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On a regular basis Warrior Podcast Episode 13: Tecovas Founder Paul Hedrick


Males’s Journal’s On a regular basis Warrior With Mike Sarraille is a brand new podcast that conjures up people to dwell extra fulfilling lives by having conversations with disrupters and excessive performers in all walks of life. In our thirteenth episode, we spoke to Paul Hedrick, founder & CEO of Tecovas.

Take heed to the total episode above (scroll down for the transcript) and see extra from this sequence under.

This interview has not been edited for size or readability.


Mike Sarraille:
And welcome to the Males’s Journal On a regular basis Warrior podcast together with your host, me, Mike Sarraille. I’ve bought an ideal visitor right now. Paul Hedrick, I believe it’s secure to say, now Austin royalty.

Paul Hedrick:
I’d not go that far.

Mike Sarraille:
You’re not going to? He’s humble. I truly did get a name from a good friend, who normally I ignore their cellphone calls, I’m positive you’ve gotten these share of individuals. Not my mother and father, let’s put that on the market. And this man’s a very good man, he simply kind of annoys me a bit. I instructed him, “Nicely, man, I bought to go. I’m interviewing somebody.” He’s like, “Who?” And I’m like, “Paul Hedrick.” And he’s like, “Oh, he’s just like the Elon Musk of cowboy boots.” I’m like, “Oh, I don’t know what meaning. Okay.” Hey, in order that’s a fairly rattling good comparability, dude.

Paul Hedrick:
Yeah. I’ve not heard that one earlier than.

Mike Sarraille:
Nicely, Elon is… He’s simply kind of the brand new it. Was once like, “Hey, he’s the Michael Jordan of cowboy boots.” Now it’s Elon Musk. However need to dive in to Paul. The place have been you born? The place have been you raised? What was that like rising up?

Paul Hedrick:
Yeah. Nicely to begin with, thanks for having me, Mike.

Mike Sarraille:
Completely.

Paul Hedrick:
Superior to be right here. We’re truly actually subsequent door to the place I dwell, so this was a handy podcast recording location. Yeah, I used to be born in Houston, truly. Born and raised Texan. Grew up in Dallas. I moved to Dallas once I was younger. Went to elementary, center faculty, highschool there. You already know, I used to be a lucky child. It was an ideal city to develop up. I went to nice colleges. I went to a really small highschool for instance, and actually was inspired to do lots of various things and was capable of do lots of various things due to that.
And I believe that was the start of what was ended up being an entrepreneurial journey. However I didn’t know I wished to be an entrepreneur or something. I used to be not the child who was inventing companies and promoting pens to my classmate and stuff. I truly wished to be an artist for a lot of my childhood. After which an architect later in highschool. After which I simply determined I need to be a businessman at one level. I didn’t know what that meant, however yeah, I’d say I used to be positively a nerdy child. I did effectively at school however had lots of pursuits and it took me a very long time to determine how you can wrangle these.

Mike Sarraille:
Did I see you wished to be a paleontologist at one level, too?

Paul Hedrick:
I believe that’s on our Wikipedia web page, in some way. I don’t know the way it bought there. The reply is definitely sure. So, once I was in fourth grade… I solely know this as a result of I confirmed this with my mother the opposite day, she discovered an image or one thing, of a undertaking I made once I was in fourth grade that mentioned I wished to be a paleontologist. I actually favored fossils and rocks and stuff once I was a child. So like I mentioned, I used to be a fairly dorky child.

Mike Sarraille:
So, no less than we discovered one space in your life the place you failed miserably. I imply, you didn’t receive that goal-

Paul Hedrick:
I didn’t grow to be a paleontologist.

Mike Sarraille:
… so you’re human. That’s good. What did your mother and father do?

Paul Hedrick:
My dad was a guide for a few years. He truly labored for a similar consulting agency that I ended up working for later. And so traveled quite a bit rising up, advising totally different companies. My mother was a nurse till… I used to be the second of three. And after I used to be born, she targeted on us full time. And yeah, I simply truthfully had an exquisite childhood. Nothing to complain about. Numerous leeway to be who I wished to be. And out of my siblings, I believe I grew to become… I used to be positively the extra impartial, assured. I had lots of religion in myself from an early age to do effectively at school, to go make my very own future. And because of this, didn’t actually need to get lots of… Didn’t actually need to get lots of boundaries, or push from my mother and father. So yeah, truthfully, simply lots of fond recollections rising up. Had lots of hardship to lean into later. If I’m being sincere.

Mike Sarraille:
I really like the way you say, “Yeah, I did effectively at school.” Yeah, dude, you bought into Harvard.

Paul Hedrick:
Yeah.

Mike Sarraille:
I believe you probably did beyond-

Paul Hedrick:
I used to be wait listed.

Mike Sarraille:
… effectively at school.

Paul Hedrick:
I used to be wait listed.

Mike Sarraille:
Wait listed?

Paul Hedrick:
However I bought in off the wait checklist.

Mike Sarraille:
Yeah. I’m positive they’re not mentioning that now.

Paul Hedrick:
No.

Mike Sarraille:
After they brag about you. It’s humorous you say nerdy. That is likely one of the greatest qualities you may have in highschool. All the blokes that have been tremendous targeted to a point, have been extremely profitable. My son simply constructed a pc. I don’t know the place he will get it. I didn’t graduate with my senior class. So no, that’s-

Paul Hedrick:
Nerds are positively cool now. I don’t know in the event that they have been cool once I was rising up.

Mike Sarraille:
I’m attempting to recollect. So abroad, I used to take heed to… I’m blanking on it. It’ll come to me. The man grew to become a digital music star and I used to be listening to his music abroad, prepping for missions. After which I noticed his actual identify, not placing two and two collectively. As a result of the identify of the band is totally different. And the man was in my highschool class.

Paul Hedrick:
Oh wow.

Mike Sarraille:
And I bear in mind he was simply… Yeah, I don’t need to say odd. He was a pleasant man. Not mainstream. Didn’t choose up lots of consideration, however… God, it’ll come to me. I’m blanking on that one however… So, what number of brothers and sisters?

Paul Hedrick:
I’ve an older sister and a youthful brother.

Mike Sarraille:
So, you have been the center little one?

Paul Hedrick:
Center little one.

Mike Sarraille:
Ignored? [inaudible] I at all times make enjoyable of my brother, who’s the center one.

Paul Hedrick:
It’s humorous. You already know, I see lots of these… On Instagram, you see these memes making enjoyable of center children, center… And I don’t… There was nothing notably notable about it. My brother’s positively a youthful, a youngest. However I don’t even know if I may identify what the standard of a center child is.

Mike Sarraille:
My brother is the center one. It’s humorous, you say impartial. You have been at all times impartial. He was, by orders of magnitude extra impartial than my sister, who’s the oldest and myself, who’s the-

Paul Hedrick:
Oh, perhaps that’s it.

Mike Sarraille:
… youngest.

Paul Hedrick:
Oh, you’re the youngest. I get it.

Mike Sarraille:
Oh, I very a lot bought away with homicide as a result of I believe my mother and father simply didn’t care, by that time. What was the shift like from Dallas, Texas to Boston for Harvard? That needed to be a bit little bit of a tradition shock.

