The Beginning of 'Drawer Full of Holsters'
The spark of an idea:
One morning I was sitting in the sun room of our Lake House thinking about my concealed carry journey and how much I enjoyed trying out holsters from all of the awesome companies that are now on the market. However, I had already collected a pretty large drawer of holsters myself and the holsters I still wanted to try would make a pretty good impact on my wallet. It occurred to me that there must be a market for pre-owned holsters because I had read so many articles about how most people tend to collect holsters as they try to determine the best method of carrying a concealed firearm (once they get their license). I reached out to my daughter Gabby because we had been kicking around business ideas recently. The idea sparked something in Gabby, as it also seemed like a very viable business plan option. So we began to collaborate on how the business would be structured.
Creating the website:
I had spent my entire career in IT Project Management working on multi-million dollar projects so I was overwhelmed with the thought of coding and designing a website from scratch. I was under the impression that it would take a substantial amount of money and time to create our own website. It was Gabby who discovered sites such as Wix and GoDaddy where you could easily and inexpensively create your own website and set up an online store. She began creating our website and logo, soon putting together a very impressive shell of a business. The process of creating a whole business from your ideas was very exciting to see unfold.
Creating a workspace:
As the website started to progress nicely, we realized that we needed a place to collaborate together as we embarked on this new journey in both of our lives. Our home did have an office but it had been overwhelmed by 15 years of bills, paperwork and clutter. So we dived in and after about a month of dedicated focus ended up with a space filled with 2 desks and a visual board for tracking our work. Now that we had a place to work, we could get this business kicked off.
Creating the Foundation:
We were both very nervous to begin a business that had not been tried before in this industry and we had so many nagging fears: what if it isn’t a viable business model afterall, what if we get ourselves into trouble with other holster companies, what if we don’t set up the business correctly, what if we make mistakes! However, we had a dream and we both believed this could be a viable business so we just kept looking at the task ahead and taking that next step: 1) Setting up the LLP, 2) Creating a business bank account, 3) Getting a vendor's license, 4) Creating our look and feel, and so on until it came time to make our product available to the general market. We were able to use what we had learned about business up until this point and create something that had depth and meaning. We engaged with people who were experts at setting up the foundational items of our business to ensure that we had the right components in place.
The Lean Startup
After having read the book, The Lean Startup, we decided to embrace the ideas presented in there, such as to go to production with the minimal viable product. We decided that in order
to really determine the viability of the business we needed to get out in front of customers as soon as possible, even if everything wasn’t perfect. We needed to try out our hypothesis so that we could pivot our plan as we discovered new information. So we made the decision to launch the website into production with only the sell and donate sections fully functional. This would at least enable us to to begin to build an inventory and have a storefront. We needed to begin working with our community of customers to further build up the business and confirm that our overall plan was a solid business idea.
It seemed like there were still a million little last minute touch-ups, clean-ups and changes that were needed before we were ready to publish our site. But, once the website was in pretty good shape and the foundation for the business established we decided to move forward with launching the site into production. And so began our new journey on March 21st, 2019.