Boot Barn's Brittney Phillips; Mullets should stay in the eighties!
A former Miss Rodeo California who placed in the top 10 at Miss Rodeo America, Brittney Phillips is the sponsorship coordinator for Boot Barn. We are excited to showcase Brittney’s ability to capitalize on opportunities to move her through her career trajectory with the success she has had, as well as a little bit more insight on the world of sponsorship for both contestants and rodeo committees, as well as the current influencer market.
Brittney started competing in pageants when she was 14 years old, winning her hometown title of Junior Miss Rodeo Ramona at the age of fifteen. She then worked her way through the San Diego rodeo pageantry circuit before taking a break out of high school. She took a variety of jobs including working for Iron Horse where she got her first look into the western fashion market. Shipping, order placing, invoicing, and some of the sponsorship program is where she first “dipped her toes in the water.”
The company closed its doors so she went back to the world of construction where, the Vice President of the construction company was married to the Vice President of Marketing for Boot Barn. Building an authentic relationship with Bob, he said, “I think you would really enjoy meeting my wife!”
He then proceeded to show her a picture of his wife with Florida Georgia Line. He had mentioned previously that she was involved with Boot Barn but she wasn’t sure on the capacity. Out of the blue, a year later, they called her and offered her a position, she moved to Orange County where she has been for four years now.
Building Authentic Relationships
Always be aware of how you interact with everyone.
Hear their stories, be interested in them.
Everyone has knowledge that you can learn from; enjoy speaking with them.
Be genuine - this world takes all types of kinds.
Podcast Bonus Story: “My first recollection of Rachel was dancing behind a curtain because I was so nervous.”
Boot Barn’s Partnership with the State Title
“I competed for the title of Miss Rodeo California twice,” Brittney says. “Hands down, the most difficult challenge for me to overcome was just finding a way to cope with the anxiety of doing something wrong or not going perfectly.”
Spending time with horse trainers and pageant coaches, she devoted every ounce of her being to competing. It was a moment of “this isn’t meant to be” after the first year. She felt, at the current time, that she had just moved, she was getting grounded in her job and career, working a lot of hours. The title of Miss Rodeo California didn’t feel like a good fit and the opportunity with Boot Barn was one that if she had walked away she would have a lot of “what if’s?”
“My boss and I were talking, she was actually the one who encouraged me to go back to compete for the title of Miss Rodeo California,” Brittney says with a laugh about her shock of them suggesting. This resulted in her compiling a calendar of her entire year for her boss before even turning in her application to compete. Everything had to be in line for that year, meaning that Brittney had to be willing to work crazy hours and days in order to fulfill all of her duties.
“You do what you have to do to make it work! I took my laptop everywhere. When you want something bad enough, you’ll figure it out as you go!”
When you love what you are doing, you are going to find a way to make it work and it’s not going to feel like work. Take your breaks and take care of your personal health.The job, the colleagues, and the company make it not feel like work which was an amazing opportunity. Brittney was also able to meet a lot of the committees that she had been working with for the past three years and be able to put a face with the name.
What is Boot Barn?
Boot Barn is the nation’s leader in western and work retailer with nearly 235 stores across the country in 32 states. They sponsor nearly 700 rodeos a year. They carry any of the major western brands that come to mind plus their in-house private labels. Each of them have a core line that has research with the right fit for the people riding or working on a ranch can appreciate. It’ll actually last through the test of time and handle anything that you throw at it.
An amazing company, they have a brand new creative team that they have built. They take the time to meet the people in the industry and talk with them to create and even use them in their photo shoots and marketing. Local cowboys that they would pay their entry fees and have them wear their products which created for some amazing shops.
There is a huge pride in the western industry and lifestyle; representing them has become a huge emphasis for the company. From work wear to high fashion to practical fashion, they’ve got everything that you need at Boot Barn!
Podcast Bonus Story: Modeling with real life cowboys.
Fashion has been one of the fastest growing sectors for them. It’s been fun to watch it grow over the past years as western fashion continues to grow. As a former rodeo queen, Brittney had some influence with the private label in the design room where they discussed the product they have been considering putting into stores. They were concerned about creating items that make the customer happy.
Different patterns and materials, plus designs will all be seen in their new items.
What have you learned?
It’s a lot of fun and work for Brittney, building authentic relationships with committees and associations across the country. You get a broader understanding of how much rodeo and the western industry gives back to their local communities. There isn’t many industries that have opportunities like this that gives back.
“It’s been truly astonishing to see how amazing it is!”
The Future: Teaser
We are consistently growing and one of those tasks for Brittney was to create a program for endorsing their in-house brands. They want their name to be more involved in the industry than it already is, especially when it comes to working around exclusivity agreements. Shyanne, the brand, has grown crazy in the past year especially and Cody James in the past two years has grown a lot as well. Keeping things running with their private label brands.
They are also looking to grow with 25 more stores in 2019 as well as two acquisitions of Drysdales and Lonestar. Moving forward with those growth goals are going to be huge. Business is steady and they are looking forward to 2019!
Marketing & Sponsorship
Influencers have taken on the last few years of the emphasis of social media having such a powerful stance in the realm of marketing. It can be a positive influence for companies but Boot Barn has only worked with a few individuals coming through working with their Public Relations and media team. Meeting new people and hearing their story, as well as hearing how they want to promote your brand.
They must be actively excited with their product. It’s not about getting free stuff, it’s about getting the product.
What are ways we can promote our private label brands? This is what Brittney has been tasked with this year. Currently they do wear-test sponsorships for product to be tested. They also work with college rodeo stars and even some young guns. Case by case, it’s not something they are fully prepared to do right now but it’s something in the near future that they will be more open too.
Professional Rodeo Sponsorship
We’ve always really based our sponsorship program on communities and local rodeos that are really supporting us. When people go to a rodeo they want to wear boots and get dressed up. We want to empower that western community. They have a great standing relationship with the PRCA, PBR and amateur rodeo associations. Event sponsorship is very important.
One of the biggest trends in the past few years is media presence. Television, photography, social media, etc. have all been important aspects. Other staple items that you see in rodeo that doesn’t ever change is signage at the event such as a bucking chute.
“We evaluate each one for what their strengths are and what they bring to us,” Brittney explains.
Brittney & Extracurricular
Gunner and Barrel Racing
Brittney picked up her horse almost by accident and talks more indepthly on the podcast about her barrel racing background and what her future goals are.
Miss Rodeo California Pageant Director
Recently name to the Miss Rodeo California board as the pageant director, Brittney discusses her hopeful changes to the pageant game and what contestants can gain from the process.
College Education - Bachelors Degree in Marketing
Taking the prerequisite courses to get her marketing classes, she’s excited to get her marketing degree.
Thank you to Brittney and Boot Barn for sharing all this amazing information! We are so excited to see the future of Boot Barn and go shopppppinggg!!!!
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