Paul Hedrick:
Oh, positively. I actually had by no means visited earlier than I made a decision to go. I instructed my faculty counselor, I believe, sooner or later, I needed to choose which faculty I actually would need to get in, off the wait checklist. And it’s like, “Nicely I suppose if I can get into Harvard, I’ll go.” Simply because it’s Harvard. I didn’t count on to get in, so yeah, I simply by no means visited. And so I knew nothing about it. I didn’t even know if it was in an city setting, in a rural setting. I knew I wished to depart Texas. I’d been to Texas my complete life and one thing concerning the outdoors world was calling me, I believe to… I wished to find out about it. I used to be curious. However I believe I’ve been away from Texas twice. 4 years for school after which two years, a pair years out of faculty. And each instances I discovered myself drawn again to Texas. I discovered myself drawn to what I… It highlighted the whole lot that I cherished about the place I used to be from, truly. So yeah, I joined the Texas Membership.

Mike Sarraille:
Actually? So, there’s a Harvard Texas Membership?

Paul Hedrick:
Oh yeah. Yeah. It’s not large. However we had fun.

Mike Sarraille:
I imply, with the jacked up pickup vans? Like pull as much as Harvard with the Texas flag [inaudible]?

Paul Hedrick:
You already know, not many individuals have vehicles there. That’s the factor. It was an city setting, which once more, I didn’t know. However yeah, I’d say the most important shock was extra, hey, when you’re in a faculty like that, there are a whole bunch of individuals higher than you at each flip. And you already know, it was a type of, you’re by no means going to be the very best individual in any of these lessons. And so it was a humbling expertise. I handled faculty as extra of a, “Hey I’m in faculty. I need to have enjoyable.” And you’ll have lots of enjoyable at these locations too, imagine me. But it surely wasn’t till junior or senior 12 months once I realized, “Okay, it’s going to be actually laborious to face out right here. I bought to begin engaged on, what’s going to make Paul Paul, after faculty.” And it was more durable there, I believe, than it could’ve been at many different locations.

Mike Sarraille:
Would you describe it as cutthroat a bit bit? I’ve heard that concerning the Harvard MBA program, that it’s fairly cutthroat.

Paul Hedrick:
Yeah. I’d positively say when you have been attempting to be high of the category, get excessive honors, when you have been in pre-med, when you have been in these pre-law. Should you have been attempting to do issues that required a very good GPA and whatnot? Yeah, it was cutthroat. I went proper down the green for economics, which accurately 50% of the graduating class majors in and figured it was going to be a bit simpler to face out from the group in that main. Some individuals ask me why I majored in economics, that was just about the rationale. It had the least necessities out of another main, and I may take lots of electives senior 12 months. I took appearing class senior 12 months, which was actually enjoyable. I believe I loved my electives greater than my core curriculum, if I’m being sincere.

Mike Sarraille:
What’s the naked minimal? Was my identify in highschool. So, I’m with you.

Paul Hedrick:
Yeah.

Mike Sarraille:
So I’ve bought to ask, how did you benefit from the winters in Boston? As a result of these are brutal.

Paul Hedrick:
You already know, while you’re 19 and also you’re BAC is above authorized driving restrict for more often than not, you don’t actually care that a lot, I believe. If I’m being… Yeah.

Mike Sarraille:
Did so did we go away a Brady fan? Patriots?

Paul Hedrick:
No.

Mike Sarraille:
No [inaudible]?

Paul Hedrick:
No, I’m a Cowboys fan nonetheless. In some way. Yeah. It’s been a tough…

Mike Sarraille:
That’s tough.

Paul Hedrick:
Very long time.

Mike Sarraille:
I’m a good climate fan. I’ll soar ship. Since Tom Brady went to my rival highschool, I simply grew to become a Patriots fan.

Paul Hedrick:
Oh yeah. Nicely he’s the goat, he’s the goat.

Mike Sarraille:
He’s the goat. It’s loopy. He got here again out of retirement.

Paul Hedrick:
I do know.

Mike Sarraille:
It’s insane. Do you see the memes? That have been identical to, as a result of he realized staying residence with the children would’ve been insane.

Paul Hedrick:
Oh man, no. I really feel unhealthy, there was a man who purchased his closing recreation ball for half 1,000,000 {dollars}.

Mike Sarraille:
It’s that, or he’s only a advertising and marketing genius.

Paul Hedrick:
Yeah.

Mike Sarraille:
It was deliberate all alongside. Regardless, the goat’s again.

Paul Hedrick:
Can’t keep away.

Mike Sarraille:
We should always see a very good season. So your senior 12 months, you just about have zeroed in on, ought to I say administration consulting?

Paul Hedrick:
You already know, the reality was at that stage I had no concept what administration consultants actually did. Everybody was speaking about this factor referred to as I-banking and I actually thought it was like iPod. Prefer it was technical, it was technological in some way. But it surely simply stood for funding banking. I had no concept what that job was both, however everybody in these environments simply at all times simply gunning for the names and gunning for the…

Mike Sarraille:
Yeah.

Paul Hedrick:
So yeah, I believed I wished to do these issues. I ended up getting a job, the job that I may get actually, which was choices buying and selling. And I used to be an choices dealer in Chicago briefly, which was a killer job. And I, for a pair years afterward, considered whether or not I made the best transfer leaving it.
And it wasn’t till after faculty that I noticed, “Hey, I want to actually focus and double down on my profession. And I must give attention to what was going to open up essentially the most doorways.” And so I, after day by day once I got here residence from work, first six months out of faculty, I studied for case research principally. For managing administration consulting interviews. And I simply instructed myself, I set a purpose. I’m like, “I’m going to get a job at the very best consulting agency on the planet. And I’m going to do no matter it takes to get there.” But it surely was after faculty as a result of I… Candidly, my grades weren’t ok to get the job in faculty. I bought rejected twice. And yeah, a sequence of not my first rejection and never my final, that led me to the place I’m now.

Mike Sarraille:
What sort of hours have been you working with the choices dealer?

Paul Hedrick:
Actually, that was sort of good. It was 30, 40 hours per week, so I had loads of time after work to check for different issues.

Mike Sarraille:
You’re kidding? I imply, you hear the horror tales.

Paul Hedrick:
Simply market hours.

Mike Sarraille:
Market hours?

Paul Hedrick:
It was all… It was a psychological math job. It was principally… Yeah, it was all psychological math. It was at a agency that specialised in buying and selling fairness index choices is what they have been referred to as. And also you simply tried to get out and in of positions all day.

Mike Sarraille:
What have been your Most worthy classes discovered from that place? I imply, did you’ve gotten nice mentors? What did you’re taking away after which segue into administration consulting from there?

Paul Hedrick:
Actually, the most important factor I discovered was that I… It was extra about myself, I wished to have a wider breadth of publicity. My twenties have been a time that I wanted to spend investing in myself and my profession. And that didn’t imply going for the job that paid essentially the most, nor the best pedigree for that matter. It meant going for… Attempting to spend my time studying and accelerating who I used to be within the enterprise world, no less than, as quick as I may. And that wasn’t… That job was extra of a… In all probability the quickest approach to make some huge cash by 30. Not a lot one of the best ways to broaden my thoughts.

Mike Sarraille:
And was it administration consulting, as a result of they contact so many industries, that drew you in?

