It was only a matter of time before local Austin favorite Helm Boots landed in our Brand Spotlight series. You’ve probably noticed by now that we’re big fans of these guys. We love how their designs feature slightly dressier silhouettes than your typical work boot, but are still able to pair just as well with denim as they are with slacks for a more polished look.
Since their launch in 2009, Helm’s line of versatile boots has gained a loyal following, largely due to owner Joshua Bingaman’s commitment to moving all manufacturing back to the U.S. after a stint in Europe. We were able to grab a cup of coffee recently to learn a little more about him and his ideas for the brand. Hope you enjoy!
What is home to you?
Joshua: Our big, old historical house in Bastrop. I feel safe and at peace there. My wife and kids bring me balance and security. I’m able to step out of the chaos when I’m home with them.
How does your environment impact your craft?
Joshua: It’s good for me to be somewhere that I don’t get distracted, which is almost impossible as I am surrounded by people all day. I’ve done it a few times before in one of those silent room cubicles at the library, but I got claustrophobic!
How did you get your start? Who are your mentors?
Joshua: The first time I’d say I got my start was when I moved to L.A. as a teenager. That was the first time I dropped everything, stepped out and risked it all. My friend, who was also my producer and manager, gave me the courage to pursue art and music at all costs. The second time was the shoe store I opened in San Francisco with my brother. He was the conduit in me jumping off the cliff that time. The third and fourth time were opening Progress Coffee, and then the coffee roaster in Austin. And now, HELM. This all to say that I got my start by just doing what most people don’t and risking it all to do what I wanted to do; to pursue what was in my heart- to follow my passion(s).
I’ve had a few different mentors in my life at different times, but I’ve always looked up to my Aunt Kay because she’s who taught me that even if what you do doesn’t make sense in terms of what seems “sensible” or “acceptable” to the average crowd, that it really just doesn’t matter. Do it anyway.
How would you describe your personal style?
Joshua: Black, navy, and sometimes grey.
House is burning down, what’s the one item you grab?
Joshua: Nothing. Let it burn.
If we were in your hometown for one day, how should we spend it?
Joshua: Go to a THUNDER game.
Where is HELM headed next? What new projects or products can we look forward to?
Joshua: Focusing more on the design-oriented European roots of the brand and versatile wearability- all while sourced made in the U.S. This includes more shoes (not just boots) and a larger women’s selection. Proving that a high-end luxury design brand can be approachable, be American made and come out of Austin, Texas.