Customer Feature: Allie Falcon
What’s now become a leather goods and t-shirt business was originally a marketing and graphic design business. Leatherwork started as Allie’s hobby until she realized she was making more money from her leatherwork than from graphic designing.
“I always joke I’m not allowed to have hobbies, because they always turn into jobs”
As Allie was prepping for the National Finals Rodeo (the biggest show she had ever participated in) she looked at her almost bare booth and thought there had to be more. Driving home one night, Allie’s husband suggested making t-shirts. Not long after Allie began developing a t-shirt line to compliment her style. Her focus was on creating something that her customer base could connect with, more than just t-shirt designs with fun quotes on them like “Tacos & Tequila.”
“I just didn’t see anything in the western market that was art on its own. There were quotes on everything. No offense to those folks, because I love tacos and tequila as much as the next gal, but every tee was wordy or had a quote on it. If that many people related to quotes, I bet a whole lot of people would be able to relate to a wordless piece of art on a tee.”
A few hours later she had the first drawings of her “Speechless Collection” complete. Allie wanted her collection to represent every western woman. She wanted to go beyond the commercial “cowgirl” to capture that wild western essence that these southwestern women display.
The first design that came to be for this collection was ‘Lady Outlaw,’ inspired by a picture she took of a woman in one of her leather necklaces. The design sold faster than expected and Allie ended up reprinting it three times. Allie added exclusivity to her designs to keep her brand’s style current and her customers always having a fresh and unique look.
“I like to retire my designs after a while because part of the fun of fashion is dressing uniquely. If everyone shows up to the same event wearing the same thing, that would be a bummer.”
Allie’s t-shirt business stemmed from her passion for leatherwork. Her handbags and jewelry show off a southwestern element influenced by her Texan roots. Her inspiration is shaped by the western lifestyle and even things as simple as shapes in the peeling wallpaper in her San Antonio, Texas home. Allie’s designs are her essence in its purest form.
To this day Allie is at home with her ranch lifestyle. “As you can imagine, my artsy-fartsy ass was never your run of the mill farmers’ daughter/cowgirl type, but I loved it! Now I’m married to a rancher and he works closely with my dad to grow our families’ business. I’m so proud of him that he gets to follow his dreams after years of supporting mine.”
Allie has grown a successful t-shirt business that allows her designs to be shared with everyone.
“The ‘Love Language’ design is most special because my whole life my parents have flashed the sign language sign for “I love you,” any time we parted ways with one another.”
Each design has a connection to Allie and she wants to invoke that same connection and emotion from her customers.
When it comes to choosing blank garments, Allie is a Bella + Canvas fan. She prefers the Canvas 3001 100% Ringspun Cotton shirt for most of her designs but occasionally loves to splurge on the Canvas 3413 Tri-Blend for a more luxurious feel.
Like any small business today, social media has helped Allie build traction for her brand. Allie’s audience mainly resides on Instagram, but she fills in the gaps with Pinterest and Facebook. However, Allie doesn’t just limit her brand to social media alone. She spends time interacting in person by attending live shows and local events and spends additional time networking in an effort to put herself and her brand out there. Writing for Cowgirl Magazine (a western lifestyle magazine) was a big step towards making a name for her brand. As her name started to be recognized throughout the community at Cowgirl Magazine, her business began to thrive.
Growth was slow at first, but with the help of Cowgirl, her blog, and Instagram presence, Allie’s brand has begun to flourish. “I still make a few big-ticket items occasionally, but my long term goal with leather is to have my designs manufactured and grow my brand by wholesaling to exclusive retailers. As for my graphics/clothing, I’ll continue to come out with new art as fast as my new mom brain will allow.” Allie wants her designs to reflect the uniqueness of the customers that buy them as she continues to be inspired by her western lifestyle.
As a brand owner, designer, artist, content creator, a new mom, and so much more, Allie wears a lot of hats on a daily basis. She offers this advice to others looking to start their brand:
“Be yourself. Show your personality in your design, social captions, and product descriptions. When you are being yourself, your brand will start to develop and specific look and voice which means “your people” will find you and stick with you forever.”
“Be your biggest advocate. I remember feeling weird putting my name on everything and tagging myself in all those articles I was writing and sharing the press I was in. It can feel a little like, “Hey, look what I did! See how cool I am?” But honey, ain’t no one going to do that stuff for you in the beginning! LOL!”
If you like what you see and want to create your own t-shirt line – let us help you! Click here to get started with Threadbird.