Paul Hedrick:
Yeah, by this level I had found out what a administration guide does and realized that it was a fairly cool job. You’re principally employed to leap into a special enterprise each one to a few months, basically. Instantly get accredited to be an skilled. And by accredited, I imply you simply inform the shopper you’re an skilled and also you higher determine how you can appear to be one and actually be taught in your toes. And I couldn’t consider something higher than being compelled to be taught on my toes and being round actually world class individuals. And that’s what I noticed later was most likely the very best. I imply, the very best a part of the expertise was each considered one of my colleagues, it was just like being an Ivy League faculty the place everybody round you was ok to get a job there. And a few methods I felt like an imposter, however I knew that knew I may do it.
And that’s the place the boldness began constructing, I believe, that I wanted just a few years later. And that I began to see how these companies have been working and it’s all regular individuals. You already know? It’s regular individuals going to the workplace day by day. And everybody will get a job, you already know? Nearly everybody will get a job. And consulting for these actually massive companies, you see lots of people sort of there to simply to indicate up and punch their ticket. And that’s okay. And so they’re a person contributor perhaps, and so they need that to work, to play a sure half of their life. And you then see different individuals who have risen up, and also you get to see this variety of how persons are approaching their careers. Which I had by no means seen earlier than and it was much more tangible. And so, yeah, that was the principle draw for me.

Mike Sarraille:
Administration consulting is so fascinating to me. It’s nearly such as you have a look at these firms and also you ask your self, “Why would they want consultants to return in and clear up the issues for them?” However they’re wanting on the issues from six inches away, the place you’ve gotten the posh of coming in, taking a look at it from toes away. As a result of they’re so engrossed within the daily, they simply don’t have the time to take that step again and look.

Paul Hedrick:
And consultants have [inaudible] up creating sample recognition on the highest stage. And so they’ve seen what nice appears to be like like, and plenty of instances it takes not… So, we simply employed a consulting agency. I by no means would have thought we’d get to that time, however we simply… 10 years after I left the business, we simply employed a… Received a blue chip consulting agency, if you’ll, to assist us work by way of some issues. And it was extraordinarily useful. And I’d say, yeah, it was all… It’s as a result of they have been bringing sample recognition and experience to bear in a excessive octane, brief time period interval. And typically a enterprise wants that to see what they actually have forward of them.

Mike Sarraille:
It’s humorous you talked about sample recognition. Some issues simply can’t substitute expertise. It’s simply iterations. You simply have to present it time and so many iterations beneath your belt, earlier than these patterns choose up. I’d have an interest, what in your opinion, past the information, makes an ideal administration guide? Is it the power to construct relationships with the individuals you’re working with inside the firms? I imply, what makes an ideal administration guide stand out?

Paul Hedrick:
Yeah, I believe you may… There are several types of nice, for positive. Yeah, there have been the senior companions that you just knew that have been simply nice at, what you mentioned, relationships. And so they have been going to search out the way in which to get within the ear of the CEO and be a trusted accomplice, after which at all times have enterprise coming in. And people corporations don’t like to consider themselves as gross sales organizations. They don’t like… At the place I labored, they didn’t even use the phrase gross sales. It was a foul phrase. However the reality was, that the individuals who have been up the highest making essentially the most cash have been the individuals who have been the very best salesmen. However the individuals who I believe ended up additionally producing perhaps essentially the most respect, have been the individuals who knew that this was what they wished to do.
And since frankly, most individuals determine of their first 12 months or two, if it’s one thing they need. Do I need to be a accomplice or not? I knew three months in that I used to be not going to go for accomplice monitor. And so, it’s a little bit of a self choice in that regard. However the individuals who know why they’re they need to do it and it’s a very good cause, it’s as a result of they’re nice downside solvers. And so they’re simply so energized by fixing issues that they’d somewhat see lots of them, than work their manner by way of one system, or change careers just a few instances. And so, yeah, I actually admire lots of my former colleagues in that regard. However I knew that wasn’t going to be me. I wanted to go all in on just a few issues.

Mike Sarraille:
So what was it particularly that you just knew three months in, you weren’t… This was not the everlasting monitor? This was only a stepping stone to what you wished to attain later in life.

Paul Hedrick:
Yeah, so I had two jobs earlier than, effectively three, I suppose when you depend the buying and selling agency earlier than Tecovas and the supply for beginning my enterprise. I suppose we haven’t launched Tecovas but, but-

Mike Sarraille:
Oh, we’re going to get there.

Paul Hedrick:
Yeah, I’d say every of them introduced me nearer to working. And I knew once I was a guide, that I used to be… Principally, when most individuals go away consulting corporations and also you ask them why they’re leaving, to both be a part of an working firm, or begin their very own or one thing else. They’ve a fairly widespread reply as to why, which is that they’re bored with doing the work after which handing it off after which not seeing it by way of.

Mike Sarraille:
The execution.

Paul Hedrick:
And so they’re like, “I need to see it by way of.” And I knew that I wished to see it by way of, too. I believed that lots of essentially the most fascinating choices have been being made outdoors the assembly and out of doors the steering committee. And it wasn’t as a lot about seeing it by way of for me, no less than then. It was extra, “Man, that’s a cool resolution that man’s accountable for making. I need to be in that seat.” And I knew I needed to work my manner towards getting in that seat in some way.

Mike Sarraille:
Okay. So we’ve been an possibility dealer. We’ve achieved the administration consulting piece. You’ve bought a novel look since you’re sporting… I’m assuming you’re sporting cowboy boots and all of your fits?

Paul Hedrick:
Yeah.

Mike Sarraille:
Or have been you instructed, “Hey, that’s not…”

Paul Hedrick:
Nicely, yeah. That was the opposite factor. I didn’t actually. It was frowned upon. You actually instructed as a guide, to sort of mix in. You put on Brooks Brothers, and impartial colours, and Cohan. And also you by no means need to be the man who’s sporting the too costly factor or the too flashy factor, or the signature look. You need to be the man who’s simply… Numerous instances, they don’t need to know that you just’re there. You already know? No truly, what occurred was I moved to New York. I lived in [inaudible] the place I grew up in Dallas once I labored in consulting. Though I traveled quite a bit, it’s a journey job. I moved to New York to work for a non-public fairness agency that targeted on shopper and retail. And that’s once I… I had already had the style of Texas post-college and I’d actually lived there for the primary time as an grownup, for my part.
And I used to be so sure that’s who I wished to be and the place I wished to be long run, that I began sporting boots in New York. Basically. I imply, I at all times had them, proper? However I actually began sporting them just about day by day once I was going out and once I went to the workplace. After I went to New York. As a result of I wished to… At that time, I knew I wished to be the Texan man. And I used to be happy with the place I used to be from and yeah, I by no means considered past that. However yeah, that’s once I began sporting them.

Mike Sarraille:
So, at all times representing Texas in a roundabout way to the very best of your potential.

Paul Hedrick:
Yeah. And I frolicked with Texans in New York. You already know, I went to see Texas nation musicians. Robert Earl Eager, Josh Abbot, Randy Rogers, Corey Mora, lots of these guys.

Mike Sarraille:
These guys go to New York Metropolis?

Paul Hedrick:
From time to time. Actually, what made me offended once I lived in Texas, is Texas independence day yearly, first week in March. They did a live performance that weekend in New York. But it surely was simply to attract all of the… Nicely, so, we created a reputation for ourselves. We referred to as ourselves Texpats. And so I solely frolicked with Texpats just about. Which, wanting again, was fairly close-minded however it’s what I did.

Mike Sarraille:
It’s so humorous. You are taking a Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, New York. Should you put on cowboy boots and a go well with, you stand out.

Paul Hedrick:
That’s proper.

Mike Sarraille:
Typically not in a great way. However you try this in Dallas and Houston, it’s the norm.

Paul Hedrick:
Oh yeah.

