Business Bootstrapping

Bauer Undergraduate Student Applies Classroom Lessons to Family Business

Published on March 15, 2018

An undergraduate student at the C. T. Bauer College of Business is helping rodeo-goers in Cypress dress to impress with his western wear and boot shop.

Supply chain management junior Sergio Ramirez co-owns Lagarto Boots Western Wear with his mother, Laura Perez. Together, they’ve served the Cypress community for four years, providing boots and apparel for men, women and children.

At age 10, Ramirez came to the United States from Mexico with his family in the hopes of expanding the family trade, boot making.

“My parents were involved in the boot business before I was even born,” Ramirez said. “My father worked as a broker for different people who were exporting exotic leathers from all over the world. Eventually, he decided he wanted to begin manufacturing his own boots, and that is how the Lagarto brand was born.”

The family opened their shop in Cypress, just north of downtown Houston — the market was open there for western wear, Ramirez said. Even though he was involved at an early age in developing Lagarto Boots, Ramirez wasn’t always sure he’d one day run the place.

“I did not think I would want to do this as a career,” he said. “When I transferred to Bauer, my mindset completely changed. I am now truly embracing and accepting the fact that this is real, and I'm onto something. I am an entrepreneur who has his first big business in his hands at the age of 23.”

The lessons Ramirez is learning in Bauer College classrooms have already inspired him to continue to pursue his entrepreneurial dreams.

“I remember sitting in Jamie Belinne’s GENB (Connecting Bauer to Business) class my first semester, and she was talking about skydiving,” Ramirez said.

He added: “She said, ‘Sometimes, you just need somebody to push you out of the plane because you know you’re ready, but you just need that extra push.’ When she was saying that, tears just started coming down my face, and I felt that push inside me.”

Supply chain management junior Sergio Ramirez co-owns Lagarto Boots Western Wear with his mother, implementing the knowledge and skills he is learning at the Bauer College. Photo by Laila Ramirez.

Mentors Matter

In addition to mentorship from Assistant Dean for Career Services Jamie Belinne, Ramirez says he also learned important lessons from entrepreneurship Clinical Assistant Professor Carlos Ortega.

“I took Professor Ortega's Intro to Entrepreneurship class this semester, and it’s been my favorite class hands down in my college career. From his very first lecture, I knew he would be a key element on my journey to become a successful entrepreneur. Like all the professors at Bauer, he was more than willing to meet with me one-on-one, and helped me get back to my roots of being entrepreneurial in my business and driving it forward. I consider him a mentor and a friend, as he has not only helped me in my business, but has opened his heart and help guide me on this journey.”