Hunters HD Gold is the Official Eye Wear of USPSA and Steel Challenge anecdotally I have seen their eyewear showing up all over competition shooting starting with where I first saw them at the PCC and Rimfire Championships. If you are aware of Hunters HD Gold odds are you have met my guest Brian Conley.
Speaker 1: [inaudible].
Speaker 2: Hey everybody, and welcome back to the Cindy cast on this episode we’ve got Brian Connolly from hunter’s HD gold. They’re the official eyewear of USPSA and still challenged. And anecdotally I’ve been seeing their eyewear showing up all over competition shooting, starting with where I saw them first at the piece of seat and rimfire championships. If you’re aware of hunter’s HC gold, odds are you’ve met Brian.
Speaker 3: He’s joining us now. How are you doing Brian? Hey, what’s going on? Gosh, it’s been a, it’s been too long since we’ve been in the dirt together. It’s been over a year at this point. It has and I’m have not been back to, um, where we met and um, it, Lucas all arranged so far yet this year. That was a pretty long ago. Yeah. I mean, just to be straight, I don’t think anybody has, I mean, I went there twice last year, so I’m not missing, I logged 21 days in that house last year. Well, I never got the pleasure of I’m staying in the house. I had to drive to Warsaw every day, so I got it. Yeah, it’s um,
Speaker 4: I, oh, sorry. I got my dog, Lucy here. Who is going to come here? Cool. Get in there. You’re going to take a little break. Come on. Oh, you’re all over my stuff and we’re going to have to drop an edit in here. You’re working loose Kendall up. There you go. All. Alright. She is a
Speaker 3: business associate and my secret lover, but um, she’s a pain in the ass sometimes. All right, so here we go. So yeah, you know, Lucas, um, it’s an interesting thing. They, um, you know, I was involved. So last year I was involved with um, strategic mash design and a couple of other companies that were doing major events and um, I got into it on the, well they wanted me to do media, which translated to, would you also do our prize tables? Wow. Yeah. So I did six last year and um, and then, you know, and it was, I learned a ton. It was totally worth the, the mental exercise. And at the same time, I don’t think you’ll see me doing that again. I can understand that. I actually had to, um, had the joy of walking a prize table for somebody this year when they weren’t gonna be able to walk it.
Speaker 3: And I decided that was the first and last time I want to do that as well. So yeah, I definitely have my, I want to talk about prices with you a little bit cause you guys have been really gracious, but you also have kind of a spin on that that I really like. Um, so then we can talk about a little bit later in the cast as we get deeper into, um, hunter’s ht gold specifically. But tell me before we do that a little bit about you, like you started out in insurance, is that what I’ve, I’m gathering, I’ve been in retail management since I was, um, 21. Okay. And I, I’m 48 now. Got It. I used to tell everybody I sold everything buddy insurance back. And then I had a friend of mine who was, um, owned an insurance company and he says, Hey, well go get your, go get your license and everything and this and this. He had a
Speaker 5: practice. He was starting up an insurance. I was like, well sure, why not? So 50 exams to the hardest test. I still keep those. I’m insurance licensed current today. He’d taking the ced seat CD be correct. Can’t talk, taking the credits every two years to keep my license current in the state of Alabama. So I’ve got a backup plan. If I ever got to go back and sell insurance, I’m not going to lose my license cause I think now they’re requiring a lot more to get your license and insurance, everything else. So every couple of years I walked back into a classroom and take eight hours of credits and um, fulfill those. But based on how everything is going now, I don’t really think I’m gonna have to go back down that path. And You Thompson know you guys are having a great run and uh, well so tell me like how do you go from now you, you were born and raised in Alabama, right?
Speaker 5: Yeah, I was born in Tuscaloosa and in 92, um, moved up in Birmingham. I had been in Birmingham area every since. And, um, you know, I got, you know, like I said, I went to school and, um, at the university and, um, when in criminal justice and had a path set there for me but never really finished. Once I get into retail sales, um, got a call from the local police department that I was gonna go work for. And um, they tell me my starting salary, I think back there was going to be 16, five, and at that time in retail management as a young manager at 21 years old, I’d made I think 30 something thousand dollars. So I might’ve, I made a commitment in our decision and saying, well, I’m not gonna, um, turn around and look back. I can make this much more money and not get shot at.
Speaker 5: And, um, then that’s kind of the path that shows every since I got that. And I would, I would imagine there’s more than one human being that made that calculation in their lifetime between laundry is one of those things that, um, I’ve never been in a situation where I haven’t had gainful employment based on being in that kind of environment. Had to change jobs a lot because in retail management, the way you may got a pay raise was getting recruited by somebody else certain or changing in a career path to sell something different. So, um, lots of, um, lots of training through that, through the years being able to go from different positions. I’ve managed and sold everything from, um, let me see, you know, video contents backward guy started in 92 selling big springs and camcorders and after five years that company closed up, they wrote about Tandy Corporation went to go manage your radio check and then I didn’t like selling the parts that made the big screens when I was selling the big screen.
Speaker 5: So I got out of that and went to another type of sales. But I’ve managed everything from targets to the best buys to being in the wireless industry for multiple years. And then, um, then I was in of course like we just talked about selling them insurance with a, um, insurance agency. And then, um, my current wife’s ex husband at the time, you know, called me about wanting to do their marketing and, um, stuff for the lab that I worked for now. Yeah. And, um, that was kind of an interesting blend, but we had a great working relationship and, um, started doing marketing in the lab business. So I went from the selling retail to, I’m talking directly to ophthalmologist, not Tom Matricis about how to, um, improve their sales in their field and quote unquote selling the accessories that were up. Because in the optical world, the essential, these are, you know, ars photochromics colors, tans, anything, you know, something besides just the normal thing that insurance is going to cover.
Speaker 5: And I did that for four years and then, um, got involved with, um, I’m all over the place. But then I got involved with, um, two other friends that were, one was a Napkin kinda strain. One was an older gentleman that I’ve known forever or 15 years now that was in the wireless industry. And we went together and bought some hunting property. And that was in back in, um, 2013. Um, place called triple forks hunting. We do executive hunts and stuff like that. So I had all these tools at the lab and I wanted to make myself a hunting lands and I wanted to, you know, something to enhance my hunting, you know, for what I was doing. Cause I had, um, prescription outwear and I kinda had all the, all the fun toys to play with at the lab to design something. And that’s Kinda, you know, the beginnings of where I’ve got, you know, where I am now.
Speaker 5: So it really cool. So that’s optical prescription lab, which is the, the lab, correct? That’s correct. And incorrect. Triple fork hunting LLC was something you created in 2013 it looks like. Yup. Yup. That’s correct. And that’s where we basically, we didn’t just want anybody with a hunting license and you know, a gun to come hunt. We wanted to open it up to corporations or a place for them to bring their employees and um, and really have a place to, you know, bond and um, team build based on the, you know, you know, to build the relationships with either their clients or their employees and works extremely well. And one of my business partners is still running that more. I’m not running it as much based on where hundreds HD go does that now. So I’m lane is really stepped up and made a difference for that, keeping it going on the side.
