By John Crump
U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- One of the scariest things someone can do is start a small business.
Even scarier than that is starting a business trying to improve on a tried and true design that has been used for 100s of years.
A lot of people try to build a better mousetrap but most fail, but in this case we are not talking about mouse traps. We are talking about Gun holsters.
The “Urban Carry” Holster took the problems associated with concealed carry holsters and tried to come up with an ingenious solutions that cuts down on printing and is also very comfortable to wear.
It does this by being a “below the waistband holster”. After getting one and reviewing it myself I was curious about the company and how they came up with the design.
Urban Carry Holsters' Dawn & Dave Foster
I reached out to Dawn and Dave Foster who are the owners of Urban Carry. They were willing to humor me and answer my questions. I found out more than just about a holster. I found out about people chasing their dream and trying to build a small business in a climate that hasn’t been too friendly to small businesses.
John: What is each of your backgrounds?
Dawn and Dave: As an entrepreneur and inventor with several patents under his belt Dave already had a strong background in business. Dawn began her career as a Paralegal, coincidentally working in both intellectual property (patents and trademarks) and corporate law. Our experience, coupled with a great deal of determination, made for an ideal partnership. We laughingly refer to ourselves as the visionary and the integrator.
John: Who came up with the idea for the Urban Carry?
Dawn and Dave: Co-inventors Dave and leather crafter Cecil Gordon came up with the idea. After tirelessly searching for that perfect concealed holster – especially one suited for the high demands of the Florida climate – we kept coming up empty handed. Dawn likes to say the idea was born after Dave hit nearly $1800 worth of holsters stoically protecting the box under the bed from the enemy dust that collected upon. With the mission considered a failure Dave went another direction and Urban Carry was born.
John: How did you come up with the design of the Urban Carry?
Dawn and Dave: The idea came from noticing all standard concealed holsters for the last hundred years have been located in the same area – the waistline. This is a logical location in terms of meeting concealment with access. Half the problem many find with that is total concealment as the gun can be exposed without wearing baggy clothes. The other half of the problem with the traditional concealed holster is comfort. We noticed that if the gun were below the waistline rather than on it that would resolve both problems. It would be completely concealed and out of the way of the bend of the body, making sure it is comfortable. The problem with a below configuration is that it is typically difficult to access. That’s the problem we overcame. We just needed to play around with the designs enough to find a way to bring the firearm to you, rather than reaching down to get it… and so we did.
John: What is the difference between the G1 and G2 holsters?
Dawn and Dave: The G2 comes from the voices of our customers. They told us what they liked about the original Urban Carry – the quality, the ingenuity, the comfort and security it brought. And they told us how to make it better. We added a clip to the G2 taking away the need for a belt, we improved the design of the holster giving it a more rapid draw by adding a guiding system, and we added a rare earth magnet at the base for secure holstering which is also ECR-Laser compatible.
John: Your holsters comes in a very nice bag. I think that is great marketing. How did you come up with that idea?
Dawn and Dave: We originally were sending the holster out just loose in a brown shipping box with some packing paper around it. We tried to fold the paper around it to look nice but in all honesty we didn’t like how it looked overall. We were so busy that designing packaging was behind schedule and when we did finally have time to catch our breath and design packaging we ended up not so inclined to use it. The Urban Carry is American made from a family owned business. We felt shipping it out in a retail packaging (however nice looking) took away from that attentive, home grown feel. Also, we know the retail packaging is just something that will be ripped open and thrown away. We don’t like to be wasteful so we decided to design a nice bag that can hold the holster, so it looks better than packing paper, but it’s also something our customers and fans can use for guns, ammo, range glasses, or anything else they would want to use it for. Dawn says she is determined to one day make an Urban Carry quilt from the bags when time allows.
John: Holsters aren’t the only thing you guys sell. One of the things I see on your website is shirts. Who comes up with the ideas for the shirts?
Dawn and Dave: Most of the shirts and slogans come from Dave, the Urban Carry staff and the Urban Carry Army (our followers). Dave designed several of the shirts you see but, as you may have guessed we love customer feedback, so a while back we had a contest and had our customers choose the slogans they liked and even submit some of their own. Certain slogans like “Every 2nd Matters” were born from our customers voting for other customers on social media. We'll have a lot of new shirts coming in the next few months.
John: What is the best selling item other than the Urban Carry Holster?
