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story.lead_photo.caption Misti Graham and Caroline Blackard, owners of The Broncy Donkey Leather Co., have partnered with Hope Ministries of Northeast Texas, a Christian nonprofit organization helping women discover their potential.

QUEEN CITY, Texas — The Broncy Donkey Leather Co., a moccasin business, makes significant strides in providing stylish footwear choices and helping a couple of women sustain their families.

Misti Graham of the Bloomburg/Queen City area and Caroline Blackard of Mount Pleasant, own and operate the business, which got its official start September 2019. They met about seven years ago while attending their children's rodeo events.

Misti, who used to work in gun sales at a pawn shop, has always worn moccasins, including Minnetonkas, so making moccasins seemed like the next, natural step.

Misti credits her aunt, Donna Jackson of Texarkana, with teaching her to sew, wind bobbins and change stitch lengths. This helped spur her interest in making moccasins.

"The very first pair I sold was a regular inlay design called Delta Dawn to a girl from Fouke. She picked them up in a parking lot. She said, 'I know a girl who wants to order eight pair,'" Misti recounted. "And that is when I thought they might be popular."

The Broncy Donkey makes moccasins for women, men and kids. The company's website also features what Caroline calls "cash and carry" moccasins ranging in price from $99 to $200. They also do custom moccasin orders ranging from $135 to $250 or more, depending on what the customer wants.

No two pair of moccasins are exactly alike, Misti said.

Customers run the gamut of wanting to create their own pairs, unique with their own brands, to sending photos of previous styles The Broncy Donkey have made, Misti said.

Misti and Caroline estimated the most basic pair of moccasins takes about two hours to make, and at its highest point of production they have made about eight pair a day.

Moccasins are not intended to be fenced in when it comes to fashion, they agreed. The Broncy Donkey's moccasins are made for hitting the road for work or play with a one-eighth-inch, gum-crinkle rubber sole. They can be worn in farms, rodeos, when feeding livestock, attending church, visiting Sea World and other theme parks, while feeding animals, working out, playing basketball and even traipsing through mud.

The moccasins clean up nicely.

"They get a lot of attention," Caroline said.

Caroline says the camaraderie among The Broncy Donkey employees and workers has been awesome.

"We are learning together. This is a baby business and they are willing to help us figure it out," Caroline said. "We are traveling on this journey together." n

(For more information, check out their Facebook page The Broncy Donkey Leather Co. or their website broncydonkeyleather.com.)

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