Texas woman’s path to boot-making passed through USMC, Harvard
Texas native Sarah Ford joined the U.S. Marine Corps, deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and graduated from Harvard before launching Ranch Road Boots, a custom online boot-making business in her hometown of San Angelo.
“I have a unique path and we celebrate that as we do with our customers who all do really cool things in life,” Ford said.
Ford grew up in San Angelo and attended the University of Texas before joining the Marine Corps in June of 2001, just months before the 9/11 attacks.
“I really value my time in the Marine Corps,” Ford said, adding that she learned more in combat than at Harvard.
“I feel like I got more out of the Marine Corps than it got out of me.”
Relationships with Harvard graduates who served with her led her to apply to the Harvard Business School.
After two tours of duty in Iraq she was accepted but her schooling on the prestigious campus was interrupted when she was called to Afghanistan.
“It was amazing because I learned so much in such a short amount of time,” the veteran said.
Once Sarah retired from the military and graduated from Harvard she knew she wanted to return to her roots.
“My grandfather was a cowboy in the 30s in San Angelo, so he inspired at an early age my love for boots and he was a total character,” she said.
In 2012, Sarah founded Ranch Road Boots with a mission of serving fellow veterans every step of the way.
Her creations are made in Almanza, Spain.
More than 250 steps and about 48 hours are required to craft each pair.
Proceeds from every Ranch Road Boots purchase are donated to the Injured Marines Semper Fi Fund.
“Giving back has always been a part of it and we have even bigger plans to do more in that as we grow,” Ford said.
The veteran also brings unique perspective to the boot business and has created boots for veterans who are amputees.
“We’ve been able to modify our boots so amputees can get them on prosthesis and so veterans and non-veterans alike have reached out to us to help with that process and it's something that as we grow to be able to do in a more impactful way.”
Ranch Road Boots will be running a sale starting at noon on Thanksgiving and running through Black Friday during which all boots will be 30 percent off.