Lizzie Means Duplantis and Sarah Means

Miron Crosby

Western boots are a staple in most native Texans’ closets, but the trend truly became ubiquitous in more recent years thanks to the up and coming brand Miron Crosby. Lizzie Means Duplantis and Sarah Means, sisters and cofounders behind the brand, have spun a successful business by combining footwear know-how, Wallstreet and law school acumen, and a family-owned factory to build a brand that is making boots THE investment footwear piece for every cool girl in town. The sisters have a natural easiness about them, seamlessly juggling busy personal lives and a growing company, while still finding time to enjoy life (and some cocktails!) in the midst of it all. We were so grateful to be able to hear more about the Miron Crosby story with these inspiring entrepreneurs this month.

What did you both do before founding Miron Crosby and talk a bit about how those experiences informed what you do today.

LMD: Following ten years in New York working in finance, I moved back to Dallas when Seth and I got serious about starting a family. I had always wanted to start and run my own business, and I cut my teeth by founding a furniture décor and rental business called Perch, which I ran for four years. I once listened to an interview about how entrepreneurs are usually focused on one of three areas: starting a business, maintaining and growing a business, or exiting a business, and truth be told, now that I’ve founded two companies, I really love the excitement and the project of starting something. 

MC is especially interesting as it is so multi-faceted, and I find that I still have many opportunities to stretch that entrepreneurial muscle when we tackle big new projects and collaborations, which is my favorite part. 

SAM: After college, I went to work at Loeffler Randall in New York City.  Working in fashion was my dream come true, and my tenure at LR opened my eyes to so many aspects of the footwear industry – from design to production to e-commerce to public relations, and everything in between. Deep down, I knew my heart was in fashion, but when I decided I was homesick for Texas, I thought my opportunities to work at a company like LR would be limited, so I decided to go to grad school. I did go to law school – in fact, we launched Miron Crosby while I was in my second year, and I graduated and passed the bar in 2018. Looking back, maybe I wasn’t crazy – the job I wanted didn’t exist, so eventually I talked my sister into creating it with me. 

What is the first thing you both did when you decided to launch the company? Was it coming up with a name? Was it moving back to Texas? Talk about month one in starting this company.

LMD: I called my husband’s secretary and made an appointment to go see him at his office.  He knew that I dreamed of launching Miron Crosby, but I don’t think realized how serious I was. I wanted to have his attention and be intentional in walking through the model I’d put together to illustrate the economics of the business and how I imagined its trajectory. I wanted to be intentional and serious in approaching this conversation and I didn’t want for it to be flippant over a glass of wine after we’d put our kids to bed. He has always been really supportive, and I’m so grateful, but ever the practical one, he was adamant that running two businesses would be draining, so he helped me devise a plan to sell Perch, and with its successful exit, I seeded Miron Crosby. 

SAM: We were so confident in our idea, we first asked our family-owned factory to make our private label, then second we signed a lease at Highland Park Village – literally before we even had set up our business entity! 

Given that your boots are handmade, how do you manage growth and keeping up with demand? Have you made any changes to the actual process of crafting your boots? (More employees? More warehouses?) 

As we are in the thick of year three, the timing of this question is interesting. As we have scaled, we have more demand than we do inventory. We are committed to small-batch, artisanal, domestic production, and so we’ve had to be nimble and creative in approaching ways to speed up our production process without tampering with the time-honored production methods our artisans carry on. 

We love that your boots are named after people in your lives. Talk a bit about what the process is like from inspiration to execution of designing a boot in homage to someone.

We approach this backwards – the focus is always on the boot design first, then we let the design dictate its namesake. This sounds nonsensical, but it prohibits us from pigeonholing our design to reflect someone specific. For every collection, we start with inspiration – from magazine tears, old coffee table books, vintage postcards, textiles, street style, etc. – and then synthesize and organize to find patterns that inevitably emerge. This dictates the inspiration for the collection, then only once we’ve narrowed our lineplan and decided on colorways, we allow ourselves to begin naming the boots. We’re both super sentimental, so this is a special treat for us at the end of the design process. We keep a running list of people we feel have been supportive and influential in our business and in our lives, and we pluck from that list. 

In fact, one of our favorite boots from our spring collection is named for Cristina. The floating floral motif and vibrant colors reminded us of her and her contagious positivity. 

What’s been the most surprising thing about entrepreneurship? Any surprises that you would not have expected when starting out on this journey?