Speaker 5: So cool. I’m always curious about something. So you’re, you’re, I mean at this point, whether you intended to or not, you’re heavily involved in the firearms industry. Um, and so, well you’re not selling guns. You’re definitely directly marketing to that group with both the hunting and the, the, the hunters HD gold. So did you grow up with guns? Did you, how’d you fall out? This is, my dad had guns and um, we always use, I mean, we used to only brought them out. Usually when we traveled, it was kind of the time he put the gun in the, you know, in the trunk. And we traveled to Texas to see his family and my mom’s family in Fort Worth, you know, Dallas area. And that’s how I remember about growing up with the guns that don’t really have the history of out shooting guns myself. I just remember my dad would always take guns out there and trade with some relatives and stuff like that. Um, October of 2011, my, um, father passed away and we stayed with him the last two years of his life. I’m helping him. He died of, um, cancer and he was in a situation where, um,
Speaker 1: yeah,
Speaker 5: that’s where I inherited, you know, seven guns that he wanted me to have guns. You know, why? Um, grandfather was the mayor of, um, Bessemer, Alabama for 18 years. So he had these guns that bought a shot, guns and um, all these 11 Remington, 11 hundreds that were, um, back from the fifties and sixties. And how all these pictures with, um, local, um, celebrities, we’ll call it the, um, bear Bryant’s and stuff like that of shooting these guns and out shooting together and doing a bunch of ’em dog hunting and stuff. So there’s a lot of history with these guns that I inherited. And that’s Kinda what got everything started. Cause every time I look at sharing, we’re talking or something, I always like, you know, you realize your fathers, you know, started this back in 2011, just had no idea where I was going to go. Yes.
Speaker 5: So that kind of got me involved in, you know, collecting guns and um, and getting started there in 2011. And that’s what caused me that, you know, back here in the, um, previous presidency where I was wanting to say anyway, he bought some property and, you know, I have a place to shoot this and train and you know, hot and, you know, and everything else that was being, you know, jeopardize back in the, um, the 2000, you know, late 2000. Yup. Years of that. And, um, that’s kind of where everything got started. And then when I actually had a gentleman, when we were building the lake at, um, triple forks hunting and, um, had a gentleman, Marketo bulldozer, it, it was moving dirt for the lake and he comes up to me and goes, hey, I need you to get me some more of this wasp spray.
Speaker 5: Um, that looks like it’s in Pelham, Alabama. And I was like going, Huh, it’s in my backyard. Sure. I go and look into it. Yeah. And, um, so I took this can, it was, um, kind of rainbow wasp spray. So I took it to the building and um, had to be buzzed in. They weren’t open to the public and I was like, I walked to the door and I was like, Hey, I want to buy this wash spray. And I’m like, well, we really don’t sell to the public, but hold on one second. And they went back in the back and then gentleman came out and he was like, where’d you hear about this? And I want it just to go on a bulldozer and I’m no, Port Alabama handed it to me and said, you know, come get some. He goes, well, we really don’t.
Speaker 5: Some of the public, you know, but, but however, you know, here’s the icing on the land of Basaam and you know, so forth and I’ll let my business card with you before it’s hunting. And he gave me his, um, and um, I went off on my merry way and went online and ordered some. And um, then about, yes, about a week later, if not yet, not that long. Um, the one of the owners of Rainbow Technologies, Larry Joe steely junior called me up and says, you know, hey, I see that you have a hunting camp and, um, so forth and tell me about that. When did that process, and he actually booked a hunt with his brother and one of his employees to come out there during hunting season. And then, um, we become a cane. You know, Franz went after, did the hunt together in the early fall, late fall season when the hunting season was starting.
Speaker 5: And, um, he saw the lenses there that I had used. I’d made up some just some demo stuff there as you want to use tested with, um, you know, people that were coming to hunt. I’d already was testing the lens with some game wardens, stuff like that. You know, just trying to get their feedback and stuff cause I was made a lens that, you know, allowed me to see a lot earlier in the mornings to hunt and in the state of Alabama hunting hours of defined 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset. These were actually bringing in enough light to be able to hunt during those hours when it’s pretty dark. So having the hunting property, I’d already made friends with a bunch of the game wardens cause I wanted them to be, you know, the places, two hours from where I live. So I always wanted them around the property to be able to keep watching what was going on and gave them full rights to come out there anytime they wanted to.
Speaker 5: They saw some suspicious, you know, come hang out at the place and you know, using this, it’s kind of your home base. So that met Larry and Larry come out there and did a hunt and he got me involved in them. He goes, you ever do any competitive shooting or anything? And I was like, no. And um, he was doing cowboy action shooting and not a time slap, you know, single action shooting to Saudi SAS. And he got me involved in that and I was pretty intrigued cause I always, you know, like I said, I was collecting guns that look like this was going to give me another reason to, um, to buy some more guns, which I was all about. So got my cowboy outfits together and um, we got me at, um, an 1873 navy arms of Winchester that had been ridden and um, couple of Ruger voke heroes that we’d set off to have tripped out.
Speaker 5: Um, stoker double barrel shotgun and I wish you can. Cowboy action shooting was a blast. And I’ve had these lenses I’ve made there and I’m using them. And couple of locals there were like, what are you wearing? It’s awesome. And made Larry Joe some of course, and he was all about it. And Larry Joe steely, if you don’t recognize that name, he’s the gentleman that now alone still target paint. Oh Man. That’s the correlation there. This is before still target pink was even created. Yes. So if this time, you know, he was telling me, you know, I’m thinking about making a paint for the steel targets, he saw a need there. And um, the locals were all kind of intrigued about what I’d done with these. Lindsay goes, I really think you got something here. You gotta to see what you can do with it. And I started getting more intrigued cause I was already, I was kind of, you know, thought about going down the hunting road and I was doing a couple of, I didn’t do any shows.
Speaker 5: I was visiting a couple of ’em, you know, directs expos and stuff like that. Just trying to see what was going on and made it a couple of visits to shot show with, um, some of my friends that start arms, they’re hearing best from Alabama, about 20 minutes away and became good friends with them. So I was, you know, intrigued in what was really happening around the lands and what kind of feedback I was going to get. So I went to shot show a couple of years before it was, um, anything just to see if anybody was offering something I’d already created in the lab and make sure I wasn’t walking into something that was already there. So why create something that somebody else is already putting out there? And there’s already a market that’s already been exposed to it.
Speaker 5: Um, come to find out there was nobody that was putting a traffic’s lands together with a photochromatic combination. And, um, so I was even more intrigued to see where this would really go. And then I guess about a year later, Larry Joe Staley Jr was running, you know, had his thing going with still target paint. And he had called me up and says, I think I found a way pressed again and the competitive shooting, I was like, what do you mean? You know, everybody, you know, Sass already knows about it locally. You talked about something that goes, no, no, I think it’s something bigger. Even with this thing called steel challenge. He goes, he had met a, he had met a competitive shooter named Steve Foster out of Georgia and was thinking about putting a team together. And um,
Speaker 1: okay,
Speaker 5: he asked me if I wanted to, um, sponsor the team. I was like, well sure, what does that, what do you want? What do you want to do? He goes, well, I’m just very, we put them all in hunters, HD gold. Well I’ll put a Jersey together and we’ll get your, you know, logo on the Jersey. And I said, sure, why not? Sounds great. And um, that’s Kinda how I got involved with, um, steel challenge. Really cool. Wow. Oh my goodness. An interesting, you know, why do you get into it? Cause I had no idea what I was doing and I was, you know, I knew what I was doing on the land side, but I had no idea what the, um, competitive shooters of steel challenged was. I knew about Calloway shooting cause I’ve been doing that for about, you know, six or eight months, you know, once or twice a weekend.