Mike Sarraille:
It’s the norm.

Paul Hedrick:
I’m attempting to make it extra the norm now, which, we’re on our manner to do this.

Mike Sarraille:
You’re doing a fairly rattling good job. So, you’re taking another job with a buying and selling agency.

Paul Hedrick:
Yeah. It was a retail and shopper targeted, non-public fairness agency. So that is when it actually began to return a bit extra full circle for me. I knew I wished to be… Work with merchandise. Bodily merchandise. Manufacturers. I used to be a product sort of nut rising up. Would learn shopper reviews, and I cherished vehicles. I favored Gear and bought into the blogs later, like Uncrate, at Gear Patrol and whatnot.
And so, I knew I used to be drawn to that. I didn’t know what it meant. I simply knew that I wished to work… I may relate extra simply to issues that I interacted with and acquired and bought myself. Which, that’s not a really distinctive factor to note. I believe lots of people prefer to get into the enterprise of shopper as a result of they’ll relate to it extra instantly. However that was my line into working in shopper, was I bought a possibility to work for an funding agency that principally invests in and buys and sells shopper manufacturers. They’re truly now the most important shopper retail funding agency on the planet. On the time it was smaller. And I ended up working, largely for an organization that made and bought sweet. So I do know quite a bit about gummy bears, jelly beans, sweet corn.

Mike Sarraille:
All of the necessities to a very good eating regimen.

Paul Hedrick:
Not chocolate. Yeah.

Mike Sarraille:
So earlier than we get to the mid roll, what we name the laborious questions, when did the concept hit? I imply, was it gradual? Or did hastily it hit laborious, like a bunch of bricks?

Paul Hedrick:
Just a little little bit of each. I had achieved… Nearly getting near my two 12 months stint, which there, was the usual size of time to work in my position. Though I had the choice to remain longer. I had utilized to enterprise faculty. I truly bought rejected from the one two colleges that I utilized to. And that was actually the rationale that bought my juices flowing, as to needing to determine like, “Oh, what the hell do I do subsequent?”
And I bear in mind getting drinks with a colleague and he mentioned, “Hey we meet a bunch of those CEOs who run shopper companies. Like how laborious may or not it’s?” Which on the time… Fortunately, I used to be a bit beneath the affect, and so I didn’t fairly grasp how naive of a press release that was. And it was a primary spark, no less than in my thoughts, that perhaps I may suppose a bit bit extra about beginning one thing. After which principally, the wheel began actually turning. And I began…
Really, I seemed down at my toes, actually the following week. And it bought me excited about, “Nicely, what do I like in my life? What do I purchase in my life? I ought to most likely do one thing in shopper and merchandise, as a result of that’s the place I’ve essentially the most experience.” And I may theoretically have a little bit of a head begin in comparison with lots of different industries. And I simply bear in mind, I had this pair of ostrich boots on and so they… I’m like, “Man, this expertise of shopping for them was so, in some ways, unmemorable.” I couldn’t even actually identify the model. It truly was one of many retailers’ non-public label manufacturers, because it turned out. However I didn’t even register that. The expertise was not an ideal one. I needed to go residence to Dallas to even purchase them.
And I used to be at a model constructing agency. We knew the facility of name. We knew that model is all about connecting a shopper and a buyer with a sense and a narrative and a bodily product in lots of instances. And nothing on this class, as I seen it, was doing that for me. After which, each single time I seemed into it, the extra I noticed, “Oh, I may do that one factor higher. We may have nice customer support. We may… I may make him good wanting. I may make him higher value as a result of I may… We may do that totally different enterprise mannequin as a result of nobody is promoting direct to shopper.” And so it was a type of issues the place it was a little bit of a slippery slope, however the concept grew to become very apparent to me over time.

Mike Sarraille:
This, and we’re going to get into this after the break because-

Paul Hedrick:
This was months, although. Not days. Yeah.

Mike Sarraille:
Simply the actual fact, even when it was a 12 months to give you the concept. To enter what I’d describe as a legacy business and attempt to disrupt it. What’s much more insane to me, and I’ve written a e book on expertise acquisition and assessing character, is that two MBA packages rejected you into their packages. I wager they’re licking their chops to at the present time, saying, “Who the hell’s answerable for our choice course of?” That’s insane.

Paul Hedrick:
I believe they’re okay. It was Harvard and Stanford. They’re essentially the most unique enterprise colleges.

Mike Sarraille:
Nicely, we will say Stanford and Harvard, simply don’t come to Texas. We do issues right here a bit otherwise.

Paul Hedrick:
I’m glad they did.

Mike Sarraille:
So earlier than we get to the mid roll break, the laborious questions. What’s the largest remorse of your life? And I don’t settle for, “I’ve no regrets,” as a solution.

Paul Hedrick:
Yeah. Nicely, I imply the reality is I strive to not suppose an excessive amount of about… I’ll preface by saying I strive to not suppose an excessive amount of about regrets, as a result of I believe it’s extra productive to be grateful than regretful. And truthfully, I’m actually fortunate. From my upbringing to the positions that I used to be in, to my company that I had to choose that I did, which was to give up a excessive paying job and threat all of it. Most individuals don’t have that and so I believe the gratitude and the remorse are extraordinarily outweighed in proportion. However you already know, to be reflective about it, I believe it could be…
I interpreted being impartial, being an entrepreneur, as being headstrong and being in my very own universe. And I didn’t ask for… If I have been speaking to myself even a 12 months in the past, if not seven years in the past, I’d say speak to extra individuals. Get assist. Ask for extra assist. Simply you’re going to have to determine sufficient by yourself, share the load a bit bit. Distribute management. Name for specialists, create a community. Speak to therapists. I didn’t begin speaking to a therapist till this 12 months and I want I had achieved that earlier. So, I believe each a part of my life can be higher if I had simply had a bit bit extra of a assist in networking oriented mindset earlier. I hated networking. So I simply avoided-

Mike Sarraille:
Yeah.

Paul Hedrick:
And once I was attempting to determine how you can begin the corporate, I didn’t rent a sourcing agent or… I simply blunt compelled it. Which in lots of instances was the best name. However more often than not, there’s nothing fallacious with asking for assist.

Mike Sarraille:
So earlier than we get to the final query, I’ve bought to ask you primarily based off that response, and that is considered one of my weaknesses, do you think about… I don’t need to say a lot as a weak point. I’d say it for myself, however is it laborious so that you can ask for assist? Or a youthful Paul? Was it more durable to ask for assist?

Paul Hedrick:
Sure, I’ve gotten quite a bit higher at it, I believe. As a result of I’ve realized that self reflection and being susceptible together with your staff is a giant approach to transfer the ball alongside. And life is brief. Don’t conceal stuff, get forward of it. However that has not been a pure intuition of mine by any means. That has been a discovered… Discovered and at all times enhancing, I’d say. Numerous room for enchancment, nonetheless. Ability.

Mike Sarraille:
Hey, I don’t care when you’re 34 or 74, there’s there’s at all times room for enchancment.

Paul Hedrick:
That’s proper.

Mike Sarraille:
Final query earlier than the mid roll break, hardest resolution you’ve ever needed to make?