LMD: There is an emerging and strong group of female entrepreneurs in Dallas of which I’ve loved becoming a part. I love identifying with them through business and motherhood, and I am so grateful for how we champion one other.  Cristina, for example, has become a dear friend, and it’s so nice to mutually bounce ideas and ask for insight with friends experiencing similar challenges. 

SAM: It’s not a surprise, I suppose, but when you own your own business, it is all-consuming. I think about it constantly, I find myself weaving it into conversations, and in ways I has become the lens through which I see my life. I feel beholden to my employees, to the artisans at our factory, and to our customers in a way that is a new and different kind of pressure, which is exciting and energizing if, at times, scary. 

In fact, one of our favorite boots from our spring collection is named for Cristina. The floating floral motif and vibrant colors reminded us of her and her contagious positivity.

How do you divide the day-to-day duties of the business between the two of you? What are your respective strengths and weaknesses?

LMD: Thankfully, we have really different skillsets and interests, so naturally the duties of the business have fallen to one or the other of us. I handle the brass tacks of the business – finances, HR, and logistics, etc. 

SAM: We agreed early on that delineating our roles would allow us both to have autonomy over our work, though we are naturally very collaborative. I handle production and creative. 

What are you working on for Fall/Winter 2020?

We design the boots we wish we had in our closets, and right now we’re both drawn towards more minimal designs with a luxe touch – an incredible python skin, a hand-tied leather tassel, a subtle double racing stripe detail on the scallop – something special and strong, but unobtrusive. 

Why was 2017 the right time to start this company? And how did you both end up back in Dallas? Was it necessitated by the launch of the business or were you both planning to end up here?

LMD: Like so many things in life, whether it be marriage or changing careers, going back to school, or having children, rarely is there an obvious perfect time. Rather, you jump in with both feet and work hard. We decided the time was right based on the hole in the market, and launched at what was actually a pretty terrible time to do so in our personal lives – I was 5 months pregnant with my third child, Fields, and Sarah was in her second year of law school living in another city. 

Where do you see Miron Crosby 5 years from now?

As a staple in every cool girl’s closet in the country! 

Describe a typical day in the life for each of you…from getting up to going to sleep.

LMD: I have four children, so my days are rarely typical! I try to get up before them to have coffee with my husband, and then it’s a flurry of pancake batter, tying tennis shoes and We Sing songs. I love to get in a quick run whenever possible, and then it’s usually a shower and into the studio or our office to get in some work. I typically leave early in the afternoons for basketball practice, play dates and carpool pick-up. I love to spend my evenings in the backyard with friends and their kids and sancerre. Our husband jokes our house is like Grand Central Station, and in the evenings after bath and homework, I love putting on movies from my childhood and snuggling with everybody on the couch or in my bed before bedtime stories and prayers. 

SAM: I try to start the day with a run, then I love to meet Lizzie early for a hot tea so we can be social and catch up on our lives before we dive into a workday. We both try to spend some portion of the day in the studio, then we generally regroup at our office for calls, design sessions or meetings. After work, it varies, but I’m typically pretty social. On the odd nights I’m home, I love to cook for friends. 

Like so many things in life, whether it be marriage or changing careers, going back to school, or having children, rarely is there an obvious perfect time. Rather, you jump in with both feet and work hard.

Favorite food:

LMD: My best friend’s homemade lasagna, my brother’s homemade tortillas, and a newfound love (since I married a New Orleans boy), Mardi Gras king cake. 

SAM: Rosa’s Café bean and cheese burritos – if you’re familiar with west Texas, you know what I’m talking about.

Finish this sentence – I like to spend a typical Friday night….

LMD: Typical Friday nights usually involve the kids having friends over to make pizzas. Once we’ve gotten everyone off to bed, Seth and I love to scoot out and canoodle at the Mansion bar. 

SAM: Inevitably find me at the Javier’s Cigar Bar for an espresso martini.

Favorite west Texas activity:

LMD:  I love early morning cattle works when we ride out early and watch the sun come up over the Davis mountains horseback. 

SAM: Hikes followed by ranch water sundowners.

Beauty product you can’t live without:

LMD: It drives Sarah crazy, but I’m stuck in my ways – I use Cetaphil and Pond’s and most of my makeup is still Clinique 
SAM: I recently discovered the BeautyBio R45 Retinol Booster, and it’s game changer. 

Cats or dogs (and why!)

We’re both going to go DOGS on this one! We grew up around mean barn cats on the ranch, so we’re strictly dog people!