By Bob Doerschuk
For nearly 40 years, rodeo devotees have sported beautiful classic Western buckles and jewelry created by Montana Silversmiths, based out of Columbus, Mont. But as Country Music continues to expand into wider and more diverse demographics, the company realized that its products could connect with new groups of potential customers.
Many Country artists had already discovered the brand; Jason Aldean and George Strait have worn their buckles, and Miranda Lambert owns their cross-pistol necklace. Still, Montana Silversmiths needed a spokesperson who could speak to the buyers they call “Western Positives.” They found her in Leah Seawright, whose manager at the time came from Montana and thought this would be a great partnership.
“Country is a natural fit for us, because its fans have the same values as our core Western fans,” said Brittney Fox, Marketing Lead, Montana Silversmiths. “They value authenticity and patriotism, and Leah really fits that too. And she has a great personality — she’s a firecracker!”
“I had just released a song, ‘‘’Til Your Boots Are Dirty,’” said Seawright. “The Montana people loved the song. They were about to shoot a CMT commercial, so I went up there and met them. I felt like I’d known them my whole life, even though I’m an Alabama girl. It was just like coming home.”
Seawright toured the facility, watched the staff create products from melting the metal down to wrapping them up, had a fun dinner … and the very next day, they did a photo shoot and filmed the CMT video. It shows her in a dressing room, putting on Montana Silversmiths bracelet and necklace, pulling on her boots and then rocking “Til Your Boots Are Dirty” onstage. It’s simple, quick and effective at spreading the word about both the accoutrements and the artist to CMT’s vast viewership.
That’s not all. Seawright has been able to use the results of her photo shoot for her own publicity. She drew a stream of visitors to her booth at Fan Fair Hall during CMA Music Festival with a contest that offered a hot pink guitar and a basket of Montana Silversmiths items as the prize; this enabled her to significantly expand her list of fan email addresses.
And she grew her presence in the company’s market too, with her CD now selling in the more than 7,000 retail stores that carry Montana Silversmiths. This has also helped her book PBR and rodeo shows, with a possible rodeo tour in the works for this fall, complete with a company bus wrap.
“The important thing is that you have to work with someone you believe in. I don’t know if I’d go out there and hunt an endorsement deal with Rogaine for men,” she added, with a laugh. “If it’s something you’re already doing, that just makes it second nature. And jewelry is something I already did. I put on jewelry every day — and now it’s Montana Silversmiths.”
Leah Seawright stars in Montana Silversmith print ads.
Photo credit: courtesy of Montana Silversmiths