Nothing starts off a good conversation like a beautiful pair of cowboy boots. Who does not want to hear someone say, “I love your boots; where’d you get them?” The answer is now Fraulein Boot Company! When San Antonio sisters Sarah Caruth and Margaret Walker found themselves with time to spare during the pandemic, they realized that women needed more fashionable cowboy boots and that they would be the ones to make this happen.
Caruth lost her job during the COVID-19 pandemic, and her husband encouraged her to start her own company. So in the spring of 2021, she asked her sister Margaret to join her. Walker’s son was going to college soon, so she had time to take on something new.
The sisters create all of the styles and love incorporating symbols like daisies and butterflies, a nod to vintage cowboy boot designs. The colors are also bright and beautiful, honoring the past but with a modern flair, like their classic turquoise. They also have fun choosing new emblems inspired by United States fauna, such as the roadrunner. Walker and Caruth pick the highest quality of leather because the feel of the boot is essential.
Walker and Caruth design the boots and continually bounce ideas off of each other, generally agreeing! As sisters just three years apart, the business has grown their relationship, and they are so glad that they embarked on this venture together. Caruth likes to say that they “share a brain,” which is helpful when collaborating on design ideas in their collective spiral notebooks.
The boots are designed and sold in Texas and elsewhere in the United States. After an extensive search, Fraulein Boot Company found a great manufacturing partner in Rios of Mercedes, a 160-year-old family-owned bootmaker from Mercedes, Texas, that helps bring their visions to life. When it came time to name the company, the founders were inspired by the 1950s song Fraulein, written by Lawton Williams, and sung by Bobby Helms. It was a favorite of their father’s, who passed away when the women were both teenagers, and seemed like the perfect fit. Fraulein was the first song played at both women’s weddings.
When they were considering a name for the company, Walker heard the song one day in her car, and it became an obvious choice to her. Caruth agreed. Their dad never wore dress shoes, favoring cowboy boots, running shoes, and flip-flops, making the company an homage to him and his love for boots.
In October 2021, the boots were sold at the antiques show in Round Top. The women brought samples in every size for potential customers to try on and place preorders. The company now has plenty of inventory to sell at the Round Top antiques shows going forward without the need for preordering.
It was imperative to the founders for the business to give back. They support Farm Aid and remember the concerts put on when they were younger. The sisters are big fans of Willie Nelson, one of the fundraiser’s founders, and love to listen to country music in general. Walker shares that they both feel there is no “better way to give back than to the farmers who grow our food.”
Word is spreading about their boots, whether through social media or connections made as a result of common interests. At a recent Farm Aid show that the sisters attended, Margo Price performed and they were “emboldened by her woman power, her ‘hear me roar’ mentality,” as Caruth put it. After gifting Price a pair of their boots, the sisters are proud to know that she now wears the boots on tour. Carly Pearce, a CMA new female artist, has been spotted wearing Fraulein boots as well.
Fraulein Boot Company sells its boots and vintage belts, logo caps, and bandanas online and at pop-ups and retailers across the country. But nothing compares to meeting customers face to face themselves. To these entrepreneurial sisters, that is where the magic really happens. Getting to talk to people in person and see them trying on the boots means so much.
Caruth and Walker set out to offer more cowboy boot options for women. They are successfully doing that, while redefining what fashion for strong Texas women can look like along the way.