Speaker 5: And I had a lot of fun with that. I didn’t really think it was going to go much farther. And I was focused on the hunting side. So we were already testing a lot of products at triple forks hunting. I was obtained up with, um, Pradco, they’re here in Birmingham as well and they all, they all Moultrie summit on tree stands Code Blue Night and hell game calls a lot of other brands. Yeah, I had come pretty close with veil and still close with them. Today. I’m testing their products out in the field and I’m had a lot of those guys, you know, helping me. Um, did some testing with hunters HD going and having some other avenues with on the hunting side. You know, with, I’m trying to get a hundred HD go to see what kind of um,
Speaker 5: way I could break into the industry. You kind of see what that looks like with my, with my lenses, but I’m meeting, I’m stay, you foster kinda change that entire direction. I kind of told the hunters I’ll be back with you later. This is something that’s really happening now. And Steve Foster had actually told me that um, he was always finished in second and third and once he got a hold of the 160 go and he was actually finishing first, that’s the only thing he changed. Found that kind of, you know, intriguing because I didn’t realize, you know what, I was really opening up to the competitive shooters to find them a shooting at vantage. I knew we had one in cowboy action shooting, but the targets are a lot closer and there’s not much distance involved. It was just about more of transitioning and being able to work a leap or action and reloading your shotgun fast regardless,
Speaker 3: regardless of the platform, regardless of the game. I think Jerry Mitchell, he says it best is like you can see it fast, you can shoot it fast.
Speaker 5: Yup. And that’s what [inaudible] when we were thinking about slogans, we were going through that, my wife and um, we were going back and forth cause one of the things she said is you can only shoot as fast as you can. See that’s what it is. That’s what it is. She always wants to put something together with the lenses being able to change in the eye. And she actually came up with a slogan as well. They changed so you don’t have to. So that was kind of, you know, that kind of told a story about you know, the land without, you know, getting too much into it just because I have a lot of people would still walk up to the tent today when I traveled and I go, what is this? They changed it. I’ll have to, and it just opens up the story. So it’s working real well.
Speaker 3: That’s really good. Well, okay, this is like, you just opened up like a bout a thousand conversations. Okay, good. So first thing I want to say is, is I’ve been, I’ve been in the firearms industry now for Ah, well, let’s see. I’ve been really engaged as a consumer for about seven or eight years now and I’ve been engaged as a service provider for let’s say five or six of those years. And I can’t tell you how many people stumble into their careers. Like I just was looking for something for myself that worked better. Alex gun works. Great example. That guy just wanted a gun that worked better for himself, made a gun work great, kept making him. Um, you know, I’m here, I hear this over and over and it’s really interesting to me how few people in the modern games are, um, on the gaming side of things.
Speaker 3: Uh, started with hunting and started a lot. I mean like, you know, you and I both grew up, like I didn’t grow up around guns and sound like you, you know, you had him in the House, dad had him, but no, it wasn’t like you grew up shooting every weekend or he lived on the farm shooting all the time. Um, and just how many people have like really who have really advanced the sports significantly come from like a whole different world of um, you know, uh, firearms used to saw post 18, you know, um, it’s fascinating. But let’s do this. I um, so when you were starting to develop this lens, so let’s just explain this to those who you know, I’ll give the simpleton. So for those of you who aren’t watching this on video or you’ve never seen 180 gold lens is a essentially a very bright yellow lens, not unlike what you’ve seen in inexpensive, um, lenses.
Speaker 3: Like, if you just saw somebody walking by, you know, you find that like you buy the three pack, there’s the smoke, there’s the red and there’s the yellow and you throw away the yellow and you take the smoke and the red with you out to the right, you know? Um, and so it looked kind of like that, but then you put them on and instead of it just liking everything, like super vivid and uncomfortable. Cause when I wear yellow lenses, I’m just like, I mean it’s just like I’m being assaulted by light. I don’t like it. You put these on and it takes a second. Especially if you haven’t worn them before and then you sort of like, I don’t know, you’re like relax into this. Just sort of flow a light into your eyes all day. And what you don’t notice is they’re photochromatic so they’re adjusting and the amount of light they’re letting in based on the conditions outside, which is something like, you know, if he told me his photochromatic I immediately would be thinking of my brother’s like 1978, you know, a glasses that he wore that were just not cool by even 1978 standards does that.
Speaker 3: But as a shooter, as a competitor outside all day long and all kinds of different light, you know, light’s always changing and you’re either switching lenses all day long or your, you know, you could wear these and they give you that all day sense. And I, I use them all the time. Um, I have them, I mix them with a couple of other things and I want to talk about that with you in a second. Cause I’ve recently gotten into this tactical games thing and um, I think I need a specific set of la or like frame for that. I got it. I’ll talk to you about that, maybe offline, but like, um, cause I’ve got, I w you know, you made me, you gave me a set of the archers right away, the day that we were out there and um, at, I think that was PCC championships, there’s a PCC roll championship.
Speaker 3: Give you a pair of orange shoes to wear around. I wore, Oh man, I wore them all. I wore them for the two days of the event. And see for me the biggest issue I have is I’m always transitioning back and forth between shooting the guns and dealing with cameras and electronics when all that kind of stuff. So like I’m changing things now. My eyes have gotten a little a showing off my, you know, readers right now, but my eyes in the last couple of years have significantly, um, diminished and quality. But I’m, I’m always switching back and forth between glasses, between what I’m shooting with when I’m working with, you know, polarized glasses, make my screen look like crap. Um, you know, there’s a lot, whatever you go back and forth. So like I where it’s just become kind of a thing for me. I’ve always got three or four pairs when I’m going to shoot and do cameras.
Speaker 3: I always just wear the eight hundreds HD gold now cause they just worked perfectly for both. Um, and the only negative is occasionally I’ve got to flip them up so that I can like make sure my color balance is correct before I start filming something. I have on a couple of occasions gotten an under saturated shot cause my lenses were exaggerating the Co, you know, so much the color richness. So, um, and I just, so I use them all the time and you’ve got a couple of friends here up in town now. Like A, Dustin Sanchez is one who is wearing your lens now and um, and they’re released. We made him a pair of custom pair as well. Yeah, I know. I know we’re all were us three gunners or a bunch of premadonnas or like I can’t possibly wear
Speaker 5: in shooting sports offhand. That I think I learned that the hard way at the PC works with PCC world championship and everybody goes, Oh, all righty.
Speaker 3: Yeah. Well look, I mean, and I, you and I had a pretty cool interview. If you go to the huck origins youtube channel, there’s an interview of the two of us that I did, um, at the PCC champion. No rimfire we met at PCC, but we did that when it rimfire and I’d had some experience then with your lens and that’s when you made me the ones in the Oakleys. I was like, I love these lenses. I don’t like the frames. Okay. Whatever. So, and we’ve had this conversation, we don’t need to rehash this, but um, so you made me a set of Oakleys I took a set up. Yeah. I think I took a set out of my car and sent him with you. And you made a set of Oakleys for me with these lenses. And those were the ones that were, I mean, I literally wear ’em all the time.
Speaker 3: That where I’m driving around I where I’m there, they’re kind of my constant rotation. If I’m wearing black boots, I’m wearing my hunters h g gold for wearing brown boots. I’m probably still wearing my Oakleys, but you know, so, um, so that’s Kinda like I’m a pretty simple guy. It’s like my glasses go with my boots. Um, but, um, and then I wear them, you know, all summer. I am also setting up matches I’m doing. And then I shoot the match and they work all day for all of that. And we run right up until nine o’clock here in Minnesota, which this time of year we’re getting to the point where it’s almost dark and I’m not switching to clears, which is just huge. Um, I can’t, I wouldn’t tell you if there’s an advantage per se, um, in my shooting, but I’m not at the level where like any, especially any more where like you, I would notice such a subtle difference.
