Tecovas Founder Paul Hedrick Started the Warby Parker of Cowboy Boots. Here's His Morning Routine, Favorite Business Book and To-Do List Hack The Austin-based entrepreneur created Western apparel brand Tecovas to disrupt a $3 billion industry.
Native Texan Paul Hedrick, like many entrepreneurs, landed on his million-dollar idea by creating a product he wanted but couldn't find. During a stint working in private equity in Greenwich, Connecticut, he took to wearing cowboy boots to work to stand out in a sea of loafers and feel closer to his Texas roots. But those boots cost around $600, and Hedrick was convinced the $3 billion Western boot industry could use some shaking up — why wasn't there someone cutting out the middlemen and selling well-priced boots straight to consumers? Tecovas was born.
That was 2014, and in the seven years since then, Hedrick has relocated to Austin, launched Tecovas, expanded into new product lines and opened retail outposts in Austin, Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio and, as of June, Aspen, Colorado. Along the way, he's picked up mentors (and Tecovas board members) including Bonobos founder Brian Spaly, Warby Parker co-founder Andy Hunt, YETI co-founder Roy Seiders and Nike alum Elliott Hill.
To learn more about Hedrick as a person — and find out what makes him so successful — read on for his morning routine, his favorite business book, favorite piece of leadership advice and more.
Do you have a morning routine?
I get up early and exercise pretty much every morning, typically from 6 to 7 a.m. I don't like to get up early, really, but I do think there is a huge mental and physical benefit to starting out the day with a big obstacle out of the way and endorphins flowing.
What's your favorite business book?
It's hard not to say Shoe Dog, which was so great and very relatable on the challenges of building a footwear brand. I think The Hard Thing About Hard Things has been the only business book that I've reread, however, since it's so helpful for a first-time CEO.
Favorite business podcast, TV show, movie or influencer?
The Tim Ferriss Show was just getting off the ground when I was in my first year of full-on entrepreneurship, pre-Tecovas launch. I loved the long-form, deeper interview format and took a bunch of notes along the way. Of course, I always gravitate toward interviews with other entrepreneurs.
Do you have any daily habits that make you a better leader?
I need to meditate more. I've been off and on, and I know I'm a more present, thoughtful teammate when it's on!
How much sleep do you get?
During the workweek, I am pretty religious about going to bed by 10 p.m., so I aim for seven to eight hours of sleep per night. When it dips below seven, my general happiness and output definitely suffer.
What's your work setup like?
I'm about half and half right now — two to three days at home and two to three days in the office. I'm a bachelor, so I just work at my dining room table (that's where the best light is for Zoom) when I'm at home. I go to the office for collaborative meetings and one-on-ones, which are great to have in person again.
Any favorite productivity hacks?
I'm not sure it qualifies as a hack, but I definitely think it's important to block time every week (if not every day) for catch-up and "unclogging" to-do lists. Having that time allows me to be more present in the times where I'm pretty much completely scheduled out to meet with other people.
What's your favorite way to decompress from work?
I love travel, I love live music, and I love great restaurants. The more I can combine them, the better. I think traveling is extremely important for developing perspective, even if it's for leisure. Getting out of one's environment will reduce the "echo chamber" effect and, for a consumer-oriented person, will expose you to new ideas and experiences.
What's the best piece of leadership advice you've ever been given?
That the "hire slow and fire fast" mindset can be applied outside of people and also to leadership and strategy. Leaders make tough decisions quickly and decisively, but it's important to be thoughtful and slowly build consensus for decisions related to strategy and growth. People will feel whiplash otherwise.