Strength in Numbers
By The BrassTacs
Images by Gary Stevens
How many times do you get a group of Veteran Entrepreneurs together? Usually come trade show season where guns, booze and like-minded people meet up for business, banter or both. As of about 2 months ago a group of veterans got together for the first ever meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah. Starting off by a series seminars laying out the foundation of the Veteran Business Alliance and closing out with a dumpex of ammo and a brief introduction of businesses in attendance. Leading the charge by Lt. General Mike Ferriter (Founder – The Ferriter Group), and former Special Forces Operator Evan Hafer (CEO – Black Rifle Coffee Company) with about 20 other veteran entrepreneurs; The Veteran Business Alliance was born and gained immediate traction throughout the community. “Veteran Business Alliance promotes high quality Veteran products and services to create a path of success for Veteran owned and Veteran friendly businesses in order to promote ethical economic opportunities through a community of valued-based Veteran Companies who infuse leadership, teamwork, and integrity all across America.” In short, all 37 veteran owned companies have united to bring to market a wide range of high quality products and dependable services through ethical business practices. Everyone within the Veteran Business Alliance uses their innovation, creativity and integrity to make themselves and other members better; all the while remaining profitable. By applying the traits that we learned and practiced while on active duty are the main ingredients for Veteran Entrepreneurship success.
From t shirts with catchy military and law enforcement phrases and patriotic tag lines to Cigars, members of the VBA have a such a wide reach within the pro 2A community it is virtually hard to keep track of everything. Even though there are multiple companies that are technically competing with each other within their spaces, each product represented are relevant and everyone cross promotes to add value to each others brand. The best way to assimilate business to combat operations with one word is…Tenacity. Combat Veterans do not accept failure, we count on our brethren to our left and right and are confident in our abilities (something that some would consider cocky). We take a lot of our attitude and tenacious approach to aggressive marketing strategies and putting in the work to get the job done ethically and honestly.
Recently, a few (or more like ten) threw together some of their featured products together to be raffled off to a selected Law Enforcement Officer. The purpose of the give away is to show our appreciation as veterans for our brothers and sisters in blue. The entire Law Enforcement community has had their nerves, patience and fortitude tested in the recent past; something that we could all relate to. If you enter the give away and win, you must provide current proof of law enforcement service.
Hard Head Veterans initiated the push for donated products by a post within the VBA social media outlets that solicited an overwhelming response by the members of the group. HHV burst into the market of ballistic headgear with an affordable Above The Ear tactical helmet. Similar helmets will cost the end user upwards of $1000, HHV helmets will run $450.00 shipped! Clad in OD Green the level IIIA ballistic helmet has about every bell and whistle that you can think of. Bolted side rails, adjustable internal padding, 3 hole warcomp NVG shroud and all the Velcro an operator needs for illumination and unit patches this HHVs ATE helmet is the ultimate head protection for a Law Enforcement Officer in active shooter or other tactical operations. If you are interested in HHVs headgear check them out at www.hardheadveterans.com
Strikeforce energy (SFE) was quick to answer the call out by HHV. Sean Matson immediately rogered up with the 150-count ammo can full of what some would call the nectar of the gods! The BrassTacs supplemented the initial 150 packets with 150 more. 2 Navy SEALs who saw a major gap in the energy drink market founded SFE. Other “common” energy drinks have a laundry list of ingredients that cause the customer to crash and in some cases, cause other health issues. Strikeforce is made up of B vitamins and good old fashion caffeine. Two ingredients that will no doubt keep the end user awake and alert without the crashing after they “wear off”. Strikeforce Energy offers 150 and 300 count ammo cans, whomever is selected can grab a handful and put them in his or her center console to be easily mixed with water or beverage of choice. If you just want to test them out, you can get a sample 10 count box! Each packet runs roughly $1.00 which is significantly less expensive than your typical energy drink. Head over to www.strikeforceenergy.com to #kickthecan.
Grim Blades threw a straight razor kit into the mix. Law Enforcement Officers are expected to maintain a professional appearance throughout their day-to-day operations. Grim Blades offers a wide variety of shave products sourced and manufactured right here in the United States. Each Blade is constructed from either 8/8” or 6/8” fine grain tool steel that offers and unmistaken edge which come with a lifetime honing guarantee. From rosewood to carbon fiber there is a handle option for everyone. Grim Blades offer barber tipped and rounded tips for those who prefer them. Grim doesn’t stop at blades. They offer a variety of soaps, waxes and oils that any red blooded American man would want. Grim Blades “smolder” line of pre and post shave products are among the most popular in the brand line up. Check them out at www.grimblades.com for better alternatives to slicing up your face or head with disposable razors.
