By EMMA ELLARD • Photography by AMBER GILLESPIE
How Ben Bowen Is Giving New Life to His Family’s Brand
Before Ben Bowen ever ran a business, he tended horses, drove tractors, and worked the fields at his family farm. Little did the 28-year-old founder and owner of Double B Boot Company realize this would be the inspiration for the business venture he would establish in November of last year. And in record time, his boots are already making their way into Oxford Square storefronts, country music stages, and the closets of boot-wearers in the South and beyond.
Bowen is the fourth generation of Bowens at Double B Farms, the multifaceted agricultural operation owned by his parents, Mike and Terrie Bowen, in Randolph, Mississippi. Double B Farms is mostly a crop-farming operation, producing thousands of pounds of cotton, corn, and soybeans every season—but their business branches far beyond the fields. They also trade cattle, buy lumber, and have dealings in real estate and contracting. There are horse stables as well—Bowen is partial to the Tennessee Walking Horses—and a duck-hunting club.
Within and outside their many business ventures in the world of agriculture, Ben Bowen and family value all things southern: their deep family ties, their love for the land, their hunts, and horses, dogs, and dirtbikes.
It makes perfect sense, then, that one of Ben Bowen’s other great loves is boots.
“All the things I loved doing,” Bowen says, “whether it was working outside on the farm, riding horses, even today where I’m going into an office and working—or any time I’m dressed up, in a sport coat or suit or whatever—I’m wearing boots. It’s part of my everyday dress code.”
While in college, Bowen studied marketing and corporate relations, then worked in manufacturing upon graduation, and traveled across the globe—all while sporting a pair of boots, of course. He was seeking, as the rest of his business-minded family would, another endeavor to add to his belt. He found it when he realized he could turn something he loved and used daily into an opportunity.
Bowen estimates the idea for his boot company was conceptualized over three years before its actual establishment. He spent years developing his brand, searching for the right manufacturer, and ironing out his business model before he sold a single boot.
“I think a lot of times, when you’re starting your own business,” he says, “that it’s easy to get discouraged.” He was sure of his vision, but even for the most determined of individuals, doubt and frustration can be obstacles to success.
Even in the face of uncertainty, though, Bowen’s vision came to fruition. He credits three things: his own perseverance, the Lord’s provision, and—he emphasizes—the unfailing support of his family. The Bowen family is more invested in and supportive of Bowen’s company than he could’ve ever hoped, he says, from the kitchen table to the tables of markets, events, and expos.
What better name to give the brand, then, than that of its biggest supporters?
In November 2022, Double B Boot Company was born. Bowen calls it “an extension” of the family business that poured so deeply into him. Even the product itself is shaped by his family. “Every boot that I have is either named after a special person in my family or a special place that we spend time at,” explains Bowen.
Currently, eleven different designs are available, including the Michael Louis, the Terrie Lynn, the Kittahutty Dancer, and the best-selling Yocona River Roper. Each has its own unique, subtle look. Bowen, wearer of many hats—or, rather, boots—designs each style himself, and says he seeks to create a sense of timelessness in every boot he sells.
“People have worn boots forever,” he says. “It’s never going out of style. I feel like that’s one of the biggest goals for me, is designing something that doesn’t go out of style.”
Bowen’s classic designs have captured the attention of customers across the South and beyond—as well as some superstar supporters.
The Double B Boot Company Instagram page features several posts of country music phenomenon and worldwide chart-topper Morgan Wallen sporting Yocona River Ropers onstage. Other rising country music stars Ernest and Hardy, as well as LSU gymnast and social media icon Olivia Dunne (or @livvydunne, as her nearly seven million followers would know her), are patrons as well.
Bowen has remained humble. “I wouldn’t say I’m really a starstruck kind of person, but I do think it’s really cool! Especially when it’s people that I respect, and who really do a good job at what they do, whether it be Morgan Wallen, Ernest, Hardy, or Olivia.”
The outpouring of support has been incredible for a new business that’s only been up and running a few months. “I feel like it’s really evident how much people—in the South and everywhere—support businesses like mine.”
Bowen hopes to reach even more people as the boot company tackles the rest of its 2023 calendar, packed with appearances from horse shows to Mistletoe Marketplace in November.
They’re even hitting storefronts this fall: Oxford residents and visitors can look forward to finding Double B boots stocked at Hinton and Hinton on the Square. Bowen is working to place his boots in more shops in the near future.
For now, the boots are mostly sold online, and shoppers can choose either to have their orders shipped or to pick them up at the Double B Boot Company warehouse, located amid the sprawling acreage of Double B Farms. Although the warehouse is primarily a storage facility, Bowen says some go-getting shoppers bypass the online marketplace and purchase their boots in person.
“My dad’s had his farming brand for four generations,” Bowen says. “I’m very proud to, hopefully, be able to carry Double B Boot Company into that same category.”