Entrepreneurs Create Boots for Thursday and Beyond
Being an entrepreneur and business owner is all about digging your boots in and getting the job done. For Nolan Walsh and Connor Wilson, creating the right boot for that job was what they wanted to do. As co-founders of Thursday Boot Company, Nolan and Connor aim to make the best boots possible at a fair price. We had the chance to sit down and learn more about their business, experiences with Kickstarter, and why their business is unique.
Why did you start your business?
We were frustrated with the current market offering and thought it would be fun! Connor and I met at Columbia Business School and opted to work full-time on Thursday Boot Company instead of summer internships. Our mission was simple: we wanted to build the best possible boots and deliver them at the best possible value.
How did you come up with your business name?
We wanted to build a boot that had the durability and longevity of a work boot, but the sophistication and aesthetic design of a fashion boot. That versatility is perfectly encapsulated by our favorite day of the week — Thursday. On Thursdays we work hard but never know where the nights might take us. In our Thursday Boots we know we will be putting our best foot forward whether we are in Williamsburg or on Wall Street.
How was your experience with Kickstarter?
Overall our experience was very positive- we raised $276,610 in one month and became the most funded footwear crowdfunding campaign ever. While many fashion brands have stayed away from crowdfunding because of the associated transparency, we chose Kickstarter because we wanted to give people a chance to see who we really are and to share as much as possible about our boots. Crowdfunding is a great way to create a community around a brand, but I couldn’t recommend it to everyone. We genuinely felt that we have the best product on the market at the best value, so we were excited for the chance to engage supporters and critics in honest conversation. At the same time, we felt that we could have that honest conversation while maintaining the aspiration of a Thursday. Crowdfunding is a great resource for new brands that are willing to be transparent and actively want to engage potential supporters on a personal level.
What makes your business unique?
We offer something new in a product category in need of change. Our philosophy is simple- we want it all. Comfort, style, durability, versatility, and honest pricing. Where other brands choose to cut corners, we invest. We select the best materials for our handcrafted boots: premium leathers from the best tanneries in North America, Goodyear welt construction that ensures a virtually waterproof seal and the option to re-sole, and full glove leather interior lining that provides luxury quality comfort. Our other signature features – like cork bed midsoles that conform to your foot, low-profile studded rubber outsoles, and premium flat wax laces – result in a super premium quality boot that is suitable in the boardroom or barroom…or wherever your Thursdays may take you.
What opportunity did you see and how did you capitalize on the opportunity?
We saw the opportunity to offer high quality boots at an unbeatable value, and to tell a different story for our generation. ‘Thursday’ is not another heritage boot company or a “cut-out-the-middleman” ecommerce company. We make classic products for the modern generation, and we see tremendous opportunity for growth. We started Thursday Boot Company 6 months ago, and in the last 3 months we have been able to ship 2,000 boots to 48 states and 20 different countries. We capitalized on the opportunity by steadfastly focusing on product and customer experience. By focusing on these two things we’ve been able to spend next to nothing on advertising and have built an awesome community around our brand.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Find a good business partner and work on something you are passionate about. Starting something from scratch takes a tremendous amount of effort. It’s a lot easier to sacrifice your time and health if you are working with people you respect on something you care about. I would also highly recommend buying a pair of Thursday Boots. If you are going to bootstrap your business on a shoestring budget, you are going to need high quality footwear for stomping around town in rain, sleet, or shine!