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Custom holster manufacturer's w/6+ month wait... bad business model?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Holsters and Accessories' started by Agent-J, Jan 4, 2009.

  1. Agent-J

    Agent-J Well-Known Member

    I wonder why they are so far behind and seem to make no effort to catch up. I'm sure demand plays a role, but something has to be said about only having 3 employees as well.

    I know I personally was going to buy 2 holsters from one of these types of companies, but opted for something with much faster turn around.
  2. Dave Williams

    Dave Williams Well-Known Member

    I think what is interesting is that usually an authorized dealer with sell items at below MSRP.

    With Milt Sparks for instance, their authorized dealers sell the items at above MSRP.

    I think it is a pretty good business model for them, but not the consumer.

    Dave Williams
  3. Vonderek

    Vonderek Well-Known Member

    There's nothing I need that I can't get right away from Galco, Kramer, Don Hume, and a host of other manufacturers. Early on I did the custom holster maker routine and after 6 months got a holster that didn't fit my gun. With about five minutes of googling I can find anything I need available now.
  4. exflatlander

    exflatlander Well-Known Member

    I ordered a custom Tucker a week or so ago that was promised for February which didn't seem too bad of a wait compared to the others.
  5. ambidextrous1

    ambidextrous1 Well-Known Member

    Every business model is arguably a bad busines model in this day and age.

    In a firearm-related business, it's prudent to avoid overstaffing when you may see your sales drop in the future.
  6. wccountryboy

    wccountryboy Active Member

    You wait (and usualy pay) for exectional craftsmanship. An assembly line holster is usualy adaqute for most, but some prefer the attention to detail and care that goes into an handcrafted, made to order product. Using Milt Sparks as an example, I belive they're a 5 man shop. But they don't have 5 factory workers, they have 5 very skilled craftsmen. They've decided to keep their wait at no more than 6 months, so their buisness plan included a quota of new orders accepted every month. They know what they can produce, they do extrodinary work, and they meet their production schedule. I have a few of their holsters, and every one was worth both the wait and the cost. Comparing Sparks to Galco is comparing Mercedez Benz to Yugo...
  7. S&Wfan

    S&Wfan Well-Known Member

    Here's a fine custom holster maker so backlogged that he's currently filling his December 2006 orders . . . and has not even accepted any new orders since last March. I appreciate his honesty. He's right up front about it . . .


    Why? He's probably a one-man operation. Maybe he's got a sick wife or child, maybe he's got a dying parent . . . maybe he's not in best health himself . . . or PROBABLY he's just that danged good, and that danged honest that he's gonna do the best he can, one customer at a time . . . and doesn't need the money to work 24/7 and die without enjoying life!

    In any event, his holsters look incredible and obviously I'm not the only one who thinks so.

    I've got a Mitch Rosen holster, another fine maker and, believe me, the differences between a good holster and a great one are quite appreciated!

  8. orionengnr

    orionengnr Well-Known Member

    I actually admire the guy who says "I cannot accept any new orders at this time" because he is trying to keep his delivery times realistic. And for a holster, I do not consider six months realistic.

    What really annoys me is the vendor who takes your order, cashes your check and then...nothing. For six months, more nothing. And he's still accepting other peoples' orders and cashing their checks too.
  9. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

    quality work does take time and 6 months is very reasonable for custom work. if you're willing to settle for a production line, you'll have your wants filled more easily. i wouldn't even use a Galco as a fill-in until a Del Fatti was ready...there are better options available

    you have to decide what quality is worth...in time and money...to you. i don't spend $100k for a car or $5k for a watch, but i won't drive a car that doesn't have "soul" or a Casio watch either
  10. S&Wfan

    S&Wfan Well-Known Member

    As the saying goes . . .

    1. You can have it CHEAP, or

    2. You can have it FAST, or

    3. You can have it RIGHT . . .

    You just can't have all three.

  11. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Well-Known Member

    I ordered a holster from a small-time guy on here, goes by Big Bad Gun.

    Robert Chiasson is his real name.

    He stole my money. I never got anything.

    Talked a good story, though.

    I was an idiot to send a money order.

    Ruger sent me a nice Triple K holster that works great for the purpose. Last time I trust someone that way.
  12. TAB

    TAB Well-Known Member

    It takes years to train people.

    If I take in a new guy to work for me, it takes them about a year for them to get use to working with the tools about 2 before they can be fast enough for me to break even and about 4 before they can make me money.
  13. Sig 226 .40

    Sig 226 .40 Well-Known Member

    I do some leather work for a part-time business. Holsters, sheaths and other items. If I were to go full time...there would be a waiting period for pieces. You have to understand...unlike synthetics...leather does not forgive mistakes. If I measure a piece wrong...most likely it is "back to the drawing board". I also take my time designing the piece. I try to design the holster to the lines of the gun or knife going into it. That, with the customers input does take time. Does the buyer want fancy, plain jane or just a little dressing up of their item? Color? Style? Is it a period piece?(ie SAA revolver that must be in period attire?) Matching knife sheath? What kind of knife? Dimensions? Can the customer send the knife? Decorating the holster/sheath combo...you want a matching gun belt with how many loops? What type of buckle or does it matter? Etc...Any particular type of critter you want it made of? You want cowhide with ray skin inlay? Gonna take some time to acquire and assemble to the customers demands...
    If you want handmade quality, you have to expect that the craftsman will take his/her time with it. Everything I make is hand cut, hand sewn...every step is by hand. No machines. Unfortunately due to work, National Guard responsibilities, home and kids, I no longer have the time to do leather work like I would like to. I would never let an item out of my shop that I was not 100% happy with. And if that meant my orders got backlogged...so be it. My customers would understand that I intend to give them perfection. Thats what they are paying for.
  14. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Well-Known Member

    The custom holster business is not like a "big-box" store or other large retailer. Most of these makers are one-man operations - by comparison, Milt Sparks, with five, is huge - and often not his only job. For example, Bob Mika of pocket holster fame is a full time police chief. A wait time of several weeks or even six months to a year is not unusual.

    That said, sometimes artisans and craftsmen (NOT the ones mentioned above, who are exemplary) are not very good businessmen.
  15. Davek1977

    Davek1977 Well-Known Member

    Your experience is different than mine. I ordered a IWB holster for my S&W 9VE from Gunner's Alley. they told me it wasn't in stock (after I already waited two weeks...claimed their email had gone down as to why I wasn't notified sooner) and that they had contacted Hume to see if it was in stock there. Not only was it in not stock, but was "slated for production" and that I'll be waiting a minimum of 8 weeks for my holster, with an option to cancel. I really had my heart set on that particular holster after doing my research, but never anticipated waiting 3 months for a production holster. i've actually HAD custom holsters built within the week for me, and very high qaulity at that. While I know this isn't ypical, believe me, you CAN get stuck waiting for somehting even from the mainstream offerings
  16. logical

    logical Well-Known Member

    I think a business model where you have people lined up 2 years deep to pay a premium price for the stuff you make is a pretty good business model. As long as there are people willing to deal with a wait, he has no issue...and it seems there is an endless suppy of patient people.

    Reminds me of the old saying "That Steak restaurant downtown is so busy that nobody goes there anymore".

    "Milt Sparks order book is so full that nobody buys his holsters anymore????"
  17. StorkPatrol

    StorkPatrol Well-Known Member

    I got robbed by Eric at HBE Leather. Since then I've learned that I can get what I need from any one of the larger mainstream holster companies, pay less, and start carrying my gun in two weeks.

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