A Chat With David Isham, president/CEO, National Roper’s Supply
© Profile of Success, Catalog Success magazine, September 2005
Catalog Success: When was the catalog established?
David Isham: We mailed our first catalog in the fall of 1994.
CS: Where are your headquarters?
Isham: Decatur, Texas, a small town about 30 miles from the Dallas/Ft.Worth metroplex.
CS: How do you describe your primary merchandise?
Isham: Saddles, tack and western wear for the serious equine enthusiast.
CS: What are your primary customer demographics?
Isham: Active horse people around the country. Our catalog is the official catalog of the U.S. Team Roping Association and the U.S. Calf Roping Association. Our catalog was designed originally to be the end-all catalog for active cowboys participating in rodeo type events around the country.
CS: What are your main sales channels?
Isham: I’ve got three retail stores. One in Decatur. One in Weatherford, Texas, and one in Granbury, Texas. We’re about 40 percent retail, 60 percent mail order. Within mail order, about 20 percent of the business comes in over the Web.
CS: How did the company/catalog get started?
Isham: I’ve had my main western store in Decatur since 1989. I’m an active, competing roper/cowboy at rodeos and ropings around the country. I’ve competed since I was 18 years old. I rodeod all through college and got my accounting degree. I went to work for one of the big accounting firms in Ft. Worth after I graduated, knowing that I ultimately wanted to have my own business within my lifestyle and hobby. That was a western lifestyle and equine-related business.
When I was 24, the little western store that had existed for 15 years in Decatur went up for sale. It was owned by the parents of some friends of mine. I was able to buy that little retail store. I moved it to a larger location that we redid in Decatur. It was a really big retail store in a pretty small town. It had and continued to develop a great saddle, tack and rope department within the store, because that’s where my interests were. People that would come through my store from out of town would always say, “I wish we had something like this in my hometown.” I knew from being in the industry that there wasn’t anything like my store in most parts of the country. So I started running mail order ads.