Mike Pfeiffer by no means deliberate on being an ecommerce service provider. An online developer, he hoped to develop his YouTube channel, Final Line of Protection, reviewing firearms and equipment. On the facet, in 2015, he made just a few holsters and talked about them in his movies.
He informed me, “I might discuss them within the context of different opinions. My followers began asking if they might purchase one.”
Quick ahead to 2022, and Final Line of Protection is greater than a YouTube channel. It’s a Drupal-powered direct-to-consumer ecommerce enterprise promoting firearm holsters, with annual income of $500,000.
I lately sat down with Pfieffer, discussing his journey. The audio of our whole dialog is embedded beneath. The transcript is edited for size and readability.
Eric Bandholz: Inform us about your self.
Mike Pfeiffer: I’m the founder and proprietor of Final Line of Protection, a small on-line operation that makes and sells gun holsters. I’m principally identified for my YouTube channel, the place I overview out of doors and journey gear.
After I began the channel in 2015, I used to be seeking to purchase a holster for my hid carry, however there was nothing appropriate in the marketplace. I discovered learn how to make holsters and began producing them for myself at residence in another way from what anyone else was promoting.
I used a fabric referred to as Kydex, a sort of plastic offered in skinny sheets that you just warmth and vacuum-form. Initially, I used a foam strain type — a do-it-yourself hobbyist model. I purchased the supplies and made a few holsters for my very own use.
Then I discussed them just a few occasions on my YouTube movies. I might discuss them within the context of different opinions. My followers began asking if they might purchase one. My preliminary response was, “No, that is simply one thing I made for myself.” I by no means had the intention of promoting them.
Bandholz: Virtually a distraction.
Pfeiffer: Sure, it was. My background is in back-end growth. I used to be an online developer. I used to be not making an attempt to launch an ecommerce enterprise. I had the mentality of doing it on the facet till it went away. But it surely didn’t go away.
I labored full-time as a developer whereas making an attempt to begin my YouTube channel and promoting holsters by emails and PayPal. Ultimately I made a decision to make an ecommerce website.
I used to be aware of Drupal and its ecommerce element, Drupal Commerce. So I made my web site on that platform, however it was clunky.
It required a bunch of attributes. A buyer might choose the firearm, select a colour, and designate right-hand or left — numerous particulars. Shopify and BigCommerce may need been simpler. My objective was to get an internet site up so I wouldn’t be emailing clients forwards and backwards.
So I launched the positioning. I used to be advertising holsters organically by my YouTube channel. To this present day, I’ve not marketed. I haven’t despatched holsters out for opinions or purchased adverts. Plus, promoting firearms-related merchandise is tough.
Bandholz: Why is it tough?
Pfeiffer: A lot of the problem pertains to the pictures. I’ve to indicate weapons with my holsters. If I’m promoting a Glock holster, I have to say it’s a Glock holster. However “Glock” could possibly be a flagged picture or phrase that blocks the advert from going reside. It turns into difficult.
Plus, ecommerce platforms have restrictions. I didn’t construct on Shopify, and my product doesn’t go in opposition to that firm’s phrases, however it does fall right into a grey space.
Regardless, the corporate went from grossing $50,000 within the first yr to $500,000 now. It simply stored rising organically.
This yr is the primary yr that my income shall be decrease. The content material I create on YouTube is distant from what it was. I used to debate my holsters as a result of the movies have been associated. However I’ve shifted the channel’s focus to out of doors gear broadly.
Clients these days are principally recurring companies and people coming from natural search on Google.
Bandholz: What’s your aggressive benefit?
Pfeiffer: We now have to be related. The Glock 19 has been the principle concealed-carry gun for years. I’ve stocked holsters for the preferred fashions. However many new weapons have appeared within the final couple of years. I haven’t stored up with producing holsters for them.
I’ve let the corporate turn into a bit stagnant. The YouTube channel is my primary enterprise — reviewing gear and beta-testing merchandise for producers. Plus I’m not making holsters anymore myself. I outsource that process.
Bandholz: Have you ever thought-about promoting to deal with YouTube?
Pfeiffer: It’s an choice. I’ve thought-about it. However I don’t wish to let the enterprise go. I benefit from the manufacturing course of. I wish to develop past holsters into preparedness gear. I’d design a medical package or pouch that works completely in a Tacoma pickup, for instance. I’d prefer to make extra merchandise for myself that others wish to purchase.
The problem is time. I’m the final contractor for our home that’s below building. I run the YouTube channel. I’ve a child coming in January. I’ll preserve the holster firm going however most likely received’t make new stuff till subsequent yr. My brother, a CAD designer, needs to assist. He informed me, “Hey, let’s make this holster empire a factor.”
Bandholz: The place can folks attain out and help you?