If you are a novice holster maker, click here to read “10 Things a Novice Holster Maker Should Know”. If you have some experience with holster making, read below for some of my personal tips.
1. Economy of scale is real, but can be deceptive. Don’t waste an hour to save $5. Get what you need, when you need it.
2. As you handle higher order volumes, your customers rely on you to still consistently deliver on time. Hardware and material shortages can derail the entire operation, and your vendors are worried about their own problems, not yours, so order soon enough, and in large enough quantities.
3. Over-ordering is a great way to tie up capital and cramp your shop space.
4. Customer service is a fantastic opportunity to build positive customer relationships. Often, a customer who has a problem and receives prompt, courteous help will become an even more enthusiastic supporter than a customer who never runs into an issue.
5. Some customers are impossible. Cut them loose at the earliest opportunity, even if this means refunding them in full and not getting the product back. If you’re feeling salty, refer them to some other bender that you don’t like.
6. A CNC is not magic. It can be a force multiplier, or an enormous drag on your time, resources and sanity. If you want to learn CAD/CAM anyway, more power to you. As a strict business decision, most small shops are probably better served to outsource tooling and trim mold design.
7. Learn how to calculate ROI on new molds and new products, and don’t apologize for not offering every variation that randos request on Instagram. Make products you believe in, and don’t chase the market. If you actually hustle, and actually make sales, a $1000 mold pays for itself quickly.
8. If you’re not making the sales you think you should be, the market is right, and you’re wrong. The issue could be price, quality, lead-time, whatever. You don’t get to demand anyone’s business, so start every day prepared to earn it.
9. You’ve probably realized by now that most gun stores are a total dead end. The margins are bad, they don’t really understand or believe in your product, and they’re always asking for obscure things that you don’t make, and don’t want to make. If you have a great relationship with a store, stick with it, but direct to consumer is the future, and should be your main focus.
10. If you want to make holster making a full time gig, you’d better be ready to hire and delegate. Decide this in advance, and hire sooner than you think.
11. Bonus: Shipping beats perfection (Stolen from Roger B. at QVO Tactical)
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