There are people who bristle when they hear a Texan, native or transplant, mutter that slightly cocky adage that says, “Texas is a state of mind.” What does it even mean? Well, in the Texas fashion world, it’s often referred to as “Texas Boho.” It means it’s perfectly fine to wear a mink coat and cowboy boots to antique fairs. Or maybe butt-hugging jeans set against wrists, fingers, and ears dripping with diamonds. You don’t need to live on a ranch or ride horses to carry off a Western-style. Last year, the prestigious magazine Glamour made sure its readership understood the legitimacy of the long-lasting movement when it wrote that it is “alive and well.”
It’s that open “state of mind” interpretation that Tyler Hawkins is encapsulating successfully in The Ranch Arrangement in Denton.
Hawkins is six months into his ownership of The Ranch Arrangement, a 6,000 square foot store that focused on rustic ranch furniture with a spotlight on custom leather sofas, chairs, and accent pieces at the time of his takeover. The 35-year-old, single, former truck-driving oil-field-worker-turned-entrepreneur liked what was in the store, but he entered the venture with a specific plan.
“I especially love the leather,” he said, “and the fact we can customize it just about any way our clients prefer. I want to keep some of the rustic edges, but I also want to do some redefining of the word ‘west’ or ‘western.’”
West/western, like Texas, is a permanently flexible state-of-mind.
“I want to show people it can be rustic like it was in those early days, but it can also be a smooth, legitimate part of the present and the future,” Hawkins explained. “The store’s configuration is perfect for doing that because it has several spaces-within-a-space. I’ve made those into separate vignettes, allowing customers to see and to experience how the rustic can have a natural flow into transitional, or even modern/contemporary. It actually gives life to that ‘state of mind’ concept.”
Prior to Hawkins’ rearranging and redefining, the store’s generous inventory came off as cluttered with a dose of hodgepodge. It was difficult to showcase particular items. That’s changed, especially with important accessories such as rugs.
“We now have one room devoted to rugs,” Hawkins explained. “We have one rack of 8’ x 10’ rugs and another of 5’ x 7’. I’ve made a concentrated effort to offer a variety of quality, style, and design. The goal is to keep my established clientele of 50-year-olds-and-up satisfied, while also drawing in newer and younger customers. To do that, I’ve stocked rugs from machine-made to hand-knotted. We have a number of styles, including a lot of distinctive southwestern motifs.”
Hawkins realized the importance of promotion when he signed the papers for The Ranch Arrangement. One of the first projects he launched was a complete reworking of the store’s website.
“I intend to include more and more products online,” he explained, “and to encourage more online purchasing. A person recognizes our quality as soon as he or she visits the store. That establishes a comfort level for future online buying. I’m also finding that most people check the website before making their first visit. So, there’s a complete circle.”
By December 1, Hawkins plans to have a lot of new, carefully curated leather furniture in the store.
“The feel, the smell, and the overall character and integrity of leather will always be my first love,” he admits. “It’s been there since I was a kid. We have only high-quality leather and it’s all made in the USA. I want people to come in and touch it, run their hands over it, sit on it. I’ll have a lot of traditional styles, as well as a broad latitude for customization.
“To me, leather offers the perfect framework for that state-of-mind we talked about. It’s able to make a smooth, seamless transition from the past into the present as well as the future.”