Earlier this year (2023), my lady and I took a trip out to Boot Barn, so I could find a new pair of cowboy boots. 

It’s been a few years since I’ve gotten a new pair, but… 

We’ve started two-stepping again, so boots are needed ;). 

It’s hard not to pick it up when you live in Texas for over a decade, less than 20 minutes from the stockyards. 


When I stepped into the Boot Barn… 

I fell in love with leather all over again. 

The fresh tanned-leather smell caressed my nose. George Strait’s warm voice sang Check Yes or No. It took me back to my childhood in Oregon, where I grew up at the base of Mt. Hood. Playing outside for hours on end. Exploring the nearby national forest (careful not to get too far away from the house). The pure freedom I felt running around (mostly barefoot) like a wild child, discovering all that nature had to offer, came rushing back to me. 

Since I’d moved to Colorado in 2016, I’d not felt this kind of nostalgia. 

It inspired me to start searching for leather pieces to add to my life, because I want to feel that warm rush of remembering more often. The smell of real leather does that for me. 

As I searched, I came across the brand we’re about to break down today.

Here’s the start of their origin story: 

“A hot wife, two fabulous kids, 14 Rwandan sons and daughters, a cool dog and a crooked federale sent to kill me kind of makes up the Saddleback story. And here’s how it happened.”

If you’ve got a pulse, enjoy adventure, and want to secretly hide tissues in your pocket for the tears you will inevitably cry, this brand’s story is one you want to check out. 


Saddleback Leather Co is on a mission to: 

  • Raise The Bar On Quality
  • Innovate
  • Create And Encourage Others To Create
  • Influence Businesses
  • Encourage Quality Everywhere
  • Make High Quality Leather Goods Attainable To The Average Person
  • Preserve The Craftsman’s Art
  • Bring Art Into Everyday Homes
  • Help People To Know God Better

You can find their full purpose and mission here.

I’m enamored with the heart and soul of this brand. How they use their brand to live their lives, instead of the other way around. So much of what this brand does is exactly WHO I want to help grow and spread their message. 

And, if you’re into leather, then give them a gander. 

Rules: The Email Muse

Each week, I venture through the marketing wilderness to find highly-effective ecommerce sales emails… and I shine a light on what made them work. 

My goal with this weekly tangle with the email muse is to teach you strategies and tactics you can use with your emails.  

Where do I find these magical electronic pieces of mail? My inbox, mostly, since I’m signed up to lists that I want to be on. I also take suggestions from readers who have a stellar email they’d like to share. 

Did you get an email recently that made you smile, your eyes tear up, or flat out gut punched you? I want to see it. 

Forward the email to me at (chris at threebeaconmarketing dot com) with a brief note about what you liked about it. If I choose to break it down, I’ll give you a shoutout and link back to your site. 

And no forwarding me your own emails. That’s the only rule. 


Let’s get started.

Subject Line: Direct Offer

This email is a direct offer related to the release of Saddleback Leather Co’s iPhone 14 cases. 

The reason I chose this email is because of the psychological triggers, humor, and personality all wrapped up in one email. 

You don’t have to “go stale” when you’re selling. 

In fact… 

The more conversational and human you are, the more sales, typically, you can make with email. 

People buy from people, not brands. 

This is why billion-dollar brands do their damndest to make their presence in the market feel natural, real, human. 

Take Coca-Cola. They ran a campaign for nearly a decade that put the names of their customers on their bottles. This effort was to elicit an emotional reaction when customers saw their own names (every single person’s favorite word to hear) OR when their customers saw the names of people they cared about. 

It’s emotional resonance that gets people to lean in and pay attention. 

Here’s the subject line for this email: 

This subject line gives a direct offer to the customer. 

If you were a part of the story leading up to this email, you would’ve been expecting this announcement about the new leather phone cases.

And that’s what I want to focus on, here: expectations. 

Where are you leading your email readers?

Expectation and anticipation are two powerful emotional states you can use to keep your customers engaged with your emails. 

If you can get your list to expect something and also anticipate what’s next, then you can keep them engaged.

Check this out: 

Global movie box office revenue reached $26 billion in 2022. In 2021, fiction book sales brought in more than $10 billion. These two industries are built on expectation and anticipation (the good stories, anyway).  

Expectation and anticipation are “energy collectors,” pent up energy that needs to release or be used for something. And if you send the right type of emails to build up this emotional energy in your customers, you can release it on your “buy now” button and get a tsunami of sales. 

Opening Line: The Before & After Image

Saddleback Leather Co. uses a classic direct response copywriting technique as their opening line. 

The “before & after.” 

This can come in a video, photo, text or a mix of all three. 

In this case, they use a photo with some copy: 

This before & after photo highlights the patina of the leather phone cases. This is the character and sheen that develops slowly on the surface of leather goods through time, regular use, and exposure to natural forces. This photo is a demonstration that their phone case is real leather, none of that pleather crap. 

