Taking the plunge....do or die!


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PCRCCW
May 17, 2003, 11:57 AM
Ive been making custom ccw rigs for a while now...kinda started off as a hobby and progressed into a small but growing kinda bigger kinda hobby.....sorta thing :rolleyes:

Ive been doing rigs when I can with my job and kids...its kinda hard at times.

Now....I have a small (ya right, ba ha ha) choice to make. Ive been notified that I have 1 week left at my "downsized" position as a Field Salesrep......ONE WEEK!

THE CHOICE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I can look for another similar job in the same market (which sucks to high hell currently!) and just keep doing what Ive been doing.....

OR????? A very meager severence package Ill be getting would allow me to purchase some equipment Ive been wanting/needing to progress in my leather work. Basically, I would have everything I need to do my rigs from start to finish.....up to now Ive contracted the stitching out and has worked well to this point.

Ill get unemployment for the usual 16 weeks and will have to rely on it to help out...until hopefully this thing takes off like its been trying to, for a while now.

I started making rigs for CZ's as there werent many out there and none for my PCR, as my name implies my favorite CCW.

Its progressed nicely from there.....slowly getting more guns and making more rigs....Im working on a Concealment Vest line. True custom rigs and vests especially made for concealing your favorite gun....

Im 99.9999999% sure Im gonna do this and honestly think I should do ok...I expect to starve for a while...but thats what I get for taking a chance of this stature. ( Ive already sold the Kimber to stock up on HO Cowhide and more dye :eek: )

That .0000001% bit of confusion is seeking your input. What would you do? Any thoughts, flames, comments will be appreciated.....and as always, Shoot well.

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10-Ring
May 17, 2003, 12:08 PM
Hey, if you can make it work for you, you're better off working for youself! Good luck on your venture ;)

HBK
May 17, 2003, 12:17 PM
It sounds like you have a unique opportunity to make some lemonade out of the lemon. 16 weeks should be enough time to get he new business totally off the ground. Good luck with your new enterprise.

dinosaur
May 17, 2003, 12:49 PM
If it`s a "small" severence package, what could you really do with it anyway? Might as well take the plunge. Good luck.:D

Stickjockey
May 17, 2003, 12:54 PM
Go for it, man! Can you post some pics so we know what the well-dressed pistol packer will be wearing this fall?

Tamara
May 17, 2003, 01:31 PM
If you can find a vacant market niche and exploit it, you're set.

The trick is exploiting it well. ;)

Jesse H
May 17, 2003, 01:36 PM
Hey good luck Eric.

DRC
May 17, 2003, 02:00 PM
IF you are prepared to starved for a while then do not be hesitant. If you are not prepared to starve for a while then don't do it. I'm in business for myself and have learned that the first two years are tough if it's your primary means of income. I've also come to the realization that the statistics are true about overnight sucesses "The average overnight success take 17 years to accomplish." That i8s unless you already have deep pockets to begin with.

The up side is that because of the markets and job situations at present if you can weather the storms for the first few years availability for loans to expand your business will be more readily available.

Take care and good luck,

DRC

Safety First
May 17, 2003, 04:03 PM
Actually, I envy the heck out of you-- I despise my j-o-b and would like nothing better than to open my own business. especially one that was something fun and that I enjoyed doing.. You know the old saying " things have a way of happening for the best" or something to that affect anyway... So, you may never get another opportunity like this again, do some advertising,maybe open a web site...and who knows maybe your business will be one of those household CCW names some day..Gopherit.....

usmcmonty
May 17, 2003, 05:01 PM
Go for it, just remember once you do your committed.

on a side note I sure could use a good CCW holster for my CZ-75BD!

TimH
May 17, 2003, 05:23 PM
Ditto what DRC said. I started a business a couple of years ago at the begining of the stock market slide. Just like you PCRCCW I was downsized. I had a little more warning though. Just keep an eye on your goals and don't let the "bumps in the road" discourage you. Anyway I wish you the best what ever you decide.