Dawn and Dave: Our belts! The Urban Carry gun belts are truly incredible quality with no fillers – just leather through and through. It’s actually a quarter inch thick piece of bull hide (which you don’t find very often). When you carry with a poor quality belt the belt will typically break down in a number of months and it doesn’t hold the weight of a heavy firearm. A solid belt helps with the draw from any holster as it assists in anchoring the holster. Overall a high quality gun belt is important especially when coupled with any holster. We have had a number of customers point out that often other belts, many of inferior quality, sell for a lot more then our Urban Carry belt. We simply don't want to deter anyone from experiencing a solid, quality belt and keeping with our philosophy of quality of quantity Urban Carry makes the all around best gun belts we can while keeping the price as fair as possible.
John: Did you two ever think you would own a holster company?
Dawn and Dave: Honestly, no. Dave came from inventing in the consumer electronics industry and Dawn from the legal field which are wildly different than a work day which can involve going out to the range to “test” the holster prototypes and run drills. Fun aside, we were surprised so many people were experiencing the same issues we were with finding a great holster; then even more surprised when they fell in love with ours. It’s been an amazing experience – one that we are grateful for having. Being able to couple one of our interests – firearms – with a work – has been a true pleasure.
John: What has been the biggest challenge you two have faced in starting your company?
Dawn and Dave: Running a business can bring significant challenges and daily obstacles; it is a daily testament to your resolution, dedication and determination. Our biggest challenge has been growing our workforce alongside the needs of the company and finding the right people to become a part of our team. We are thankful we have an incredible bunch of people we work with now that help make us who we are today. The other challenge is finding enough consistent leather to keep making holsters for our customers!
John: Do you two think that Donald Trump will ease the burden on small businesses?
Dawn and Dave: We are hopeful that he will and believe he has the tools necessary to do so. It was challenging during the Obama administration which piled on the rules and regulations making it harder for anyone to start up and continue forward with a new business.
John: Speaking of easing the burden on small business, what changes would you two like to see made to make it easier on small businesses to operate?
Dawn and Dave: Having built the company from the bottom up and even with moderate success we are being gouged by regulation and tax, taking away a substantial portion of our earnings is devastating especially knowing we could use the earnings to promote growth, hire additional employees and create new ideas. The tax burden is substantial and navigating through it is utterly painful not to mention expensive. We’d like to see a significant lowering of the business tax rate and more friendly business practices. Minimum Wage requirements which essentially make it illegal to get a job, Unemployment and Healthcare are other issues we’d like to see addressed.
John: What is your advice for someone who is thinking about starting their own company?
Dawn and Dave: This could be an extremely extensive response, but I’ll try and keep it brief. I’d say the most important things are, prepare to fail and test until you can’t test anymore. The initial prototypes were very cool and complicated. No one ever saw those no matter how much we liked them. We kept the Urban Carry quite for over a year before launching it into the mainstream. We wanted military, law enforcement, and everyday carriers to wear it, test it and tell us how to make it even better. You get one shot at an initial launch and first impression. The other thing is that no matter how much you get your ducks in a row one will always want to stick his head under the water. There will be things that go wrong, virtually every day. The difference between a successful company and one that fails is whether or not you can pick your head up another day to get past the pain and frustrations of getting through the obstacles. I would tell myself that the obstacles are only there to keep others from following; I’m not giving up. Finally, you have to dedicate time to get the important stuff done, that’s usually before or after hours. All day long you’ll deal with “emergencies”. That keeps the company ship floating but you still have to find the time to steer it in the right direction for the years to come.
John: What do you two think the biggest issue facing the firearms industry is?
Dawn and Dave: There seem to be two at the forefront. First, finding balance and understanding of the point of view from both sides; and compromising and navigating the ever changing laws surrounding the industry. It is a slippery slope when you begin taking away constitutional freedoms and something that seemed insignificant at the time, piece by insignificant piece, soon rips you of those certain freedoms afforded to us; those same freedoms that made our Country what it was (and can be again). A recent example of this is when “free speech zones” were created. At what point as a Nation did we need a zone to honor free speech? If our inalienable rights can be taken away then they are not rights they are privileges.
John: If you two could go back and change one thing about how you started your company what would it be?
Dawn and Dave: We wouldn’t change a single thing. The experience is what brought us to where we are today; the ups, the downs – every part of it is who we are and who we’ve become. We wouldn’t change a single thing.
John: How can someone get more information on the Urban Carry?
Dawn and Dave: The best place to learn more is to visit us online at UrbanCarryHolsters.com, at a show, or give us a call at 321-363-0181.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. He is the former CEO of Veritas Firearms, LLC and is the co-host of The Patriot News Podcast which can be found at www.blogtalkradio.com/patriotnews. John has written extensively on the patriot movement including 3%'ers, Oath Keepers, and Militias. In addition to the Patriot movement, John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and is currently working on a book on the history of the patriot movement and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss or at www.crumpy.com.