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The Agriculturist

Soule Searching

Sarah Calhoun

Soule Searching

Amy Moorhouse was having her morning cup of coffee at her computer desk when she got the call. Gypsy Soule"s marketing director called to inform Moorhouse that Gypsy Soule"s website had crashed. However, it was not due to a glitch in the system. It was a repercussion of Miranda Lambert who had posted a picture of her new tattoo on Twitter. Lambert happened to be wearing a pair of Gypsy Soule"s signature flip flops, causing hits to the site, so many that the original system could not handle it.

"What initially sounded like an irritating issue turned out to be a great one to have," Moorhouse said with a chuckle.
Not many people can say that they grew up in Guthrie, Texas. With a population of 160, it is home to some of the most famous ranches in the world, such as the 6666 Ranch and the Pitchfork Ranch. This is an area famous for producing the world"s greatest cowboys.

Moorhouse was raised on the Pitchfork Ranch, which runs between Benjamin and Guthrie, and she credits her success to today. It didn"t matter what time of day it was, if something needed to be done, it got done. She said ethics and honesty are what that kind of environment gave her, something not always common in the business world.

When it came time to go to college, Amy had her sights set for Lubbock.

"Tech is where Mom and Dad went, so naturally I wanted to follow in their footsteps to Tech, just put my own twist on things," Moorhouse said.

Moorhouse always had a wild flare for fashion. It was not unusual for Amy to be seen in the halls of the animal science building with her wild black hair, cowboy boots and a petticoat, back in the 90s" before it became popular.
"I"ve always done my own thing," Moorhouse said.

Moorhouse said she always had her sights set high, yet wanted to keep her roots. She stayed within the Western industry to make a difference. She could work to promote her heritage and stay true to it.

After college, Amy Moorhouse worked in the retail and fashion industry for many years. She has designed for Cinch Jeans and Cruel Girl labels and has been a buyer for many companies. However, she always had a dream of having creative freedom and building her own label. Moorhouse said she is a free spirit and independent soul who wanted to help women feel beautiful and comfortable in their own skin. She had the inspiration, just needed the ultimate outlet.

"I think it is encouragement that women need," said Moorhouse, "that"s what Gypsy Soule is about."

In 2006, Moorhouse and her friend, California native Lorinda Graham-Van Newkirk, co-founded Gypsy Soule. The company started out only designing and selling some of the most recognizable flip-flops. The shoes showcase trademark rhinestones that come in every color imaginable.

"We knew we had something special," Van Newkirk said. "We both had a vision and knew we could make it come to life."
Moorhouse and Van Newkirk met at the National Finals Rodeo trade show in the mid-1990s. Fast-forward several years, and the two were working together buying and merchandising at Teskey"s Saddle Shop in Weatherford, Texas, and the whole idea evolved.

"We felt that our industry was missing something " it was missing a brand with products that were bold, different and a little out there." Moorhouse said.

Moorhouse said she feels that women of today and girls of the future often lack leadership and confidence in who they are and who they aspire to be. Gypsy Soule is blazing a trail, catching the eyes of stars such as Miranda Lambert and being featured on shows such as Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

Ever since Gypsy Soule established a name with its flip-flops, it has been on the road to expansion. With a clothing, jewelry and tack line in place, Gypsy Soule launched a line of boots with Ariat as well as an online magazine, Gypsy-Sisters.
Gypsy-Sisters ranges from inspirational blogs to business advice and everything in between; not to mention the latest in fashion trends and beauty.

Moorhouse and Van Newkirk could have left their dreams behind. However, they each had personal ties that inspired them to be just what Gypsy Soule promotes: "Women who live by their own rules."

© 2012 Texas Tech Department of Agricultural Education & Communications