by Amy Martinez
Updated 2 yearss ago
Founders: Mike and Brooke Vedder
2018 Revenue: $5.4 million
Growth 2016-18: 300%
Before starting his own company, Mike Vedder wanted to be a professional golfer. He played in a few mini-tours and made ends meet running the Orlando operations for an Atlanta-based valet management company.
In 2010, he got a license to carry a concealed gun for personal use and bought a holster online. He then began tinkering with holster designs after becoming disappointed with the purchase. “It was kind of one-size-fits-all. It didn’t have the ability to adjust where the gun sits on your beltline, the height that it sits at or the angle,” he says. “I thought I could do it better.”
Later that year, he and his wife, Brooke, founded Vedder Holsters, selling adjustable gun holsters online. Once on the company’s website, customers enter the make and model of their gun to determine a compatible holster and choose from nearly 80 colors and prints. Each holster, which costs about $60 and up, is made and shipped within three business days and comes with a lifetime guarantee and no-questions-asked return policy, he says.
“Everything is made to order. You can adjust the ride height, or you can cant it a little forward or backward up to 30 degrees, as well. It’s built with our own patented design clip that attaches to your beltline,” says Vedder, 35.
In 2013, he quit his job at the valet company to devote himself full-time to Vedder Holsters. Meanwhile, he gave up on his dreams of playing professional golf. “I was shooting even-par consistently, so like 72, but I wasn’t good enough in today’s golf field. The talent is so deep and the skill level so good that it takes a 65 or 66 on easier courses consistently to make a living at it,” he says. “Now I play for fun.”
With 36 employees, Vedder Holsters occupies 15,000 square feet of office and warehouse space in Mount Dora, where it makes the holsters. Its sales doubled each year for five consecutive years and in 2018 exceeded $5 million. Although year-over-year growth has tapered in recent months, Vedder says, the company continues to post double-digit percentage gains and is solidly profitable.
He says future growth will come from new products and marketing strategies to reach more customers. Until now, the company has relied on social media influencers in the gun world to test and promote its products.
Vedder says he knew the market for concealed- carry gun holsters would be big, just not as big as it is. “It’s also a heavily competitive market,” he adds. “You have to make sure you’re putting out the best product possible with the best service possible.”
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