Paul Hedrick:
Yeah. There’s been quite a bit. We’ve needed to… There’s these moments in your journey as an govt, as a CEO, as a founder, that each time will looks like, “Oh, that was the toughest factor I’ve ever achieved.” I do know that’s not the query. I believe the toughest… So far as hardest resolution, truthfully, simply by way of gravity, it’s the straightforward one. It was absolutely committing to at least one concept. And it ought to have been laborious. And it was appropriately laborious. I believe even I underestimated how a lot effort it could take and I knew it was going to take quite a bit. And I used to be afraid of committing a giant chunk of my life to at least one factor, get up 5, 10, 15 years later and perhaps the worst factor that… The worst factor that would have occurred perhaps, was not a fast failure or a fast success, however one thing in between.
And that actually prevented me from going all in on one factor till I completely needed to. I imply, I actually… The choice to begin an organization was not laborious for me, due to quite a bit, a myriad of things. I used to be 26. I used to be fortunate to have paid off… You already know, I didn’t have any money owed. I had a lucky upbringing. I had lots of company, had an ideal job and I may, I may threat all of it. That wasn’t the laborious half. It was committing to at least one factor. And so it wasn’t till I… I moved to Austin, I used to be nonetheless truly engaged on a pair concepts. And it wasn’t ’til I needed to write a… I had a rule for myself, as quickly as I needed to write a $10,000 test for one thing, I wanted to simply wager on it. And I imply, shoot, I made the choice to begin the corporate eight years in the past and we’re nonetheless within the thick of it. I imply, this can be a lengthy… It’s going to take a very long time. So it was laborious, however it ought to have been laborious.

Mike Sarraille:
Brother, when you think about this a very long time, with the truth that you based Tecovas in 2015 to the place you guys at the moment are, I’ve little doubt… I imply, you have been working the longest hours of your life. However not often do you see an organization this profitable so rapidly, that has constructed such a powerful model for which a tradition, a longtime tradition is behind it. That’s spectacular. However we’re going to take our mid roll break and we will likely be proper again.
And we’re again with Occasion Journal On a regular basis Warrior podcast with Paul Hedrick, founder and CEO of Tecovas. So we left off, you’re 26, making a very good profession on a trajectory and also you say, “To hell with it, I’m going to begin a boot firm.” Now I’ve bought to ask, it was both your mother and father or mates that you just introduced this concept to and so they’re like, “Oh, Paul, that’s cute however why would you surrender your profession to threat all of it?” Or it might have been, “Paul, you’re simply rattling loopy. Let this go.”

Paul Hedrick:
Yeah. You already know, the reality is I didn’t get a ton of pushback from my mother and father. And most of the people, I believe, understood that this was one thing that would scale rapidly or fail rapidly. And that yeah, I’d be a giant monetary threat in some methods. However I’d most likely be higher off whether or not it succeeded or failed.
Now, my faculty roommates who have been all from Boston, and the New York space, they didn’t perceive. They mentioned, “You’re quitting your job in non-public fairness to begin a cowboy boots retailer?” And I mentioned, “That’s not precisely how I’d describe it. However yeah. Basically, sure.” And so, yeah, I’d say… However truly the one individuals that actually sort of scared… Nearly scared me off or gave me pause, have been the individuals who… I did find yourself speaking to some individuals who had been within the footwear business. And truthfully, these guys weren’t encouraging. And so they instructed me how difficult beginning a footwear firm is and the way the stock’s laborious and there’s 1,000,000 sizes and you already know, why the hell would you ever begin a footwear firm? And people have been most likely the one individuals I ought to have listened to. However fortunately, I had sufficient test marks within the professional facet of my professional and con sheet, that I nonetheless believed sufficient within the alternative to do it. And I’m glad I did, though it’s laborious to run a shoe firm.

Mike Sarraille:
It’s so humorous, these little methods, the professional and con checklist, as you’re sitting in your house on the time. Correctly, actually scripting this on a whiteboard or down on a bit of paper.

Paul Hedrick:
I had an Excel file too, if I’m being sincere.

Mike Sarraille:
Excel, there you go. Very, very dealer, non-public fairness of you. I bought to modify my tone up nearly to, who do you suppose you’re? You can are available and disrupt a legacy business owned by firms like Tony Lama, Casey [inaudible 00:36:31. But seriously, you’re looking at this. What do you possibly see that you could do differently, to come in and gain market share?

Paul Hedrick:
Yeah. You know, I definitely had that reaction from some people. A lot of people were… The first question they asked me was like, “Well, have you made a cowboy boot before? Are you from… Is your family in the industry?” And I said, “Well, no. I don’t think that’s… I’m not going to make them by hand, myself. I’m planning to go to whoever the best people in the world are at making this stuff and then take the best product, make it better.” And yeah, and the make it better part is the answer to your question. Which is there wasn’t something that I wanted in the market. And I trusted my instincts on that front. And I trusted myself, knowing that there’s enough people out there that were thinking like me. That what I wanted was a more approachably priced boot. A comfortable boot. A boot that I could buy on the internet and actually, the same way that I buy a lot of my stuff on the internet. A company that has great customer service. A company that whose values I share.
And so I knew that there was 10 of these things on the list, that we could do better than everyone else. And no one else was doing more than two or three of them. So yeah, there was definitely a confidence that came from knowing that and knowing that at some point, most ideas sound like stupid ones until they work. And believe me, I remember someone telling me on the phone, for advice, and they’re like, “Oh no one’s going to ever buy cowboy boots on the internet.” And I’m like, “You realize what you sound like? People said the same thing about every other category. I can’t believe you still have that mindset.” So yeah, I mean, obviously it was true that you could. And by the way, that what also gave me confidence is that the product was… The experience was not great, you know? There was only one company, one brand that even had the cart button on their website in 2014. I mean, this category was behind the times.

Mike Sarraille:
I can’t blame the person for saying that. Because as unremarkable as the boot buying experience is, which it’s just like athletic shoes. You go to one of those large stores, it’s like, “Here are all the 10 and a halfs.”

Paul Hedrick:
Yeah. Like a grocery store.

Mike Sarraille:
From all the brands. Here are all the 10 and a half, double Es for cowboy boots. All the different brands. But I don’t think even five years ago, I don’t think I would’ve bought a boot online. It just… I mean, that had to seem like a gamble.

Paul Hedrick:
Well, that was a hurdle we needed to get over. Because that definitely was the mindset. And I just believed that the formula that we were going to create would get people over that fact. Which it really had to do with making it more approachable and making it… And so, what were all the barriers that were preventing people from potentially buying boots on the internet? It was questions about fit. Questions about quality. Questions about brand story. Questions about merchandising and what do they need? And we solved a lot of that with simplicity and approachability. We designed one cowboy boot, one roper boot, one cowgirl boot, one booty. We were very clear about where they sit in the market. We were very clear about why they were priced the way they were priced. We had free shipping returns and exchanges. We did all the stuff that was table stakes now, but at the time was actually innovative. And knew that a lot of people would still opt for the physical experience, and that’s okay. But in the back of my mind, knew that at some point we were going to be more than that as well, and that we’d get there at some point.

Mike Sarraille:
So beyond all these smaller items you were going to innovate on, the business model, you were going to double down on the direct to consumer because no one was doing it at the time?
Paul Hedrick:
Yeah. There were no direct to consumer western footwear or apparel brands at that time.

Mike Sarraille:
So you settled on Leon, Mexico where you make your boots. What drove you there? What research? And then did you just say, “Hey, I’m going to buy a ticket, go down there and start talking to people?”

