For almost 20 years, Randy Steele has been a part of Lucchese holding myriad roles through the years and today serves as our Director of Partnership Marketing. He has been in the boot business for 37 years and could state every fact there is to know about a boot. He said, “My love for history comes from a belief that our history serves as a roadmap for understanding who we are, how we got here, and can often tell us “why” things happened the way they did.”
Tell us about yourself. Where are you from?
I am 100% Texan! I was born in Waxahachie but moved to Lewisville just before my seventh birthday. I spent my collegiate years at Texas Tech University in Lubbock and have spent most of the past 30 years around Austin.
Why is your nickname “Real Deal” Randy Steele?
Decades ago, a friend of mine described me as a “what you see is what you get” kind of guy and said I’m always sincere and a straight shooter. He said, “you’re the real deal” and that nickname has followed me ever since. I am proud that it stands for my authenticity and integrity. That’s why Lucchese is the perfect place for me — we are authentic and trustworthy in all we do.
What did you grow up doing that led you to become the brand historian of Lucchese?
As long as I can remember, I’ve had a passion for all things western. I used watch cowboy movies and television shows like Gunsmoke and High Chaparral. I have always been a voracious reader with a special fondness of biographies and books that cover historical events, such as the Old West and the Civil Rights movement.
How did you learn so much about Lucchese’s history?
I’ve always had passion for the brand and wanted to learn more. Several years ago, I got lucky when I was assigned to research our brand history by Lucchese Bootmaker President Doug Kindy. That led me on a journey that has encompassed multiple visits to different states, museums, libraries, and ultimately having the opportunity to meet and become friends with members of the Lucchese family. The search to discover more of our history continues today, with myself and other members of the team who also love our company history.
Share with us a couple interesting facts about Lucchese.
Lucchese is more than just a brand or company name. It is the story of an Italian family who in emigrated from Italy to America in search of a better life. They found it by creating the Lucchese Bros. Boots & Shoes in 1883. One could say the Lucchese story is the classic story of the “American Dream.” Almost 140 years later, we have moved from the American dream to a premium American footwear brand.
January 5, 1961: Fifteen days before the U.S. Presidential Inauguration, Caroline Bouvier Kennedy (b. November 27, 1957), daughter of President-Elect John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, has her feet measured for a pair of Lucchese Boots, a gift from Vice-President-elect Lyndon Johnson. After the Kennedy family arrived in the White House, Caroline would be given a pony by LBJ. She named him Macaroni!
You work closely with the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders – Tell us about Lucchese’s connection with them.
Lucchese Bootmaker is the Official Boot of the Dallas Cowboys and the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. Our relationship with the Dallas Cowboys began in 1961 and continues today. We began making boots for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders in 2011. It’s an incredible honor to work with the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and to serve as DCC auditions judge. In addition, I work with some of the corporate partners of the Cowboys. Lucchese is very proud to call the Cowboys’ organization friends and business partners.
Can you tell us about the DCC’s “My Cause, My Boots” campaign?
The “My Cause, My Boots” is very special campaign created a few years back by the DCC and Lucchese. It is a takeoff of the NFL player’s “My Cause, My Cleats” platform. The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders are the only NFL cheer squad to participate at this level in this endeavor. If you look closely at the regular DCC boots, you will notice the pullstraps on the boots have a silver star. For one game each season, as part of the “My Cause, My Boots” platform, we create a special pair of DCC boots where the stars are different colors, representing the ribbon color of a charity or cause, selected to bring awareness to by that specific cheerleader. It is a very personal experience for the girls and the Cowboys do a tremendous job of promoting it. Some of the boots are auctioned off in fundraisers for that specific charity or cause. The entire campaign has been a wonderful success. Each season, the excitement for the “My Cause, My Boots” campaign is growing exponentially.
How did you find your passion for Lucchese boots?
I think passion is just a part of my DNA. I have always been passionate about cowboys and the old west. One of my favorite sounds in the whole world is the squeaking sound a saddle makes when you sit on it! I also love the artistry of bootmaking, and no one does it better than we do. I wish everyone could see the process of our artisans taking leather components and creating wearable art.
What’s your favorite pair of boots and why?
As you might imagine, I have several pairs of personal favorites. I am of the belief that your boots tell your story. In example, one of my favorite pairs are my Lucchese red caiman crocodile belly boots that have a Texas Tech logo and my graduation year on the front quarter. I simply cannot wear them without smiling!
I have never personally heard anyone tell a story about their favorite tennis shoes and or dress shoes and what they mean to them. But I have heard hundreds of stories from boot customers about how a certain pair of boots has been passed down through generations. One of the best parts of my job is assisting a customer in creating a pair of boots that fits perfectly and reflects their personality and style. Who knows, maybe that pair of boots becomes a family heirloom? The option to design your own boots is one of the differences that sets Lucchese apart from many other boot brands.
What do you feel every day when you put on your Lucchese boots?
I feel like Superman when he puts on his cape! Cowboy boots are part of my DNA, and I am always excited about wearing them. Whenever I attend an event or meet someone, I am always hoping they notice and ask me about my boots. That’s my opportunity to tell my story and share my love of Lucchese. More often than not, that conversation results in a sale or a friendship. If I am lucky, it’s both.