Expensive, homely, out-of-style rainboots for kids? That idea is about as welcome as a rattlesnake at a square dance! Dakota Ridge owner Cheyenne Smith and her trusty sidekick COO Kylee Mecham said that dog won't hunt so the invention of cowboy rain boots was born. Keep reading to learn about our Business of the Month and what other surprises they have on the way!
UMLF: Hi Cheyenne, we’re excited to interview you as our January Business of the Month! Tell us about yourself.
Cheyenne: "Hi! So excited to be included! I am a mom first and foremost, but I also run a few businesses. Dakota Ridge being my passion project! I started my first business to try and find a way to supplement my income because I wanted to stay at home with my daughter instead of going back to the corporate game. I quickly realized I could freelance and make more than I was making at my corporate job."
UMLF: For those not in the loop on the coolest kid's boots in town, tell us about Dakota Ridge and why you got started.
Cheyenne: "I was working with all of these incredible startup e-commerce businesses and REALLY wanted to try to do it myself. I came up with the idea for DR because I could not for the life of me find rain boots that were cute and single color in my price range so I decided to search for cowboy boot rain boots but then realized quickly they didn’t exist for kids so decided to create them!"
UMLF: We see you are also launching adult cowboy rain boots, any other exciting products are readers should know about?
Cheyenne: "Yes! So we are currently crowdfunding here for our adult range, that has been our biggest ask by our customers so we are excited to kick those off! We are also working on new colors and designs hopefully to launch in 2024 as well as some partnerships with some brands you know and love! (shhh it’s a secret on who 😊)."
UMLF: Okay we will keep it on the hush-hush! We noticed that you have an awesome give-back with every purchase on your website, tell us more about that.
Cheyenne: "Yes! So we want to make sure that we are giving back to our local community and other communities that we touch with our sales. One major one is For the Kids! We love the team there and stand behind the mission they have of giving back to children who may not have the means for meals over the weekends away from school. We are also involved with the Western Sports Foundation and some of their events."
UMLF: Entrepreneurship most definitely has its highs and lows. Can you tell us about a challenge you faced as a small business owner and how you overcame it?
Cheyenne: "Not going to lie... I cried this morning haha! So, I think the biggest challenge for me is the constant expenditure of energy right now. We are a small startup with limited cash flow and it feels like we are constantly pushing forward through thick mud and gaining one step at a time but we are gaining momentum! I guess what I’m trying to say is that you work really hard and part of that is incredible and I wouldn’t want to do ANYTHING else.. but sometimes it feels like there is a lot of pushing with limited gain. I know it WILL come one day but some days it feels like I’m just exhausted.
Now that said I love everything about the lifestyle of entrepreneurship. The flexibility, and the time it has allowed me to take with my daughter. The thrill of when it actually works.. everything is worth trudging through the sludge to get there. I have learned so much and eventually will be able to run through that sludge!"
UMLF: We don't think there is a single entrepreneur out there who hasn't had some good cries so you are not alone! ❤️
UMLF: How do you feel like the Utah Microloan Fund has helped your business?
Cheyenne: "Without the UMLF I would have not been able to afford my second round of inventory or expand into big kid sizes. They are single-handedly responsible for believing in me and my company and giving me the chance to prove that this is going to work! They allowed me to grow last year with the faith they put in me and I am forever grateful for that!
UMLF: Lastly, what is one kid’s fashion trend you would love to go away in 2024?
Cheyenne: "I mean kids are going to be kids and I know they are SOOO easy to get on but I hate crocs haha."
UMLF: Haha we agree! Thanks Cheyenne! And deff keep us informed when the adult boots drop!
We have made the dreams of Utah small business owners a reality with advising and microloans since 1991. Are you next?
154 E Ford Ave Ste A, Salt Lake City, UT 84115
A CDFI CERTIFIED INSTITUTION
©2022 Utah Microloan Fund. All Rights Reserved.