Paul Hedrick:
Pretty much. I’d say that there were two major drivers in the discovery phase of figuring out the Tecovas journey. One was the scale of the industry. You know, I had no idea if it was a hundred million dollar industry or a hundred billion dollar industry. Turns out, about 4 billion dollars of cowboy boots are sold in the US every year. Which was, to me, bigger than a bread box. Definitely bigger than I thought. And the second thing was… And if I hadn’t found that out, I probably wouldn’t have gotten to the next step.
And the second thing I found out was that pretty much all of the greatest handcrafted brands had started making boots in this one town in Mexico in the late eighties, early nineties, and transitioned most US production down there. In part, because this town had been, for really since before World War II had been making shoes, you know, great… What’s called welted. Goodyear welted and Blake welted leather shoes for that long, and had developed a bit of a cottage industry down there.
And so it’s like, “Okay, great.” I know what the market’s like. I know where to make it. So the rest will be easy. No, I made a lot of cold phone calls. I called a lot of custom boot makers. Actually, I found a list from… I think Texas monthly had this list that was like 20 years old of all the Texas boot… And most of them were no longer alive, unfortunately. But a few people answered the phone and a couple of them took a liking to me and were late… You know, these are older industry vets. Probably close to retirement, and they said, “Hey, I’ll take you under my wing. You should fly to Leon. Here’s the name of one factory I know.” And yeah. But I cold emailed a factory and flew down there. And came with a PowerPoint presentation that I don’t think I opened. And then he quickly rejected me and sent me across the street to another factory. And they said yes, thankfully.

Mike Sarraille:
That is amazing. Now, what facilitated the move from Dallas to Austin, to start this venture?

Paul Hedrick:
Yeah. I was living in New York at the time and knew that I wanted to move to Texas to start my business. And I was between living in Dallas and Austin. And you know, honestly, the main reason I picked Austin was I just wanted a new adventure. And I had never really been there and every time I looked into the town, I thought it’d be a cool place to start a business. And you know, it was very entrepreneurial. There was a lot of tech industry there. And felt like the best place to start a new Western brand. Now, what I didn’t realize was that not having any retailer, retail or apparel companies here was actually going to make it extremely challenging, to start a business in a town without a lot of industry talent already there. But we’re figuring that out now. But it’s a great town. I love it. And I actually thought I was late to the game in Austin in 2014, turns out I was wrong about that.

Mike Sarraille:
Well, you’ve definitely overcome those obstacles. Tell me about the early days in Tecovas. I mean, were you bootstrapping this thing, more or less? Friends and family? How big was the initial team?

Paul Hedrick:
Yeah, well, I really leaned into the bootstrap word. Because it literally means you pull yourself up by your bootstraps, which-

Mike Sarraille:
No pun on words.

Paul Hedrick:
Very few companies could say they were literally bootstrapping a bootstrap company. But tried to… I endeavored to bootstrap it. I got it basically all the way to launch. I had spent every dollar in my savings account. I cashed out my 401k. Paid a big tax penalty, I don’t recommend that. I sold my BMW and bought a 20 year old car. I went about $30,000 in credit card debt. So fall 2015 was very challenging, and I realized that I couldn’t afford the inventory bill. And so, first of all, I committed to a big inventory number which I had faith that we could sell through. And we did. But yeah, I ended up raising a friends and family round that fall after launch.
And as soon as money came into the account, I would pay a supplier this, pay the rent there, and realized that we were going to have to do this a little differently from a lot of other companies. We weren’t going to be able to raise as much money, maybe, as a lot of other companies. We were a cowboy boot startup. Most tech investors weren’t going to take a look at it. Most venture investors weren’t going to take a look at it. We eventually raised money every year. And after the first three, I’d say it got a lot easier to get people to believe in our mission and our vision to create a really big company. But those first two or three years were… People didn’t… A lot of no’s. A lot of people who did not understand what we were doing and credit… I should have done a better job explaining it, but at the end of the day, I just don’t… At some point, they got to see it to believe it.

Mike Sarraille:
You know, most entrepreneurs that have been successful have said to me something along the lines of, “You can choose one or two things in your life when you’re an entrepreneur. And one of those things is already chosen, the company.” So it’s the company and family, it’s the company and health. I mean, did you even have a social life during those early years?

Paul Hedrick:
Yeah, I definitely agree that it… Obviously, you have to… It’s going to consume a much bigger part of your life than work will for most people, for obvious reasons. But I wasn’t married. I didn’t have kids or a pet and once you take those out of the equation, I mean, that left a lot of room to focus on myself and the business and my friends. And yeah, I really believed in having balance early. And even though a big part of my life was going to be Tecovas, I didn’t want to be a hermit and I’d seen people do that. So no, I had definitely tried to balance my life as much as possible. And luckily, I was in a town that was pretty fun town to hang out in. So it wasn’t too hard to find people to get a drink with when I really needed it.

Mike Sarraille:
There’s no shortage of fun here in Austin. And I learned that the hard way, in my first two years when I was going through my MBA program. Not the model student, let’s just put it that way. Was there a time in year one or two, where you thought to yourself, “We may not make it?”

Paul Hedrick:
Honestly, that didn’t come in those first two years. I think by far, in a way the most existential risk we’ve ever faced, honestly, I wish it had come in those years because I… Would’ve been nice to learn those lessons earlier. COVID was by far and away, the most challenging time our business has ever experienced. 30, 40 plus percent of our business wiped away overnight. And that was a very tough weekend, week, turned into month, months. And you know, we had to reduce our… We did we did a reduction in force. Laid off a third of our team. I had to raise money to have enough money to support our budget for the year, and took six months to do that. And so, that was by far and away, the most existential risk.
And thankfully, there was enough belief in our vision and we had a great team who was ready to hunker down and do what needed to get done. But yeah, my sanity was not tested as much in the first couple years. I think because I was powered by a lot of naivety, honestly, in the first couple years. The truth is, if most people had looked at our balance sheet and when we needed to raise money next, and what results we needed to hit to go do those things, they would’ve been nervous. I should have been nervous. But I had a bit of a blind faith in the business and the ability that, hey, I know this, we make a great thing. I know if just more people could see it and experience it, it’s going to keep growing. And so yeah, every year we were able to set a big goal and blow through it and set another big goal and blow through it. And I think because of that, we were able to build a little… Enough scale to withstand a very challenging time later.

Mike Sarraille:
Before what we get to what I think sets Tecovas apart, and I want to dive into where you drove that. One of the things about successful CEOs is, this is my observation, where a lot of people will describe them as hard headed, they don’t necessarily use that in a great context. It’s you see the field for what it is. Or you have a vision and you just refuse to accept no for an answer. And you sort of alluded to that, that you were hardheaded earlier on. Do you see that as both a strength and a weakness? Or just a strength?

Paul Hedrick:
Definitely both. I think it’s a weakness at some points. I would say it’s increasingly a weakness when the company and relationships for that matter, need an evolution in thinking. When it’s the critical time, when your belief is driving a lot of the value in the business, then complete strength. And we wouldn’t be here where we are today, I think, if I didn’t have some of that stubbornness and that vision for where we were going. Candidly, we’re now at a point where I think we benefit less from that than we did before. And you know, a lot more… Running the business today is more about aligning people around the vision. Getting other people to buy into it, figuring out how to scale it operationally, and what I like to call hand to hand combat. And a lot more… A lot less let me brute force it and a lot more, how do we get a team and hundreds of people out there to execute on a vision? Which is a very different skill set than being hardheaded.

Mike Sarraille:
I love the war analogy. And there are so many parallels between war and business, it’s not even funny. This is why I say business is war by non-violent means. But let’s be honest, sometimes it gets a little violent.

