Nuevo Rancho, an innovative, faith-based boot company blends bold fashion and deep-rooted ranch-worthy designs.
Editor's Note: As statewide rules and regulations continue to change, please contact retailers for their latest store hours and delivery capabilities.
Nuevo Rancho means “new ranch.” The brand is fairly new to the fashion scene, opening its first brick and mortar in the Fort Worth Stockyards in late 2019. We talked with Koko Gonzalez, owner and creative director of Nuevo Rancho, about building the brand digitally and in-person throughout a pandemic.
2020 was a crazy year – what does your 2021 business outlook look like?
We opened up in late 2019, and we were excited. When 2020 came, we had no idea that this pandemic was going to happen but we had only been open three to four months. I wouldn’t say we were totally scared - our brand is a faith-based business so we always put God first in everything that we do. We thank Him for giving us this opportunity to be in the Stockyards and get this building and be featured in Cowboys and Indians Magazine. Our boots are stamped Jeremiah 29:11, and it’s “for I know the plans I have for you,” and that’s exactly what we go by. Now that people know our brand, and they’re loving our history and the story of why we got into this boot business, 2021 has been really great for us. Our boots are online. People are coming in, and they’re pre-ordering designs from us. We have a new design coming out, and I really think 2021 is going to be really great. We’re going to start expanding and doing rodeo shows, because there’s the demand for our boots. When the [first] Cowboys and Indians issue came out, we were already shipping out our boots every week to different parts of the states. We are hiring new people just so we can keep up with the demand and making more designs and traveling more to Mexico so we can pick up more leathers.
Did you face any challenges during the 2020 push for digital presence?
We’ve always had a website, but it was strictly for our boots. Now we also sell apparel and hats so we had to rebuild our website to feature those items on there also, and of course that takes a little bit longer because you’re taking pictures all the time, and you’re posting, editing photos. We were also doing live videos on Facebook and Instagram, and I think that really helped out too because people want to see a face behind a brand. They want to know who they’re talking to.
How have your digital strategies changed throughout the last year?
Every time we would go live we introduced ourselves for our new followers. We’ll be goofy on there and a lot of social media has gone to video. People love video. Now [we have] created a TikTok. We’re still trying to learn it because TikTok is just a whole different social platform. There’s so much editing. It’s completely different from Instagram and Facebook, so that takes quite a bit of time, but it works. People want to see you dressing up, doing cute little outfits or just something that’s eye-catching, but now our website has been rebuilt, and we have everything featured on there, including our apparel. Our women’s clothing sells so fast. When it gets online it’s gone because of our location in the Stockyards. We’re probably going to start texting. It is a new way from Nuevo Rancho [to share new styles, preorders]. Customers will be able to respond by text message if they want this item in whatever size.
What is your best tip for online growth/engaging with your audience?
I would say to take really nice photos and to engage with your followers. If they’re liking [your post] or if they’re making a comment, send them a message. Let them know you see them. Even when you go live give them that recognition that you do see them and that will really help a lot, because you’re acknowledging them. They want to be seen also. If they’re already following your brand, that’s already shown that they’re going to start being loyal to your brand.
Did you attend WESA market in Dallas? Are you traveling for any trade shows in 2021? If so, what is your outlook?
I did go to the WESA in Dallas. I was kind of getting the idea of how vendors are setting up and how things are going, but what I did notice is that the market wasn’t very strong, and I think it’s because Texas wasn’t 100 percent open so a lot of people were still nervous stepping out. I really think now that Texas is 100 percent open, and a lot of people are getting their vaccines, people are feeling safer. I think market will be better so we’re going to try to attend in 2021. As for the rodeos, we’re starting to plan for the NFR in Vegas. We’re starting to get designs for that and making sure we know what designs we want to take and getting our whole visual aspect of how we’re going to set up. It’s all about presentation.
Are you expecting to see a return to in-person shopping this year?
I think so. Whenever we have our guests come into our store, we engage with them, and when they leave we tell them we have a website, because we do get a lot of tourists from all over the world coming to the Stockyards. We give them a website and tell them ‘hey, stay connected with us,’ so even though they can’t shop with us in person, they can still shop with us on our social media platforms or on our website, and we do email blasts. We don’t over spam everybody on email but we let them know the new boots that are coming out and I feel like that’s what [customers] really like, because people get so many emails. You don’t want them to just ignore it.
Tell us about your brand/store style – what does style mean to you?
Whenever you come into our shop you’re going to see that farm/ranch vibe. In the middle of the store you’re going to find a bunch of rustic items. A lot of our props are going to be from either my grandmother’s house or my parents’ barn. I have a windmill in the middle of my store that was my grandmother’s. She passed away. It’s really amazing. I get people who want to buy it all the time. Not only is it giving that lifestyle [feel] in the store, but it’s also a remembrance of my grandmother. We’ll also find other real farmhouse items. We create lifestyle moments in our shop. We’ll feature our mannequin or our boots there so it’s giving you a story. I love creating, and I really feel like that’s what people love too, because they want to step back into the Old West here in the Stockyards. If [customers] are coming in, and they’ve never heard of Nuevo Rancho- automatically what’s going to be different from our boots is the designs and the colors. You’re going to see that the colors are more vibrant. They’re more fun, and they’re unique. These boots are going to be ‘hey look at me’ when you wear them. They’re definitely going to be your eye-catchers and your show-stoppers. When you walk into a room, people are going to be looking at your boots, because they’re so vibrant. There’s life in these boots.
Give us your best style tip!
My style tip would be [to not] be afraid to mix your prints. Don’t be afraid of patterns. A solid top and a fun printed bottom is something that you can always do, and it works for every body style. Have fun and be different. Be unique. Be your own style.