Lisa Sorrell, Founder Sorrell Custom Boots

Lisa Sorrell founded Sorrell Custom Boots because she loves working with her hands. She’s passed on her passion for creating her award-winning boots to her 15-year-old daughter, who runs her own business designing ladies shoes (What a perk being related to someone in this family). Sorrell’s biggest regret? Trying to keep up with the guys. She shared her experiences on our website. If you’ve started a business, share you story here .

Reason for starting: I love craft and the feeling of empowerment that comes from the ability to make something. Cowboy boots are a historic and iconic American craft. Best of all, they provide a canvas for self-expression, both for the client and the maker. I started my own business for the satisfaction of providing quality footwear that fits, and the joy that comes from learning a craft that’s been handed down through generations of other craftsmen.

Biggest success: A few years ago I taught a ladies shoemaking class. I needed one more student and my 12 year old daughter agreed to take the class. She discovered a passion for shoemaking and now at 15 she has a successful business making ladies shoes. Passing along my craft and seeing her working in my shop is my greatest success.

Biggest challenge: Although it’s easy to find students and apprentices who want to learn and start their own business, it’s harder to find a skilled craftsman who wants to work for someone else. All of my boots are made by me alone. My biggest challenge is making sure I have time to build boots while also teaching students, doing all of my own business paperwork, spending time with my family, and traveling as I speak, teach, demonstrate and display at events.

The one thing you would do differently: If I could do one thing differently I wouldn’t push myself so hard. This is a male-dominated craft and when I started I felt the need to prove that I could work just as hard and build as many boots as a man. Now I know that everyone works at their own pace and skill level–gender is unimportant. I wish I’d slowed down, been kinder to my body and enjoyed the journey of craft.