Guns.com -I am curious if you’ve noticed an uptick in customers or a shift away from some of the bigger holster companies (i.e. Safariland)?
Lisa Looper -We've definitely noticed an increase in business in the past several years. I'm not sure that I would say customers are shifting away from bigger holster companies as much as I would say that the concealed carry market has become much larger and more diverse. If you look back 15 or 20 years, you'll see a core group of people who carried a gun. They were all fairly similar. Mostly men for sure! Now, you're nearly as likely to see grandma carrying a gun!
Guns.com -Why do you think consumers may be opting to go with gear from a small business versus one of the big name?
Lisa -This has to do with the diversity of the market as well. The same holster that worked great for my father doesn't work at all for me! People are looking for a concealed carry solution that works with their lifestyle, and like anything else, they want something that appeals to them! If you're wearing something on a daily basis, it only makes sense that you should enjoy wearing it. Comfort and personal taste have definitely come into play.
Guns.com -Why do you think there are more holster makers now as compared to say five or ten years ago?
Lisa -Demand builds supply. It seems like most of the smaller holster companies have their own little niche in the market. Some focus on the art of the holster, some on a particular functionality. Others jump on trends in the industry (anyone remember that zombie green craze?!?). Smaller companies aren't trying to make a holster for EVERY customer....just "their" customers.
Guns.com -What do you think sets your business apart and keeps your customers returning?
Lisa -Flashbang Holsters is focused on meeting the needs of women who choose to concealed carry. Women have unique challenges when it comes to strapping a chunk of metal to our bodies! What's easy as pie for the the average man, is beyond complicated when you look at the variety of clothing women typically wear. We don't have boxy physiques that lend themselves to old school concealment techniques. However, we have some great assets to work with, and Flashbang has a major advantage there because we are women designing holsters for women! The women who use our holsters keep coming back because they know we understand their challenges and that we'll go out of our way to take good care of them. We don't have "customers," we build friendships!
Guns.com -Do you think social media helps or hurts?
Lisa -It helps a ton!! Smaller companies don't have the marketing budgets to put huge ads in national publications, so they're looking for creative ways to meet their customers. Social media and the internet have become the great equalizers. If small companies like ours create quality content, it can reach hundreds of thousands of people with only a tiny budget behind it. It also allows us to create relationships with our customers. There's communication going both directions rather than us as a company just communicating outwardly.