Speaker 3: Right. You know, not, not a hundred thought at first place, you know. Um, and so, but I will say that just from a personal comfort level, they’re fantastic. And then I wear ’em all the way home in the car because I have like a blue light thing. It’s like I tried to get my s I’m really conscious of my sleep and um, and they block some of the blue light from my car all the way home, but I could still see and drive and they blocked glare. So they just kind of cover me from the moment I leave the house till the moment I come home and I never, the glass is just managing that. So that’s kind of like the layman’s term of what they’re doing. But I’m curious from your standpoint, like what was the design philosophy like? I mean, I know you tried a bunch of different things, but what did you finally end up with? Well, there was a lens that came out
Speaker 5: how many years ago? Back in the light, I guess early two thousands and then went through the probably 2010 or left. And that was a, um, company that had put out a actual actual shooting and hunting lands that had been discontinued. And that gave me an idea where to start at, because when I was talking to my wife about what I wanted to do, she goes, I think there’s already something like this out there. I said, well, why is it not being, you know, talked about? And she was like, well, doctors don’t, the aren’t talking about it because they aren’t asking their patients lifestyle questions. They’re just trying to get through as a general thing. They’re just trying to get through and do the eye exams and try to control what insurance is going to pay him. But they’re not selling multiple pairs of glasses. Right. And that’s something we deal with every day still today in the optical industry.
Speaker 5: You know, trying to get doctors to talk about more lapdog questions. Because when you get into people’s, you know, what they do besides, you know, just going to work every day, you know, they need glasses for different things that they do. And if you’re on a computer all day, there’s a computer lands. If you’re playing golf, there’s a golfing lens. If you need no shooting and hunting, we now know there’s a hunting lands. If you are driving, there’s a driving lens that helps out for different things. And I’m fishing of course you need Polaroid polarized lenses and fishing and you need prescription polarized lenses and you know, you can find that by actually talking to people. And that’s what I kind of brought to the optimum industry with all my years of experience in retail was qualifying a customer to really, you know, talk to them and find out what other needs they may have than just needing quote unquote glasses.
Speaker 5: And that’s what gave me the idea of running into so many different things, whether it be with a hunting lands, because you know there’s a lake, I don’t know how much you want to remember. I’d probably do somewhere, but going through all the R and d of the one away lenses that this thing I’ll work cause I know work. Yes, I like this, but no I don’t like this. And then, you know, we, we threw away a lot trying to find the right combination of what we wanted to do and, or what we wanted to accomplish and what we wanted to accomplish was, um, one, we knew that the base of being tribex was superior to plastic or polycarbonate hands down because tribex by itself is lighter and stronger than plastic or polycarbonate, and also allows 43% more light to pass through the lens than polycarbon now.
Speaker 5: Okay. Wow. We knew the only other optics that are better than tribex is glass. And we didn’t want to have glass anywhere around any including my own, anywhere near around our eyes as something catastrophic happen because glass, you know, shards and just is a disaster for your eyes. Yeah. That’s not that dog will hunt. But believe it or not, I still see people wearing Kostas every day when they go shooting. And that’s just, you know, I like coach. I, there’s that role with that coach is a great brand. So [inaudible] jams. There’s a lot of great brands out there in the [inaudible] industry, but those are fishing glasses. And that’s how they marketed. But people still use them today because they want the, you know, the big C on there, you know, they’re on their truck when they go hunting. That’s just part of it. Totally. But if you stand around any three gun match, you rimfire match anything where the steels be in shot, you’re going to eventually end up a wipe and blood off your face from a frat.
Speaker 5: Yeah, exactly. And when I went to my, when I went to Sherri and I said, this is where I’m wanting to go with this, I really think I’ve got something. And um, she goes, well, where the hell is our liability? I’m not taking a company. We started back in 1977 and gets screwed up or something. We just coming up with and I was like, oh, well that makes sense. I said, hell no, I’ll get back with you. So about two days later, I got back with it. I said, I figured it out. We’re gonna do everything. And um, OSHA safety frames and all the lenses. We’re going to do an ansi standard 2015 cause most of the cyclins that are out there, only 2000, three, 2010 and we’re going to take it all we 2015 and she says, well get me the OSHA certificate and you can go from there.
Speaker 5: And um, about six months later I got everything approved going through a lot, some more trials and this working and not working and paying a lot of money to have a bunch of lenses come back to me and didn’t pass and trying to figure out why and put other coatings together and other solutions together to finally get the certificate. And um, we move forward at that point. And that’s what informed the original selection of frames. Correct. Is the ocean rating. That’s, you know, that’s why we have the frames we have, cause they’re all Ziad, seven plus one and z 87 plus two for prescriptions. And that’s the difference than our frames are. And you should have saw the frames that were out when we first got started. We’d come along on frames because you know, there’s no such thing as a sexy safety frame. And now wife to this day still hates these frames as a huddle.
Speaker 5: And the new velocity that we just came out with was another frame style that finally came out that we worked with the manufacturer to get some that were listening to us to try to get some things like we want. And that’s kind of where we’re at now. And I’ve got some, still have some frame manufacturers I’m working with up in New York area that are, you know, tried to design more and more stuff. That is, I’m quote unquote getting more of a more photo friendly. Here’s your commitment. Those to stay OSHA approved with all of your frames. It is okay. And the reason being is is it’s about safety. We’re talking about safety, we’re talking about protecting the only two eyes you’re gonna have period. And you know, do we have some stuff out there? What? You’ve got one that’s not us framing. We have the conversation, it’s got the same properties, it’s got the same thickness, it’s got the same everything. But you’ve got to remember, I can’t put an anti rated frame and a non safety frame. So conversation I have with you, you got the same thing. It just doesn’t have the Ansi markings. Correct. It won’t, you know, based on what OSHA has put in front of us, it will not, you know, provide the same protection. But conversation is, is this the same thickness as the same everything you know, it should, you know, just don’t have the same, you know, Angie ratings on, yeah.
Speaker 3: So does that, does that make it impossible to have a, a lens that has no w you know, sorry I say this better. Does that make it impossible to create an OSHA rated lens that doesn’t have any frame around like the bottom half for example?
Speaker 5: Not at all. There’s one thing about it, there’s not an interchangeable lands out there that is OSHA approved. I got now. Now that was saying that we are working on some things now on a model that’s going to roll out if everything still goes as planned in January of 2020 yeah. So we have been, we’ve got some things in testing. We’re still waiting to get some stuff back from, um, the writings. But there is that OSHA approved, you know, rimless frame that we are working on. That’s going to be a game changer for almost to get into the shotgun world more. And also to get in a situation where we can deliver what you and all the other shooters you’re telling me, you know, hey, what can we do to get nothing at the bottom? What can we do to get nothing, you know, there, so we’re working on that.
Speaker 5: Um, that’s gonna be a whole different, um, level of taking it to the next level for hunters HD because one of those things that’s going to be, you know, we’ve still got to worry about the, um, the safety, but we’re trying to listen very diligently to every, you know, shooter we can to get the feedback. Cause when I do demo days, I do it for two reasons. One is to go out there and use the Lens, you know, I know what they’re going to like about it, but I want to, I want to hear more from the shooters that don’t like it. Yes. Can I tell them that? Because if this is where I can take the brand in the future, does it mean it’s going to happen tomorrow? No, but if I get enough feedback on a certain area, just like we were talking about now with rem lists, then guess what?
Speaker 5: The future is bright. We’re going to have a rimless site, the frame going as planned. And when you talk about that then you’re talking about different shapes and different things best. Let’s make clear, it’s not going to be just a one piece frame. We’ve talked about one piece lands, we talked about that before, that that’s an injected molding process and it’s all, you know, call the carpet. There’s a lot of things there that, you know, we’re limited to the blanks of the, of the, of the lands itself at 80 millimeters. You know, it’s gonna have to still be two separate lenses, but it’s going to be something that is going to be, you know, lighter and uh, keep the same strength as well.
Speaker 3: Well let me, let me dig into this a little bit cause this is like really interesting to me personally. And I, you know, and I don’t know if others will enjoy it. And that’s not really why I do this. Um, so, so really cool. So like I would say, you know, arguably, well first of all, there’s, there’s a lot of great conversations and I want to exclude a handful of things to begin with to make life really easy and fair for us to have a conversation. So, um, I let me say this anecdotally, I am standing at Ahrens and arms, which is an awesome gun shop here in town. We sell lots of high end equipment, lots of high end guns. If you want three gun gear, you’re probably coming or USPSA gear, you’re probably coming to us, right? And they’ll, um, I can’t tell you how many people are like, like, I mean, just like, uh, obsessing about the details between two or three, $2,000 optics for their rifle.
