To many, the word ‘big’ is synonymous with Texas. While this is certainly accurate in a geographical sense, Texans are also well known for their large, welcoming hearts. This is especially true of Carrie Ermence, the founder and CEO of the Texas- focused lifestyle brand Lone Star Roots.
The company’s story actually began 1000 miles north, inside a garage in snowy Illinois. In the early 2000s, while living in Chicago, Carrie and her husband Mark regularly gathered with family to discuss the possibility of starting their own business.
“What began with garage talk quickly moved to porch talk and basement talk and patio talk and pool talk,” says Carrie. “We just kept talking and felt like we really needed to make this idea a reality.”
Through these chats, ideas continued to grow and the couple decided to start a lifestyle brand. With a relocation to Texas in 2006 and an escape from the harsh Midwestern winters, the Ermences went south and never looked back.
“You know that saying, ‘I got here as fast as I could?’” says Carrie. “Texas instantly felt like home.”
As the family quickly settled in Frisco, they began immediately planting their roots. Carrie found work as a kindergarten and first grade school teacher, allowing her to assist, and rewardingly contribute to the local community.
“We are active in our community and lead by example,” says Carrie. “It is really important for us to give back to causes we believe in.”
But the idea of starting their own business was never far from their thoughts. 2016 saw the beginnings of a trademark process, and the first giant steps forward to achieving their long-held dream.
Carrie and Mark excitedly began to incorporate their values and Texas pride into their new venture, and in April
2020, Lone Star Roots was born!
“Inspired by the Texas spirit, we provide hip, comfortable, fun, stylish apparel and gift boxes,” says Carrie. “We have t-shirts, hats, coasters, tumblers — you name it!”
If the company name alone doesn’t give it away, the sheriff badge logo design (and its appropriate colors that match the flag of Texas) certainly adds to the Lone Star State feeling - which includes a map of the state marked with a heart.
“We designed our logo very intentionally to include the heart over Texas, and in particular the Dallas and Fort Worth area that quickly became our home,” says Mark.
This added touch is particularly meaningful to the family as the heart not only symbolizes their love for the state but also serves as a tribute to Carrie’s late father, who passed away in 2019 from heart disease.
“Heart disease prevention and cardiovascular health is very important to us, and we run a campaign through our website that donates directly to the American Heart Association in his memory,” says Carrie.
Like many others, the Ermences have seen plenty of highs and lows over the last 12 months, as running a business during a worldwide pandemic has come with its fair share of challenges.
Carrie saw this extra time at home as an opportunity to further discuss ideas and eventually came up with a game plan to partner with a local sports team.
“One day we sat down, looked at each other and decided to make it happen,” says Carrie.
As sports fans with a keen interest in their local basketball team (and minor league affiliate of the NBA’s
Dallas Mavericks), the Texas Legends, Carrie and Mark thought they had a clear starting point to engage their local community and leverage their passion for the Legends.
According to the couple, the interest was mutual, as the company recently announced an official collaboration with the Legends.
“We picked the name Lone Star Roots to not only represent the roots we’ve planted in Texas, but also the importance of rooting for your team and supporting local athletes,” says Mark.
So, what’s up next for Lone Star Roots? Spurred on by their partnership with the Texas Legends, the couple are discussing further collaborations with organizations that share their values.
“There are lots of exciting times ahead” says Mark. “We’ll continue developing the product line, continue growing the brand and continue to dream big” – Texas big!
The Ermences are always proud to say that their first product order came from Australia – solidifying the idea that no matter where a Texan moves, their roots always remain attached to home.
“To see our products being shipped across the country and the world is awesome,” says Mark. “We’re proud to give people the chance to have that little piece of Texas with them wherever they live.”
Originally published as part of the Schooley Mitchell spotlight series: https://www.schooleymitchell.com/mburlison/newsfeed-mburlison/lone-star-roots-2/