Paul Hedrick:
Yeah. Hopefully non-violent.

Mike Sarraille:
Non-violent. So, COVID impacted almost everyone to some degree. Whether you’re the leader of an organization, CEO, or just parent of… A single parent, or even sitting in your apartment alone, what was the greatest leadership lesson you learned from COVID, for our listeners?

Paul Hedrick:
I think that was the time that it became so obvious that I needed to hug the people around… Talk more often. Focus on how people were feeling. Really get in touch with uniting around the cultural part of what we were doing. And the truth is for me, that it took a bit of a crisis for me to realize how important that was, when you shouldn’t just be doing that in a crisis. That should be the day to day operating model of any business and any leadership team that’s high functioning. And I’d say it took a crisis for me to realize what a scaled company CEO needs to start doing more. Now, that was definitely wartime CEO frame of my life, for sure. It was a lot of, “Hey, we got to set… We got to be really disciplined in these areas. We have to make a few bets that we know we’re going to have to drive a lot of faith behind. And it’s going to be a very simple plan to get out of this.”
But the people side… And it is also working through the virtual side of things too, which is now going to be the operating model of a lot of businesses for better, for worse, is going to be more hybrid. And I think it forced people to… I think a lot of people just went to the office and paid lip service to what it meant to work at a company and a business. And you know, really, it’s still a hand to hand combat. Still one on one. It’s still cultural. It’s still part of a team. And I think COVID for us, was good in that regard in that that it forced us to get closer. But it shouldn’t have been the only reason we did that.

Mike Sarraille:
Adversity can really bring people together, especially teams.

Paul Hedrick:
Yeah.

Mike Sarraille:
It’s funny you mentioned culture because I want to get into that. You see so many brands, and every company has a soul. To some degree. You see so many products out there that still do well, but they’re not soulful. You built something with Tecovas and this is not only from looking at what you got online, the message, your social media, but actually being in your HQ. Because I built a relationship with you guys, because you basically sent me to Mount Everest. Thanks for that. On your dime. Awesome. It was a great trip.

Paul Hedrick:
That’s great.

Mike Sarraille:
I mean, you guys have… Is it safe to say you guys have democratized western wear in a sense?

Paul Hedrick:
Yeah, I like that phrase. I actually used it a lot in the first couple years when I was describing the opportunity, I’d say that was a big part of it. I’d say that actually, our vision now or really our mission, is to free the spirit of the American west that exists within everyone. And I think you mentioned soulful. We’re blessed with where we work today. What we’re working in. What we work with. What we make for people. It’s a piece of American heritage. It has a story. And it was something that drew myself to it very early on, was when I was thinking about the different categories that you could start a business in. And I thought about others, for sure. This was the first idea and the one I couldn’t get away from, if you will. But if you’re wearing a pair of cowboy boots, you’re ready to get asked about them, and you’re going to get asked about them. And you’re going to get complimented on them. And they almost all have a story. And that’s really… When your main thing has a story, then it’s easier to be soulful, I guess, to use your words.
But also, it’s really cool to now work with people who sometimes see that vision better than I could, even. And sometimes I would get in my head and I had to be both the numbers guy, and the COO, and the CEO and the designer. And I think a lot of times I was so focused on just setting a goal for the next year, setting a goal for the next year and making sure all the pieces in place were getting there. And sometimes I lost track of the, “Hey, what could this really be five years from now? 25 years from now?” And couldn’t this keep going?
What’s to say that it couldn’t just convince a lot more… It’s not just about giving someone a better option who was already going to buy a cowboy boot. It was about actually representing something cultural about our country and representing the best of what the American spirit can represent. And I think, honestly, that sounded cheesy to me at first. And it wasn’t until pretty recently when I realized, “Hey, by the way, we have to have something like that for this to keep going. For us to keep going.” But the good news is, it’s there and it’s authentic. And it’s real. And if you… A cowboy, the spirit of the cowboy. I think the big thing we’re trying to do to get back to the democratized western, I think there’s a lot of people out there who think, “Well, I can’t rock cowboy boots.” Or, “I’m not a cowboy.” Or, “I’m not from Texas. Why would I buy it? I live in New York. That’s why I can’t do it.”
And those are the people that we got to figure out that screw that’s different in their brain. And we had to figure out how to tell them why that’s not true, because really all the American west represents, it’s the frontier. It’s making a choice. It’s believing in yourself, it’s being genuine. It’s being authentic. It’s being confident. It’s being welcoming. It’s being all these things that we’ve innately tried to do from the beginning, but we’ve never really sharpened our approach and our language around it. But yeah.

Mike Sarraille:
It’s funny. You go overseas, even in Iraq and Afghanistan, every deployment somebody would come up. One of the foreigners or local nationals to say, “Are you American cowboy?” I mean, just, it’s synonymous with American. We are seen as Cowboys to the world. And you brought that into reality. I mean, this is coming from a kid who’s born in the Bay Area of California and you can rarely see me without a pair of boots.

Paul Hedrick:
And a pearl snap shirt.

Mike Sarraille:
And a pearl snap shirt. So the mustache. We had to get there. I’m not going to let you go before we end here. Because I mean, in the seal teams, when we couldn’t grow beards, we’d have mustache contests and you would’ve won one of those contests. But rarely did the guys ever keep the mustache. I mean, you’ve had this mustache for how many years now?

Paul Hedrick:
Almost five.

Mike Sarraille:
Almost… Is it here to stay?

Paul Hedrick:
You know, it’s hard to answer that question. I can’t. That’s harder than the other questions you’re asking.

Mike Sarraille:
Well then, let me ask you this-

Paul Hedrick:
It’s here indefinitely, I’ll say that much.

Mike Sarraille:
Okay. I mean, did it affect your dating life at first? Because, I mean, I’m sure you had to come up with a whole new repertoire of opening lines and-

Paul Hedrick:
Ask my girlfriend, she’s here. No, I grew it for Halloween one year actually. I dressed as Freddie Mercury for Halloween, which is an interesting costume. But I had fun and then November rolled around. And then, yeah, was able to go on dates with people who somehow didn’t hate it and just kept it. And then at one point, I realized that the majority of our team had never seen me without one. And at that point I was like, “Well, I got to just keep it, then.”

Mike Sarraille:
Well, I know some of your team’s in the audience. Has there ever been wagers on the team hitting some number or accomplishing something where you would shave the mustache? Have you ever put it on the line?

Paul Hedrick:
I hope we do not do that. Because I don’t want my mustache determined… The fate of my mustache determined by our results. There has been a few wagers in our past. One of which resulted in Tecovas tattoo on my arm. But I’ve realized it’s not very productive for me to bet on or against the business. Because I’ll bet against it to hedge my odds and then I’ll lose. And I’ll bet on it, and you know, won’t be hedged. So I’ll just get tattoos when I want them, and I’ll shave my mustache when I want to. But I do like a good bet.

Mike Sarraille:
Who doesn’t? Who doesn’t? Before we get to our final questions. In the morning, when you put that pair of boots on, what does that mean to you? What’s that initial feeling?