Hypnogator
May 17, 2003, 05:32 PM
Go for it! Being your own boss is GREAT!!! When my former boss fired me for refusing to drive 2,200+ miles in 3 days then train for 4 straight 14-hr days, I borrowed some money from my folks, bought a more modern simulator, and ran him out of business within 2 yrs. :D :D :D :D :D

Check with your local SBA to see about getting loans/grants to start up your business. Contact me through my web site if I can help. I have some ideas on holster design and would like a custom rig or two for myself. :)

CRUSHER
May 17, 2003, 05:34 PM
If you dont try you`ll always wonder!

Send me some pics and a price list and Ill post it in my classroom

cpileri
May 17, 2003, 06:26 PM
Do yourself a favor: get a website.

Spend some time on it, making it easy to advertise and include pictures- I hate it when i am looking for a holster and can't see it!

Do all the things that our favorite websites do:

- your list price should include shipping to CONUS
- of course, your price should be better than everyone else's
- an easy name to remember
- easy to navigate, again means in part:
no long lists of product after product as items get lost in the doldrum and the viewer gets tired of it,
offer to do custom work,
respond to site inquiries (via email or whatever)
have your secretary (or whoever) be super nice and helpful,
have a no-hassle exchange policy for any substandard goods (not that you'll make any!)

keep your ear to the ground and eyes to the forums: i constantly hear shop owners bemoaning, "Oh gee whizz i can't move this stuff" "I can't stay afloat" blah blah. Well, maybe if they paid attention to the market once in awhile... like, if someone would offer headspacing on milsurps, he could recover his costs at 3 bucks per gun in about 10 headspace checks. and every C&R holder out there has at LEAST 10 of those 50 dollar M44's, right? Advertise widely and update the website with the service and presto!
that's just an example of the advice: respond to the markets needs!
etc.
anything i missed?

Good luck!
C-

Standing Wolf
May 17, 2003, 06:31 PM
Pictures, please. Web site, please. Sales pitch, please.

I'm sure there's room in the market for more leather suppliers; for that matter, there's room for more firearms manufacturers, too.

TechBrute
May 17, 2003, 06:37 PM
Pictures, please. Web site, please. Sales pitch, please. Ditto here. I'm always open to new holsters.

Thumper
May 17, 2003, 09:45 PM
Pics and prices, bro...

You have a semi-captive market here...show us what ya got!

Stay Low
May 17, 2003, 10:43 PM
I took the plunge 8 years ago this August. Doing your own thing has some high highs and low lows. But, it's yours. My advise: do it better than the other guys and and deliver more than you promise. The whole world is full of companies that over promise and under-deliver. Good luck!

blades67
May 17, 2003, 11:07 PM
Good luck!

chaim
May 17, 2003, 11:32 PM
Eric,

You've been doing this on the side for a little while now so you have a big leg up on many new businesses. You know the market demand. How many orders have you been getting? How much work is waiting on your having the time? How much do you turn away or lose due to lack of time?

You are a well known "face" on several gun forums, including CZforum (imp. since you will be concentrating on CZs) which should help. You already have a good reputation among gun people on the net. Have you emailed Hakan, he may have some good insights.

Do you have enough in other income, investments, savings, to live on for a while or will you be relying totally on unemployment? If you have some other income will what you make now on the holster making (or could be if you weren't turning away or losing business due to lack of time to work on it) be enough, in addition to the other income, to cover at least the minimum living expenses (car payment, car ins., food, utilities, housing)?

What do you currently drive? Is it paid off, if so good. If you still owe on it, you might consider selling it (if what it is worth is high enough to pay off, or nearly pay off, the loan) and then buying something with a lower monthly payment or better, something that you can buy outright. That would help lower your monthly living expenses and may make the beginning stages of self-employment easier.

If it was me, and I had some money saved (or other income coming in) to cover expenses for a year or so, I'd do it.

PCRCCW
May 17, 2003, 11:37 PM
HOLY CRAP! :D Ok......er, ......Thanks for the support. I NEED IT! Im proud but not overly so....
As for the website, here it is. Ive had it up for a while and just add/update it as I need to ..but for this venture Ill need help.
"A bigger better website".....a gentleman you guys know offered to help me out with that part of it ....possibly in trade.

http://www.angelfire.com/amiga/pcrcz/index.html

Let me know what you all think...I listen to people. Personal opinion time...RUN AWAY! :rolleyes: ..."Listening is big part of what society lacks and moreso, in "sales" especially......