Speaker 3: And then they tell me that and I asked them what shooting glasses they’re wearing and they’re spending about $45 over the counter. And I’m like, ew, this doesn’t matter. Get the cheapest thing possible. Cause you know, if you’re not gonna look through a good lens. So we can, we’re excluding everything in the, in the lower cost categories for the most part in this conversation. Right. And I say that because, you know, this is one thing about a hundred days she called. This is not an inexpensive lens, right? That’s correct. Yeah. And so this is somebody who’s looking for a very high end, very tailored lens specifically for what they’re up to. Now you go into rim fire or steel challenge shooters, they’re always living with a single focal point with their eyes or sh or directly through the glass and they’re making small adjustments, right? They’re not having to like calculate targets, you know, 90 degrees to their left in order to see where that’s happening before they break a shot and move.
Speaker 3: Right? There’s certainly not dealing with what we’re dealing with, whether they’re looking through the top of their eyes and the bottom of their eyes, depending on the angle up and down, they’re dealing with [inaudible] long range rifle shooting. So, um, then we kind of get into like what’s out there in the, you know, premium marketplace and really there’s only a couple. And I would assume you hear a lot about Oakley in your world, right? Just cause the Oakley’s the, um, the painless, you know, there’s a lot of ranger arms, there’s a lot of Nice stuff. Yeah. And they make two lenses. We specifically see a lot of in our world, which is the flax, which is a two lens interchangeable model. And then the tombstones, they have a couple of versions of the wraith and whatever. Um, and I have a set of the tombstones that I use.
Speaker 3: Those are my primary, if I’m doing lots of shooting on multiple angles at different, you know, targetry and all kinds of stuff, that’s one of my go to lenses because it’s lightweight wraps around the head and I’ve got completely unobscured vision anywhere. I might, you know, angle the gun short of like shooting down through my feet, which doesn’t happen very often. Oh yeah, it has happened, but it doesn’t have ever happened. That’s usually a result of some sort of catastrophic mistake. On my part where now the only way that you can engage the target is on my back through my legs. Um, but that’s a hasn’t happened. It has. Um, and that’s, I go to that Lens for that very specific reason. So big terrain matches lots of running, lots of open space. That’s something I’m wearing. Um, that’s the only other shooting lens that I wear besides the HD Gold’s now.
Speaker 3: And, um, and so for me, that’s the one thing about these glasses that I, you know, and even with my Oakleys, which are perfect, um, that’s the one time that I don’t wear them. And that’s just because I just don’t have the Mo. I mean those, I think the wraith and the, the tombstone line has got arguably the most field of view available without obstruction on the marketplace. So I’m not sure where I’m going with this other than to say like, how are you dealing with that? Um, cause you’re, you’re convincing three gunners, slowly but surely, I’m starting to see these things show up. Um, you know, obviously it’s an objection you’re dealing with. What is the conversation like around that?
Speaker 5: Um, take them to trial. Yeah. Really, really tight. Come and try him. Um, cause I, and I’ve had this conversation with some shooters, I won’t mention their name, but because they are very, they do a lot of training and they’re very specific in what they do. And I don’t want to get involved in some detailed conversations. Yeah. When the, when you try them and you use them and you put yourself in a, and when I, I’ll back up 20 seconds, I’ll tell you, I’ll tell them to take them with them off the stages. Yeah. Well the walk that, you know, they got to 10 minutes so I’ll take, take them with the law at this stage. No, I can, when I did a lot of matches, especially three Golytely, they’ve all been championships. Nobody likes to change gear in the middle of the match. Correct.
Speaker 5: I get that they’re already there. They’re there to win. They’d been practicing. So take them and try and when you want the stage. And that’s my soft approach to saying, put them on, see where the contrast is and when you walked the stages, you know, walk and see exactly what’s happening when you move your head with these lenses. Um, come to find out with the new velocity that we have, um, that we just came out with in January for USPSA Ayers gives a lot wider view than people imagine with a smaller lands. And that’s a little bit more wrap on it. But
Speaker 1: yeah,
Speaker 5: people are finding out, you know, when they, when they see me at the [inaudible] that can put them on, they’re like, well I can see this. I can see that. Well of course you’re not engaged in high heart rate, high situation, the timer’s not going off and your focus is not where it needs to be, which is through your optics, where your sides, um, when this happens for lack of a better vision, for lack of better words, tunnel vision and your direct focus has taken over. Yup. You don’t notice anything but what you’re looking at and what’s your end game? 100% I call alligator brain. There, there is transition period where you have to cut your eyes and be ready for the next target. But it doesn’t really affect that either. On some of the frame styles we have, there are some, we had their closed off and that’s, you know, it’s not good.
Speaker 5: But I always tell people, you know, we have the discussion when I go to these matches, you know, they say, well, what’s the difference? I was so, all the lenses are the exact same. So the only differences yet and what we’re looking for in a frame, they pick this up. I’m like going, that’s not gonna work. Try this one. And I’ll put them in. I push towards the gauge, the aviator, um, for the, for the 70s, you know, look, or the either the velocity because I know the rat allows a lot more. Yes, you can get it. I have fun with all these, you know, [inaudible] it doesn’t bother me when people say, well, I look like a, you know, an old, you know, seventies, you know, you know, porn star, it doesn’t bother me. You know, it’s not my fault. They have a mustache. That’s right.
Speaker 5: But oh wait, we have a lot of fun with it. But truth be told, it’s once we get past the vanity, which is not easy to do. I want, I want people to focus on the lens. And when people try and when they go out and use them, they’re like, you know, they come back going, well I didn’t notice any of the sides. You know, I don’t want to look at somebody and say, well you’re not gonna notice that when you shoot, cause I don’t shoot myself. I just know based on what the eyeball does, I don’t want to get in people’s, you know, I not tell them what they’re gonna say or how they’re going to see it go track theirself. And I guess getting back to the answer, your question specifically is just go demo it for yourself. Go try it. Um, does it work every time?
Speaker 5: No, but I get the feedback I need where I can take it to the next level. And, um, when, you know, like I said, what’s going to happen come January is going to be, you know, a lot of people coming back around and saying it’s time for me to try it again. Well that’s really good. So let’s transition just a little bit. I mean the one thing I’ve really noticed cause I, I did a little dive on like the overall like um, know like I would for any company that solicited my business, the marketing firm, right. This is just do a little dive in like what, where you are, where you’re out there in the digital space and all that. And you know, I mean you have a decent presence on several sites but I mean the main thing that you’ve seem to be doing is you’re out there every weekend at the match, putting the glasses in people’s hands.
Speaker 5: Is that the last year primary strategy for the company? It’s, it’s one of those things where when I talk to Sherry about it, I said I’ve got to go educate people on lenses and technology. You can’t do that. You can, but nobody’s going to just take the time to go to the benefits page 160 and go and study that. I mean, it’s there, everything’s there. But to be able to actually talk to somebody about it and actually say, well, why is it doing this compared to this? And I get to talk about the technology to people and educate when I go to these matches. I’m not, you know, this sounds crazy. I’ve been in, I’ve been in sales my whole life. I’m not there to just sale. I’m there to educate and build relationships. Yup. That’s what it’s all about. I’ve been doing, you know, I have so many people don’t have some people walk up that are in sales saying, why didn’t you ask for the order?
