

Bourbon and Boots goes beyond selling merchandise. To some, the secret of the site is that the experience weaves stories about southern culture and experiences.

For instance, bringing jello salad for the in-laws, the etiquette of the duck hunt, or ranking the best coaches of the SEC.

“Our overarching thesis is that commerce is a better way to monetize content,” says Price, who contends that the shift from print advertising to online spaces will only grow in the coming years.

With this combination of content and commerce, Mueller and Price have scored solid financial success. They take a wholesaler’s (or middleman’s) cut of roughly 30% of the sales they broker for their artisans. They never warehouse the merchandise; orders come through their site and are drop-shipped to customers.

In less than eight months, sales are around a half million dollars, and the company would be valued at around $1 million based on its current revenue run rate.

Price and Mueller sat down with Talk Business executive editor Roby Brock for an interview in a conference room down the hall from their dark, one-room office space in downtown Little Rock. It’s everything you imagine an Internet start-up space might be.

Listen here to the story of their early and quick success, and find out what’s in store for Bourbon and Boots and other ventures in the near future.