Chaim,
Ive thought about this quite a bit in the past anyway....All of your questions are VERY VALID and trust me....Ive considered all of them...NO HEALTH INSURANCE etc, etc.......Its a very big plunge. As far as the CZForum and a couple of others....YEP! I am a regular, "Hi Norm", on a couple of them and enjoy the hell out of them....I learn alot from the fellow gun nuts. I still check out Taurus Talk....very interesting stuff going on...I think I need a new snubby mold.....a concealed hammer 9mm mold..for pocket rigs....hey, it could be a write off....Hmmmmm


Shoot well........thanks, Eric

Thumper
May 18, 2003, 12:08 AM
NICE!

Do you have Glock molds?

How 'bout 1911s?

Zundfolge
May 18, 2003, 12:35 AM
"A bigger better website".....a gentleman you guys know offered to help me out with that part of it ....possibly in trade.

Trade is always a great way to get work done without hitting your cash flow too hard (and those two words; "cash flow" are about to become the center of your universe ;) ).

My wife has a web page hosted with http://www.imagelinkusa.net/ and its only $5.95 a month for 100meg of room for your sight, 10GB a month transfer, Email accounts (which accounts for my funkypurse.com email address), a real easy to use control panel and they are on solid Linux servers. They will handle your domain registration. When we set hers up it was up within 24 hours (it will take them 30 days before they transfer your domain into your name, so you will have to fiddle with some settings after that 30 days)

Whatever you do, get your own domain registered and get off that anglefire thing :scrutiny:

PCRCCW
May 18, 2003, 01:26 AM
Hmmmm. Actually I dont have Glock molds yet..I havent ventured there yet because there are a ZILLION Good glock rigs out there...but the same goes for 1911's. Glocks will be on my very soon to expand list of things to do......give it about a month.
Currently, YES 1911's....I had to give my (ex)Kimber a good house.

Trade is excellent..and a must IMO, in this day and age. You build better relationships...as long as you both get a great product. Its also a good marketing tool to an extent.....

The Angelfire setup is free and did fairly well.....but I have to agree again on the domain name and more options...searchable, etc. With this type of product....mucho space is needed.

As far as the " which accounts for my funkypurse.com email address"....uh huh.....sure :D

Thanks again, Shoot well........

Keith
May 18, 2003, 04:12 PM
Consider using E-Bay. It gives you an instant customer base numbering in the hundreds of millions!
My brother buys used ski equipment at thrift shops and turns it over on E-Bay - makes enough in his spare time to buy very expensive toys and take fabulous vacations.

tonerguy
May 18, 2003, 04:48 PM
I have several businesses including Tucker Gunleather and Texas Gunleather, The Toner Guy and Half-Price Copiers. I really get along well with the boss - we never disagree.

When it comes to holsters, so what if there are plenty of good rigs for Glocks and 1911's? People have individual preferences and don't always buy the "in" holster. You have a good chance of getting "your share" of the market.

Pictures, pictures, pictures! Ever notice how some holster websites have pictures of their holsters that look like silhouettes with no discernable detail? How the heck do you really know what the holster is like? Make sure you get good pictures if you're going to have a website.

I am assuming the quality of design, materials and execution is there already. Pictures won't sell poorly made goods. I am fortunate to have Tucker, Brommeland and Waldon providing the holsters that I sell on line. Send me some samples (on loan, not free) and maybe I'll add you to TexasGunleather.com as one of your dealers (if that works for you.)

If you can get local gunstores carrying your leather that's a good start. You can get what they need a lot faster that Galco, etc. which often have 12-week waits. Where there's a will, there's a way! Right?

Last thing - price to value. Very few people buy on price alone while many ignore the price to get just what they want. Make enough money to survive. If you're not selling well, don't just lower the price before you check to see that what you have is really what people want. Custom holsters are not a commodity and you have something special to offer.

Good Luck!

Rob

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