Speaker 5: I’m like going, they’re not ready to buy yet. They’re going to let you know. I can get, don’t get me wrong, I can sell it better. I’ve been doing it all my life, but I go out there and I start selling and promoting and putting somebody in a position where they’re going to go home and go, what the hell did I just buy? Right? Then you have buyer’s remorse that for sure in the social media world that we live in today, you know, that can kill your writings real quick. You don’t want that. And that’s one reason why when I do demo days, there truly is no pressure. My job is to educate, let people experience it. And even on the prescription side, I actually make your prescription before you buy it and you get to demo with your prescription as well. There’s nobody ever heard of this before, and my wife goes, you’ve lost your mind. I’ve got doctors that don’t pay their bill. I said, you don’t these shooters, myself being a shooter when I got started. Yep. The, we’re different and we’re not going to be known as that individually. We’re not gonna be known as that guy or that person that didn’t pay for something. And especially Zuni world. It’s a very, it’s a, it’s an amazingly huge shooting world, but it’s a small world when it comes to somebody doing something or not supposed to do
Speaker 3: blows me away. I, it’s one thing, I mean obviously you’ve gotten to know a lot of shooters now and you’ve, you’ve come to a conclusion that um, that many do. I mean, I take a, I’m like the only game in Minnesota that’ll take a credit card for a matching and I don’t ask people to sign, which is obviously a, a liability from a business standpoint. Never even crossed my mind. I’m like, we don’t, we don’t
Speaker 5: either. It’s just one of those things that, you know, I always have people ask me all the time, you know, especially I get a lot of emails and everybody goes, what’s the warrant? I’m like going, well, what it a warranty warranty? A warranty is nothing but a state of mind. Correct? Correct. Okay. I’ve sold extended warranties to all the places I worked. I’ve sold warranties, I’ve sold, I’ve sold people a state of mind. And the reason being that there’s no actual warranty listed on the website is because warranties don’t have to really be curated until somebody take it takes advantage of something. Now let me tell you what I mean by that. My philosophy, when somebody catches a frag or something happens, they contact me. I’m just gonna replace the Lens. Yep. No questions asked. Um, if somebody sends me a pair of glasses that have had, um, I can, I can we say lenses every day by our doctors that returned stuff for warranty.
Speaker 5: It’s where the manufacturer, we are the warranty. We handle everything. Yep. So seeing lenses come every day, I can tell when a lens has been abused. You know what I mean by abused is leaving it just on the dash your car in extreme heat, um, cleaning it, um, and causing scratches because of clean. Um, we see everything and that people try to put my people a lot smarter than me in the lab here. You know, we know how to identify things. So when I talk to people about, you know, cleaning, you know it with, they come with cleaning instructions, like they come with a, they come a z clear, which is a cleaner, an atoll fogging agent, you know that, you know, we try to do anti fogging in house. I have all the tools to do it in the house, but there’s another heating and cooling process that causes us to fail Ansi standards.
Speaker 5: So we had to find an outside source and I met up with um, Chris Ward who owns z clear and then that’s why we package everything and hunter’s HD go. Was he clear? There are specific things we put in place with every part of the process to be able to try to overcome the objections before they become objections. And I’ve had people that have brought me lenses before saying I’ve got this stuff in here. I can’t get it off the lens. Am I going? Yeah, this is where pretty much you cleaned your lenses with your jersey, where your shirt, which is the worst thing to do because every bit of dust and dirt that’s on that Jersey is going to get in there. And that’s what scratches and this, it’s when you’re using that, I’ll talk to them. I say, well take them back. I’m still replace them for weed because I’m here to, I mean I’m not here to sell another pair of lenses every time someone has a problem or I’m here to, you know, build customers for life.
Speaker 5: So I’ll tell them, you know, well next time before you clean your lenses, take whatever liquid you have, be it, um, water, kool-aid and Gatorade poured on lenses cause there’s a hydrophobic top coat that’s not gonna allow anything to stick to them. Then clean them with the stuff that we provided. And then, you know, here’s a new, you know, here’s your, here’s a set of lenses and replaced no charge. If this happens again, I’m gonna charge you $2,000. So it’s just, you know, cause we’ve had, you know, it’s all a part of training happens. Um, so, you know, we, I have fun and I’m not just dealing with, you know, if somebody has a problem, it’s just not a customer. I said it’s a person. I’ve met some person I’ve come to know and we have, we have a real life conversation just like we just had, you know, she’s like, this is, this is how you, how you can overcome this in the future.
Speaker 5: Don’t do that. It’s so clear. Cause I see you out there and there’s just, there’s always a line of people to come talk to you and check them out and figure it out. And part of that is, I also have been, I don’t know if you’re still doing this, but at least the last season you were doing like a custom set of glasses for each, for each. Yes. I still, I still do that. Getting Ready to, you know, not when I’m sure this podcast is going to be produced, I mean published, but I’ll be somewhere else this weekend with another custom pair everywhere I go. And um, that’s, that’s part of the fun because it does two things. One, it brings people to the tent to see what I’ve got. Cause I don’t ever release any pictures of it until the day of. So people want to come see what I’ve put together and I gathered their email address for any kind of, you know, a future marketing’s or any new product releases.
Speaker 5: What’s a good way to, you know, the catcher that on the business side, I’m always have people all the time ask me, you know what, they email me all the time. I said, I don’t have time that, you know, so you may get an email once or twice a year about product, you know, a new product update or something that’s happening in the, in the, in the honey hundreds HD gold world. But, um, those are mine to keep and I’m not going to sell in anybody. So, um, I’ve had people ask me in the industry, you know, hey, can I get, you know, have some email addresses for this and this? And I’m like, no, I can’t do that. Just like the, when I became part of the USPSA I talked to them and I said, do y’all have an emails out there that can market to, and it’s actually in their bylaws, the answer’s no, which is fine.
Speaker 5: So I still had to create a way to, you know, build my own list and um, my list I feel in some cases is better than their list because um, if they’re not at the award ceremony, the only way I’m going to contact and let them know is through email cause I’m not collecting phone numbers or anything else. So they, they’re, you know, they’re inclined to give you their correct email address. So when I do have time to send out an email about a product release or what we’re doing on youtube or whatever we’re doing, um, which has happened, not all think, but once this year when our first time I contest the beginning of the year that lasted out the entire year, they actually emailed everybody. And when are, when I sent out that email, I had a pretty high, I mean, think my open rate was like 80 something percent. So that’s pretty high based on talking to other people that are only getting 20 or 30% of their open rates. So kidding. When I email somebody, it’s like, hey, you know, it’s not very often and you know, we all get those emails two or three times a day from the same company and we, you know, they just become like, I just need to go away. They just see everything and you stuff
Speaker 3: that’s a real markable number. Right? That’s like, I mean, when we were marketing my mom, uh, my family’s been residential real estate for a very, very long time and she was very early on in the email marketing and when we were sending out emails, you know, like 2005 to 10, somewhere in there, 70 to 90% open rate was like pretty awesome. Right? Uh, but now 70 90% is like three x. They did not it. Like I told you, when I go meet all these people, what am I doing? I’m, I’m making friends, I’m building relationships. How many times you open an email from your friend [inaudible] it’s all about building that relationship. Well, the other thing too is, I mean, I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but like I, you know, if you went to American Express and you asked them for email addresses that were as fine tuned as humanly possible to get, um, to get like the right client, right?
