LAMPASAS — Elisa Jass remembers sitting in her father’s rustic shop, watching him carefully craft the perfect pair of boots.
Her dad, Pablo Jass, 63, celebrated 42 years of bootmaking and 30 years of owning his own shop Saturday at the Amvets Post in Lampasas.
The owner of Jass Boot Shop and lifelong Lampasas resident said he started as an apprentice for local bootmaker Ray Jones.
“It was just like any job. You got to start slow and then as you go along you learn more and more,” he said. “There’s a lot of skill involved and it takes a lot of steps from the start to the finish.”
Although it only takes about a week of continuous work to complete a pair of boots, Jass, who is the sole employee of his shop, said with the number of orders he receives, customers must wait anywhere from six months to a year.
After a foot measurement, customers work with Jass to decide the color, design, type of leather and stitching, height of the heel and the size of the toe for their custom-made boots.
“The customer picks out everything,” said Jass, who has shipped boots to customers is Australia, Japan and Italy. A standard pair of boots costs $950 and uses the finest leather imported from Europe, including calf, pig and bull hide — or in some cases, lizard, hippo, ostrich, elephant or alligator skin.
His sister, Mary Romo, is proud Jass is doing what he loves and continues to share his artistic abilities by making one-of-a-kind boots.
“One time he tried to teach me so I could help him, but I couldn’t catch on,” she said. “He’s very skilled and very successful and does really, really good work. He loves what he does.”
Growing up, Jass worked alongside his parents in the cotton fields.
Elisa Jass is proud of how far her father has come as he lives his dream.
Having his own shop is something he wanted, and he made it happen, she said. “He’s always been an inspiration to me. He’s a hard worker. He’s very generous and kind, caring and always has a smile and a handshake for everybody.”