Bourbon & Boots was founded February 2012 in Little Rock, Arkansas as a peer-to-peer marketplace, facilitating commerce between southern artisans and interested southern consumers. During the first three years the company recognized consistent growth with over 500 artisans selling 7,000 products to over 50,000 customers. However, as evidenced by Etsy's massive operating losses, marketplaces are good for artisans but have not produced desirable returns for the investors of marketplace makers. The original Bourbon & Boots startup reached $1M in sales, but never achieved an operating profit.
In May of 2015 early-stage private equity firm xCelerate Capital purchased the assets of the Bourbon & Boots brand and invested in transforming the company from an artisan marketplace into a nationally recognizable brand that capitalizes on the international infatuation of the South by exporting the southern living experience through original content and uniquely southern commerce. The company has focused heavily on technology assets for data, analytics, and insight to allow for the aggressive and cost-effective acquisition of audience. The new Analytically Informed Social Engagement Lifestyle Brand business model worked and the company is realizing significant month-over-month profitable growth. Bourbon & Boots now offers over 500 private label items, especially designed and produced to capture the spirit of life in the South.
In August 2015 the company moved into a new and expanded Headquarters on Main Street in the Argenta Historic District in North Little Rock, AR, adjacent to the Arkansas Innovation Hub with whom it partners for new product and packaging development. The company shipped over 35,000 orders during Q4 of 2015.
In February 2016 the company purchased "Tales from the South", a Southern Lifestyle content generation and media distribution company. Tales from the South generates authentic southern content by providing the opportunity for Southerners from all walks of life to write and record their true life stories in front of a live audience to be aired on local, national and international radio, satellite radio, the TFS Youtube Channel, as well as distributed and preserved as podcasts. The shows are recorded live from the most interesting venues and historic cities across the deep south. "Tales from the South" by Bourbon & Boots currently reaches 51 Million listeners in 60 countries. The live video productions are being curated into a branded YouTube channel for consumption and distribution of authentic southern lifestyle video content.
During the first quarter of 2016 the company's direct to consumer international web store drew over 1.75 Million unique visitors and the company has a Facebook following of over 250,000 individuals as well as over 14,000 Twitter followers with a monthly audience reach of over 5 million individuals. By the end of second quarter of 2016 the company's monthly audience reach has topped 8 million individuals with over 300,000 Facebook followers and 21,000 Twitter followers.
Near term plans include the expansion of the company's logistics center, the addition of a light manufacturing and assembly center, and further development of product design and production capabilities.