With Cowgirl Cuties

Much as we often gripe about the way Texas is sometimes portrayed in the national eye, there are indeed some truths to the stereotypes tossed about when people discuss Texans. For instance? Yes, we all very much do love bluebonnets, barbed wire, pecan pie, football, corny dogs, margaritas, belt buckles and old cowboy boots.

And, fortunately, most of these things are super easy to find — all except for one, really. Good, old, broken-in cowboy boots are almost impossible to find. Sure, there's many a place where you can find bright and shiny new boots — even several places where you can find those boots with the teeny tiny skinny toes that curl up in the front — but very few places where you can find a good pair of broken in cowgirl, or boy, boots.

But now there's a company that solves this very problem. Cowgirl Cuties online was launched out in Rockwall with the sole purpose of providing the Dallas area with the best broken-in, vintage boots.

And, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. tomorrow, they'll be at the The Dallas Flea at South Side on Lamar with a huge selection of boots up for sale. Be prepared, though: It costs $5 just to get into this flea market. But, on the upside, you get a free Smart Water when you do pay your entrance fee. So, y'know, the glass is half full.

In anticipation of this event — and so we could find out more about her offerings that we so adore — we recently caught up with Cowgirl Cuties owner Lisa Gilliam as she prepped for the Flea.

When did you start Cowgirl Cuties?
We started Cowgirl Cuties on Labor Day in 2009. My daughter wanted an old pair of boots — not new. So we took a little adventure to find them at Broke-in-Boots in Minneola. It was love at first sight.

What was your original goal?
My original goal was to make a little extra money for my girls while they are in college and to do something fun. My daughters are “cuties.” My family roots are in farming and rodeo. We knew at our first craft sale that we were on to something. They sold like crazy. People were so happy. They would walk around then come back smiling and telling us “Thank you!” Now it's more than just a part-time gig. We get so much positive feedback. It really makes you appreciate the craftsmanship of the old boot-makers. We sell much more than we ever imagined. It takes hard work to keep up with the demand!

Do you have a favorite boot?
My personal favorite boots are the original Larry Mahan ones. He paid such attention to detail. The shape of the boots are very flattering to the female leg. He did a stitch pattern we call “the sea horse.” It's so iconic — I can spot them a mile away.

What do you look for when you buy boots?
I look at boots for the maker and the condition. There are some boots we just can't resell, so we make them into boot-top purses. I personally like the really funky patterns, like the ones I have from the Texas Brand Boot Company. They are so old, I glue them back together so I can keep wearing them! They have a Harlequin pattern on the tops. Texas Brand wasn't around long but they had a style all their own.

What can you tell me about the book you were photographed for?
I received a call from a photographer who was doing the cover of a book called BOOTSTRAPS about how women pull themselves up through hard times. It's by Lorene Burkhart. It just fits in with what we're doing. She wanted a pair of dusty Texas boots to represent the tough characters in her book. Good things like this happen all the time now. I never know what my email will bring! But our biggest positive feedback has been our repeat business. When someone tells you this is their third pair of our boots, that makes it all worthwhile.

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