Contract Clothing Company sent over some of their shirts that depict their staunch support for the 2nd Amendment and everything that goes with it. Veterans whose mission was to raise money for a fallen brother gold star mother’s charity founded contract Clothing in 2015. 100% of the profits from Contract Clothing are donated to veteran charities concentrating on gold star families. Each shirt is made from ring-spun cotton and polyester, their shirts are as comfortable and wear as any hard end user would expect. The edgy graphics are printed to Contract Clothing Company’s products in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Contract Clothing offers anything from extra smedium (slim fit) t-shirts for dudes, racer back tank tops for women and iron on with Velcro patches for everyone! You can check them out at their newly renovated website at www.contractclothingcompany.com .
Tall Man Tactical
Sent over a variety of shirts and decals. They are a veteran owned small business whose mission is to supply those who are not “vertically challenged” with clothes shirts, tactical gear and various accessories. As stated in Tall Mans mission statement, they are reaching new heights with superior gear and quality apparel supporting those who rise above; they are standing tall together! Tall Man Tactical website is still under construction and are awaiting their first shipment of inventory to ensure a well-oiled supply train. Gear, apparel and accessories from Tall Man Tactical is sure to serve the larger guys within our Law Enforcement and Military communities with a one stop shop! Check them out at www.tallmantactical.com
Freedom Defender Apparel was co-founded in Abilene, Texas by two combat veteran Medevac Crew Chiefs, Dereck Bible and Travis Bulerski. Our mission is to provide American quality apparel to America loving current military, veterans, law enforcement, and any Patriot who loves this country as much as we do! Find them at www.freedomdefenderapparel.com
Dog Tag Decals was founded earlier this year, the crew felt it necessary to provide a service to help Military, Law Enforcement and the First Responder communities further promote individual brands and unit. The brains behind the operation at DTD have been designing and cutting vinyl decals since 2008. If you are looking for swag for your own brand or simply want to tag a computer, back window…or if you’re into adhesive to paint…your tailgate of your truck, DTD has a decal for just about everyone. The crew at DTD has impeccable customer service, putting their customer base needs in front of anything else. If you have any issues with their product (even if it isn’t what you envisioned) let them know and they’ll make it right! Peruse through 5 pages of decals at www.dogtagdecals.com
Reaper Customs Metalwork’s provided their most revered “defend America” sign that will no doubt go well in a man cave or gun room. Reaper Customs is a combat Veteran owned and operated metal working company. Reaper Customs keeps their day-to-day metalworking intimate out of a 2-car garage in Arizona to keep overhead down enabling them to concentrate on quality and custom work. Reaper Customs’ portfolio starts at the famed #dicksoutforharambe movement (arguably made famous by author and director of Range 15 Ross Patterson) that ends somewhere between your preferred crest of US Military branches and a simple outline of our country; Appropriately named “Old Glory”. Reaper Customs products are die cut and built to last. Pricing for each sign varies due to size but you can get one delivered to your doorstep between $60 and $120. Custom work pricing varies to what you want and the hours put into them. Order your Reaper Customs hand crafted metal sign at www.reapercustoms.com
Celtic Shield RFID proof wallets are the ultimate protection against hackers and thieves who are hell bent on stealing your identity and money. Celtic Shield is hell bent on bringing you products that not only give you physical security against the booming business of electronically stealing your shit but also a piece of mind. The wallet is CNC cut from T6061 aircraft aluminum hand assembled by combat veterans right here in the USA. We have personally beat the ever living shit out of Celtic Shields products and they keep performing to the standard in which they were designed and built! This RFID minimalist wallet will no doubt serve its end user with the security and piece of mind that all Law Enforcement Officers need to make them more effective in serving and protecting. Check out Celtic Shield at their website www.celticshield.com for more information and product line ups!
MILLECOR has been on the scene since 2015 and has forged a reputation for offering quality nutritional supplements with a bigger purpose – to get gains and give back. The owner is a USMC combat Veteran that has served for the last 9 years as a police officer in Texas. The name MILLECOR itself helps explain the mission of the company – MIL (military) LE (law enforcement) COR (corps). The mission was to supply nutritional needs to military and law enforcement communities and give back to non-profit causes that support them as well. In their first year, over $22,000 was raised and donated to non-profit organizations and for first responder families with terminally ill children. MILLECOR offers Hero Discounts for military members/veterans and first responders (https://millecor.com/hero-discount), so you can save 25% off of all of your purchases on their website. You can find protein, pre-workouts, amino acids, vitamins, merchandise, and much more on https://millecor.com.
Our vision is to help members of our small community thrive in their day-to-day operations; no matter what they are. Law Enforcement or Military…We are fairly certain that this will not be the only give away that the VBA organizes and comes together for. Our hope is that some if not all of the products donated will help the end user do his or her job more efficiently and more effective. It is our pleasure to give back to those that have had a rough year or so. For more information on the Veterans Business Alliance please visit www.veteranbusinessalliance.com for a full list of company partners and contact info.