Speaker 3: You’d pay like five to $10 per email address. Wow. And that’s nothing compared to how refined they are when they opt in directly to your company. Right. So when I tell my clients, for example, is like on your website, wherever you’re at, consider that every time someone gives you an email address, it’s like they handed you a $5 bill and that’s on the bottom of the value of it, right? And you start looking at these assets. I mean, we’ve got companies that have 10, 12,000 email addresses. I mean, that’s a 50 or $60,000 minimum asset that people have built up over time. Um, you know, look, I mean you’re not in a position where tomorrow going to come along
Speaker 5: and say you can’t market anymore on Facebook because you’re a, you know, you’re in the protective. Oh really? Some of the tags I’ve done, I’ve had some stuff taken down before. Just people shooting competitively based on maybe a Hashtag. I don’t know what it was, but they said it was something I promote. Um, firearms or something I liked going and actually challenged it. I’d actually challenged it one time when I tried to boost a post that was um, nothing but the um, it was a youtube page when I looked at that. When I do now, I go around and I, when I’m doing everything, when everybody is shooting, I’m just sitting in a tent. Yeah. I have chosen to go out there and get videos of people shooting and capture like you to use your words that I heard you use a year ago. They’re Disney world moment.
Speaker 5: Yeah. And I took that from you, kind of go capture, I take videos of people and at the end of the end of that day, I go put on a youtube page for free. I’m not making money off of Youtube. They’re there for them to download their self. Yup. It’s a way, you know, to do, you know, promote that. But when I promoted at one time on the 160 go youtube page, they shut it down. And based on my, um, promoting the sh, promoting ammunition and stuff like that, it was weird. So I counteract it and came back and said, I’m promoting safety prescription. I’m promotion to safety, protective eyewear, just like the list that eight other companies that were same thing. And it came back. And finally, you know, I, I won, I won my, uh, you know, I’ve had my problems too. Robin had the same problems over the hour.
Speaker 5: But when I, you know, I’m very careful on what my hashtags are now. I can’t put certain hashtags on there when I want to boost something. But it’s one of those things that, um, I’m waiting for the day and I’m always out there looking for something that is, we’re not being shadow banned. We’re not being, you know, I can go type in, you know, looking for certain companies out there and I actually have to type in the company. Exactly right. Or it doesn’t even pull up anymore. He used to get tight, hey, and there’s angle lamination and all these other companies at Chi, everybody’s right there now. It’s like you type I and it’s like, nope, nope. You have to type them specifically what they are to get them to pull up now. Yeah. Is that the answer? Is that the way they’re doing it now? I guarantee you that’s what they’re wanting to happen. It could be. It could be either. So my philosophy on all this stuff is I don’t get romantic about any of it. I just look. The fact is, is if I had a new company tomorrow that sold guns and I could get away with two months of Facebook advertising before they shut me down, I do it in a second. Um, it was earlier this year actually, that for whatever reason, because we run tests pretty much monthly. Yeah. On Google, on Facebook and places like that.
Speaker 3: Or I just, I’ve got a couple of hundred bucks this kind of rolling all the time to see if I can get ads through and Google all of a sudden just all my gun ads got through. So we just quintupled down on that for like, I don’t know, three or four months. Then all of a sudden we started getting disapproved, disapproved, fine, whatever. I made like 300 grand in the process. I’m not for the companies that I, so I’m just, I just don’t get romantic about it. Cause the truth is, is that’s just what, where we’re at. What we’re dealing with and still today, Facebook is, is one of the great arbitragers for your dollar in advertising. And, um, the one thing I’ll tell you though is you can get a f an advocate at Facebook. So you’ve, if you got a couple of ads that have been knocked down, you can apply for an advocate.
Speaker 3: And once you have an advocate, if you’re a proven product, they go through and do all the research and you guys aren’t selling anything. What you want to make sure is there’s no, like there’s no, you know, like right now, uh, if I go to your page, I’m at a hunter’s ht gold and I go to your, uh, ba Ba ba Ba ba. I was at your testimonials where, yeah, you’ve got your gold team partners and I can link right to a Chi, for example. And he sells guns. So what you might want to do there is if you were to, it’s like one degree of separation you’ve got to put in place, right? So you could create a page for your website, for each of your, where you give it, like, uh, so the click through goes for a Chi, goes to a page on your site that has what you think of, you know, stuff about a Chi.
Speaker 3: And then there they can click over and go to your, um, to their page instead of having just directly to the correct. And if you do that and the advocate clears all that, then you probably will be okay. And you can run ads all day long and you can still do what you want to do, which is promote your, you these companies, right? And so, um, and you get that in place. Uh, you know, there’s some like kayaks holster companies, technically holsters or not banned on Facebook, but try to get an ad out on a, on a holster. It’s like fricking impossible. So you got to go through the process and get an advocate and go through the whole thing. And the problem is most holster companies spend a lot of time promoting guns and they don’t realize they’re doing it. And all they have to do is just do a little clean up and get their house in order. Now look, I don’t want it to be that way. Right? But who gives a damn what I want. No, my job is to make money for my and see. Right?
Speaker 3: So, so, you know, and I, I just don’t get too romantic about it. And the thing is, if, you know, my competition out there is going to be upset about it all day long and just not pay for advertising on Facebook, they’re welcome to do that. But the truth is, is I’m gonna win right at the bottom line. And so I just don’t. So are they shadow banning? Probably. Are they making life more difficult for us? Probably, but I don’t spend any time thinking about it. Right. You know, and do I want to give my money to a company like that? No. But the truth is, most of the companies I work for are well south of $10 million a year. So, even if you had a $10 million company, your ad budget being 1%, it’s gonna be, you know, that’s a hundred grand, right? Right. If your ad budgets 3% is $300,000, tell me where you can buy that kind of exposure for 300 grand.
Speaker 3: And I’ll do it. It’s certainly not the backpage at USPSA front sight magazine. That’s correct. So that’s where I started to, you know, I start to look and I’m like, well, in the, in the big cost benefit analysis of marketing, um, I just bet ponies and I’ll bet whatever pony is gonna win the best of my ability. If I have an option between a winning pony and another winning pony that doesn’t, you know, um, put us in third gear all the time. Um, then I’m going to, I’m going to pay for the one that’s open throttle. Right? But, but at the same time they don’t exist. Right. So it’s interesting. Okay. So, look, we covered a lot of stuff and I got a couple of things I just got to ask you because one thing we do a lot on this show is, um, is we talk about how we get our business done and you are traveling like basically every weekend, nine months of the year from what I can tell. What’s your, what’s your like, what’s your key, like what do you like, what are your go to things to like, you know, keep your life in order to keep your business in order. Any tips or tricks, you got hacks we like to call them. Um, it is to, um, one, stay real with yourself. Really good.
Speaker 5: And that’s what I mean by that is not just with business but with, with home and everything else with life. Um, Sherry is, um, very, very supportive and everything I’m doing, I usually find myself home every Monday, Tuesday or day for sure. Um, a lot of times on Wednesday and then usually Thursdays my travel days or you know, Saul on some matches Friday my travel day, cause I like to get there a day early for the Aros when they’re shooting. But, um, the consistency of being home, um, and being real, you know, I have a 17 year old son who’s, you know, getting ready to start his senior year. Um, he’s in the marching band and everything else. And my schedule is what I mean by staying in. I keep my schedule real. Um, I know exactly. I’m only, I’m only gonna miss four events that Zack has in marching this year.
Speaker 5: Um, I’m lucky enough that a lot of matches in the fall are going to be held here in Alabama at the CMP. Oh, that’s going to keep me home on Friday nights. Um, but I’ve already had the discussion with my son. These are the four matches I’m going to miss. So the communication with everybody in my life is very real. Um, I, you know, trying to, you know, that that’s my biggest secret is being real with myself. And when I can do, um, I enjoy, um, traveling to my shooting family, we’ll call it cool. Cause that’s everywhere I go. I’m seeing some people, at least one or two people I may have met in another match, but then I’m getting introduced to so many more people and being able to, you know, have that relationship and the dinners and the time outside of the range with new people to learn about.