Demonstration helps future pace the customer into using or enjoying the product. It’s also setting expectations for the customer before they buy. 

Expanding the Offer

Now that Saddleback Leather Co has your attention, they expand their offer to make it even more enticing. 

Here’s how they do it: 

They share that you can pre-order the cases. 

They also remind you that their cases are made with “100% full grain vegetable-tanned leather.” The real stuff! 

And they talk about the patina of the leather that you’ll experience, tying in the demonstration of the product from the before & after photo. 

At this point, I think copywriters would argue for more dimensionalization. Get your customer to imagine using the product and how it will make their lives better. 


I’d argue against that, seeing that this email is the “announcement” that the pre-order is now open. The prior emails that buildup to this “open cart” moment did all the selling needed. This email is about getting out of the way and letting your customers buy the damn thing.

There’s a time and place for selling, and there’s a time and place for getting out of the way.  

Scarcity & Urgency

What if you’ve got customers “on the fence” about purchasing a phone case?

Scarcity & urgency can get them off the fence and buying. 

Here’s how: 

Limited supply = scarcity & urgency. There’s only so many cases they’ve made and can ship out. 

Shipping in early March = pre order it now before we sell out. This leans more into FOMO than anything, but it adds to the urgency to buy now. 

Valentine’s Day Reminder

This email was sent out a week before Valentine’s day. 

Saddleback Leather Co tied the holiday into this announcement email, so they could add even more urgency to buy now. 

Here’s how: 

Valentine’s day was around the corner, so they shared the “last day” to buy so the case would arrive on or before Vday.

This is a great way to leverage holidays for your promotions or launches.

Most brands say, “We’re doing a sale because of the holiday.” 

Great brands tie the offer into why the customer should buy right now, not because it’s a holiday. 

What’s the difference?

Selling because it’s a holiday is brand focused. It’s about the brand offering a discount to make money. 

Selling because the customer wants to get something for their loved one is about the customer. 

This subtle shift in making it about the customer, their desires, motivations, fears, and reasons why, can capture even more sales. Why? Because it’s about the customer, not the brand.  

Product Categories: For Him and For Her

The focus on the customer continues. 

Saddleback Leather Co offers two product categories, if the customer doesn’t want to buy a phone case. 

They offer “for him” and “for her” categories: 

This compliments the last paragraph copy. 

Saddleback Leather Co is staying real with the customer and showing them that if they don’t want a phone case, but they do want a leather piece, they can get something else in time for Valentine’s day. 

This is what I like to call “backlist selling.” 

If a customer says no to your offer, and you have more to offer, find something that may fit their situation better.

Saddleback Leather Co has plenty of products to offer outside of phone cases.

This means that if someone does not want a phone case, the customer can get a jacket or bag instead.  

Personality & Humor

If you spend any time on Saddleback Leather Co’s email list, then you know their emails are not complete until you get a little humor and lighthearted banter.

Here it is:  

I laughed at this the first time I read it…because it’s true. 

While love is blind, the leather piece you get for yourself or your loved one will not go unnoticed by your friends and family. 

This speaks to one of the driving emotional forces to buy a high-quality leather piece: status. 

Saddleback Leather Co speaks to status as the customer’s desire, while also poking at the inevitable question customers will get from friends and family: “OMG, I love your bag, where did you get that?” 

Why is this a psychological trigger?

Because if you don’t like getting a compliment, even from a stranger, then you’re not human 😉.

Cupid – Even More Humor

Saddleback Leather Co stacks even more personality and humor in this email. 

Yes, it’s a “product cart open” email, but… 

They don’t let that stop them from being completely, 100% themselves. 

Check out this knee-slapper: 

This personality and humor gives the brand dimension. It helps the brand feel human to the customer. And as we mentioned earlier: 

People buy from people. 

The best part? Salvador Cueto Romero, an employee at the brand, created this painting. 

How neat is that!?

Loyal, repeat customers dig this type “look behind the brand.” 

And that wraps up this email breakdown from Saddleback Leather Co.

What You Learned

Here’s the tl;dr of what you learned today: 

  • Use a direct offer in the subject line to “get out of the way and sell the damn thing.” 
  • Leading up to an “open cart” email, you do all the selling. This email doesn’t need to sell hard.
  • Use the Before & After technique to demonstrate the product AND/OR results. 
  • Use scarcity & urgency (when real) to get people off the fence and buying. 
  • Set yourself apart during holidays by making the promotion about the customer, not the brand. 
  • Give your customers options, if they were to say “no” to your original offer with a “backlist offer.”
  • Personality and humor give your brand depth and offers an emotional connection to you customers. 
  • People buy from people because of emotion and justify that decision with logic afterwards.

Now what?

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