Paul Hedrick:
Well, for me at this point, having worn them literally every day for seven, eight years and obviously a lot before that, it’s familiarity, it’s comfort. It’s whatever, the confidence to get through the day. It does sound a little cheesy, but it’s also a choice I’m making that it feels like I have more agency in that choice than a lot of other things. A pair of blue jeans, you kind of wear the same pair. I’m not just wearing a pair of shoes because it’s comfortable or it’s easy. I think when you… It puts a little more interest behind the choice. It puts a little more intention behind what you’re wearing. And I think one thing we’ve talked about internally when it comes to our brand and how we want people to feel, because really that’s ultimately what we’re selling. Is we’re selling a feeling. And great brands connect people to feelings and we connect people to confidence.
We connect people to, hopefully, a more genuine version of themselves. And I think our job is going to be to convince more people that at least some part of you, genuinely, that the boot will represent. And kind of trust us, you’ll put it on the first time and it’ll plop in and it’ll feel more comfortable than you probably expect, if you’ve never worn them before. And I mean, when you see people wear them the first time… And that’s not just our boots. Although I’m biased, obviously. You’ll see a smile on their face. They walk a little taller. That’s one of our taglines is walk taller. And it’s literally and figuratively. And I certainly feel that way every day. I don’t know. I think every now and then I’ll be on a vacation with a swimsuit and I won’t be wearing them. And I’m a little shorter. I’m a little… Doesn’t feel as good.

Mike Sarraille:
So, don’t wear them with swimming suits? Is that a recommendation?

Paul Hedrick:
No, I’m never going to say to not wear them. If shorts with cowboy boots takes off, we’re here for the trend. We’re here for it.

Mike Sarraille:
Underwear and cowboy boots ain’t a bad look. It can be sexy. It can be pulled off.

Paul Hedrick:
There’s a guy in Times Square, I think, who pulls that off.

Mike Sarraille:
Exactly. He does it well. He does it with pride and he walks taller. So Paul, I can’t thank you enough for joining us. But before we let you go, the point of this podcast is not just great conversation with high performers within a vast range of industries, but it’s to take very poignant, salient lessons learned and recommendations from you guys. So first question is, how is Paul going to judge whether he’s lived life well? What’s that metrics for you?

Paul Hedrick:
Yeah, it’s a great question. And the truth is, I’m in the process of answering that this year. It’s one of my goals for this year. And therapy actually, but I would say I don’t have a metrics driven approach today. I’ve been inspired to think more about it. Actually, I was listening to a podcast with Martin Short, the comedian was being interviewed and he of all people, I mean, I had no idea. He’s very thoughtful about how to measure his life. He has nine components of his life he thinks about. It’s self and health and wealth and career and family and he rates one out of 10. I don’t know if it’s once a month, or once a week or what. But I’m very much looking forward to being more thoughtful about that. I think mine will be a little different than his. I think mine is going to be more about balance, to be sure, but also impact on others.
And so I think the way I thought about it to date, which could use a lot of improvement is first, myself. I’ve got to be in a good spot. I got to be healthy. I got to… If I’m not working out every day, every morning. I’ve got a little Peloton and weight lifting routine. And if I don’t get that in the morning, I’m not going to feel good. And I know that about myself. If I’m drinking, if I go out to dinner too much, if I’m not being healthy. So it starts with that. Starts with healthy sleep. And then I think it starts with that. And then beyond that, it’s balance. And for me, again, the balance is in some ways easier. I’ve got a great team. Still no kids. Not married yet. So there’s different pressures in my life, but really the thing that I think I’m going to think more about, and that I want to add to that list that maybe not be as apparent in some of the other things I’ve seen, is impact.
And really, what impact do I want to have? And really today my impact has mostly been… It’s through Tecovas and that’s fine. It’s obviously consumed my life. And impacting people by creating a good product and giving them a great experience, that’s the impact that’s going to have to do for now for the most part. And creating jobs. You know, we’ve got 400 people in the US and probably just as many or more globally, who are really drawing an income because of Tecovas, which makes me proud. But I think the big thing I’m working on is focusing more on how you make people feel. And I think I’ve had to be a lot more intentional about that.

Mike Sarraille:
What are those one to three tenets? Those principles, those non-negotiables by which you live your life? Or at least try to stick to, as best as possible?

Paul Hedrick:
Yeah. Also a great question. I think it’s emblematic in some of our… It’s infused in our values and as an org, I think, in some ways. I think striving to do the right thing has been… Is our number one in value internally. And you know, in some ways it’s cheesy. It’s like, “Well, of course, every company wants to do the right thing.” You know, why would a company not have that as a value? But I do think, to me, I view it more as a call to not necessarily do the easy thing, but to do the right thing. And I think in work, it means having a growth mindset. And often. And I think that flows into to me, if I’m not growing, if you’re not growing, you’re not living. And growing means different things to different people. And it’ll be different things to me in my life, at different points in my life.2 I’m having to grow in very different ways than I’ve had to grow in before.
And then, yeah, honestly I’d say the third is… This is new. I think there’s do the right thing. It’s growth, mindset, it’s being centered. And what are your personal non-negotiables? And I have mine and mentioned a couple of them. And I think it’s similar again, to what I just said. Which is something I’ve had to work on. Which is you’re having an effect on people all the time, every day. And my biggest to-do list on my non-negotiables is to be a lot more thoughtful about how did people feel. I’ve thought a lot about, over the years, with how people feel when they put on a pair of boots and how they feel when they go on the website, and how they feel when they walk into one of our stores, and how are they greeted. And I’m now… That stuff is on a good track, to be honest, it doesn’t really need a lot of my input to figure out how to make that many people feel good in those ways. So, I’m a lot more focused on figuring out what that next thing is, which is tied into the growth mindset.

Mike Sarraille:
Well when you figure that out, let us know, and we’ll bring you back on the podcast.

Paul Hedrick:
All right. Give you a call.

Mike Sarraille:
Well, no, between how would you measure your life, trying to figure that out right now, from being more intentional, impactful, balance, how other people feel. I think, especially in the wake of COVID, we’re all struggling with those questions. And those are excellent answers. And I’m going to say strive to do the right thing, that’s not cheesy at all. It almost is a tagline that every company puts up on the wall. And there’s a famous company in Houston that had integrity, communication, service, and excellence on the wall and fell far short of the integrity, you know. That’s the Enrons of the world. They feel like they have to put that up. But the difference between those that actually mean it and follow through on it, is far and few between. And I know that you guys mean it and you’re living it. And it’s apparent in the brand.

Paul Hedrick:
I appreciate that.

Mike Sarraille:
Where is the best place for our listeners to go find your organization and make that first order of boots?

Paul Hedrick:
Well, we are ready for them. Best place is to go to our website, tecovas.com T-E-C-O-V-A-S. We do have 20 retail stores. If you live near one of our stores, I highly recommend going in. There’s complimentary beverages, boot shines, friendly faces, comfortable couches. And you don’t even have to buy anything to go. You can just go if you want. So, I think we’re in 11 states. So, increasingly probable that you live a close… A short drive from one.

Mike Sarraille:
And we recently visited your store, doing a Men’s Journal guide to Austin. And that is one hell of a customer experience. I mean, you guys have defined… You’ve made it remarkable as-

Paul Hedrick:
Oh, I love it. I’m glad you felt that way.

Mike Sarraille:
… per our previous conversations. Well, Paul. Thank you very much for joining us. And for all of you, this is the Men’s Journal Everyday Warrior podcast, and we will be back.
Thank you for joining us on this episode of the Men’s Journal Everyday Warrior podcast. Don’t forget to subscribe to the show and pick up a new issue of Men’s Journal Magazine. Men’s Journal Magazine has features on health and fitness, adventure and travel, style, and my favorite, the coolest gear hitting the market today. Until next time I’m Mike Sarraille, and thanks for listening.



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