Speaker 5: Yeah. And you know, then being back, you know, at the, you know, we get through eating, being back at the hotel and every night, you know, at, you know, eight or nine o’clock to be able to relax and talk to my wife and, and just, you know, be there even though I’m away, you know, and you know, have discussions with what’s going on with the lab, what’s going on with, you know, my other business partners with hunting camp, being available and being real. And, you know, you know, I, I’m, it seems like, you know, every night when I get home, I’ll, I’ll leave lab around six o’clock every day and I go home. And that’s when I usually catch up on my, is Instagram, social media between the hours of six and nine at night, my manager, my phone at all hours of the night, I’ve got myself where, you know, I made muffins in an iPhone, you know, at 11 o’clock at night till six in the morning, it shuts down.
Speaker 5: You’re not disturbed. And, um, and I’ve had phone calls come in in previous times where, you know, that, you know, people in other countries now are knowing about 160 goal. So it’s a, it’s a neat thing. We, you know, we just, um, I had a, um, PWC, as a matter of fact, you opened up Australia for me, you know, a couple of weeks ago when she was there and now I’ve got guys there in Australia wanting to sell it. And before then she was in Estonia in South Africa and they’re picking up the brand. So it’s wonderful because I’m making, you know, friendships with so many different people in different environments that are helping me, you know, control the brand and certain areas that I can’t beat to be at. Excuse me. And um, that’s my biggest thing. Um, yesterday it was funny you asked about, you know, how do you balance all that?
Speaker 5: Yesterday I was up in North Carolina and the plan, my wife had gone to Texas cause we had a, um, one of the, um, her ex husband had passed away and that’s who invited me to come be a part of the company. He’s had a lot of health problems over the past seven years that got me involved in more than optical. That’s a whole nother podcast. But, um, so, and she, she says, well, I’m taking off Sunday. I’m going to stay out here. I’m going to stay here all day Saturday and relax and not do anything and my match is going to be over around four o’clock Saturday. And I was going to, you know, just go back to my mom and dad’s house who live in Charlotte right now and spend some time with them. And we were just gonna, you know, drive back Sunday the same time, be on the road, you guys are, but driving back at the same time.
Speaker 5: And um, she sent me a message, you know, Saturday or, and this is on board, I’m coming back Saturday. And I said, well, I’ll leave you got to the match. And we’ll, you know, I’ve got home at 10 30 Saturday night and she got in at 1230 in the morning, you know, Sunday am and all I did yesterday cause she had, we both had a lot of stuff going on this past week with the death of Danny, our friend. And we didn’t do anything yesterday. Yesterday, I think it was the first day this year. I know that I didn’t touch my phone for a full 24 hours now I made a conscious decision to do that. Yup. And also got to work this morning at 6:00 AM and was a day behind my eyes cause a lot of people were emailing and sending messages and everything else. But I got through it and I made time today to, you know, to do what we got to do.
Speaker 5: I’m caught up now. So yeah, just double time. I work on Monday and I thought to myself, okay, do I need to give myself more of that? And um, I mean I’m going to tell you I didn’t have my phone. I didn’t have, I didn’t look at it. It stayed back in the bedroom. I turned this, the silence or down took off my watch. I was totally disconnected and watching TV and having a discussion with her for a full day. That was wonderful. Yeah. And I, you know, so I’m, I, I myself, is this possible to do more? And you know, I discussed it with Sherry and she said, you know, I asked, she asked me, she called me this morning, did you miss anything yesterday that put the company in jeopardy? And I said, nope, nope, not at all. And uh, and they said, well, maybe you need to work more towards that at some point.
Speaker 5: You know where we’re at. Cause she knows I enjoy staying busy. Um, I’m going up to the retail management world. I’m used to working all, all the time. And when I go to the weekends and I work every weekend, you know, being outdoors at a gun range, my office doesn’t suck at all. So it’s a situation where I’m used to working the hours I’m used to being there. But, um, yesterday was the first day I disconnected for a full 24 hours and it was, it was a kind of, um, my anxiety this morning was high. When I woke up at that 30 this morning, I woke up out of bed, like I’d been, you know, like there was somebody in the house. Then my ra was up and I’m thinking about all the things that I don’t look at my phone and I saw 67 emails. I’m like, oh my gosh, it’s going to be a long day. But I’m true enough it wasn’t. And it’s not,
Speaker 3: well consider that vanity shows up, not unlike in sunglasses in how important we think we are. And it makes it really difficult to disconnect when our bodies, our brains are souls. And what you ultimately sell is relationships. Yup. I just got that so much. Much you’re just talking about is like you prioritize that so high, whether that’s with your wife and your kid or a business partner, a person, that’s just what you’re up to in life. Um, and that’s, that’s my golden answer, right? Yeah. Really good. It’s just, and, and, and, but like, you know, considered there might be a little vanity behind being available 100% of the time and um, yeah. Right. And so if we look and look, I’m, I am, um, my girlfriend’s standing right over there and, and she, she’d probably tell you that, you know, um, I’ve just recently learned in the last year that you can just shut it down. Right. And, um, and I, I’m committed to and I’m poor at, but committed to Sunday, I just am not engaged. Right. That’s it. That’s a day off. It’s the only day she has off a week. And so we just try to have that be the day and I mean six days a week, 10 12 hours a day, it’s plenty. Yup. You know, um, I also got last year that if it was taking me 12 hours a day to run my business, I wasn’t as clever as I thought I was.
Speaker 5: There’s some of that as well as [inaudible] staff here. You got to keep in mind there’s, there’s 17 people behind the scenes lenses every day. That is, um, customer service. Where if somebody has a prescription order, they’re dealing with a lot of these phone calls that I used to deal with and there’s a reason why we’ve been in business, you know, 41 years making eyeglasses because the relationships we’ve built with independent ophthalmologist optometrists and now my staff is, are building those relationships with a lot of shooters. I got a lot of shooters everyday that come talk to me because I love Paula, I love Korea. She got his quaint thing there that are, that are handled out of things and they’re doing a lot of things when I’m, when I’m gone,
Speaker 3: surprise me. You prioritize people that could build relationships.
Speaker 5: Exactly right. And they’re the ones that are, you know, when somebody sends something in and they don’t, they don’t say they want single vision bifocals or progressive lenses. So my staff are the ones making those phone calls back to the customers and then making those relationships on top of what I’ve already done. So there’s, it’s not just me anymore because the, for the, in 2018 it was me, y’all was on every single phone call for every single thing. I’m doing. And one thing I learned through management for so many years is at some point you have to delegate and you have to allow somebody else to fail so they can grow. Correct. That’s what I’ve done with, with Paula and Chris, and they know they’re like me. They may make a mistake, but they don’t like making it. But once I got it, they learned from it and they’re smart enough to move forward and overcome anything that they’re handled now.
Speaker 5: And um, you know, we’re, we’re doing 250 to 300 jobs a day and we’ve got a major, major manufacturing process that’s going on here. And for me to walk in and say, okay, here’s even more stuff on my phone on top of it, with even more people to talk to, they’ve adapted just as well as I have to make it work. They understand the importance of this because we’re not just making hundreds ht gold for customers. Now we’re having people like yourself that we’re, the land’s been like, Hey, can you make me this as well? Well, I’m sure you can. I’m a lab and make anything. Yeah, there’s they’re regular prescriptions as well.
Speaker 3: Really feel to make the other glasses. And we’re building a relationship to continue that process for stuff even, but even our past hunters HD goal. Really cool. Well, on that note, I have learned so much. Thank you so much Brian for doing this. And uh, for those of you who haven’t had a chance to check out hunter’s HD gold, you can probably find Brian at your match. Pretty likely. If not, if you’re here in Minnesota, come find me. Come find us in Sanchez or just go to their site and find a shooter that you know, you know in your neighborhood and go check out their glasses. And a man is really good. I can’t wait to see on the next one, brother. Man, I will see you soon. I’ll be here anytime you need me, brother. I appreciate it. All right. And now as always, we close with some metal.