Guerilla Straps Founder Talks With Spinfuel’s Tom McBride About The Vape Holster
Spinfuel: Thank you for agreeing to talk to us. Both Jason and I have really been enjoying these fantastic vape holsters. Can you tell our readers a little about your company?
GS: It is my pleasure. Thank you for having me and I’m very happy to hear you like them so much. I’ll give you a quick rundown on company. Currently we’re a small company comprise of 2 people, myself and my partner Thom Le, we specialize in making leather holsters for box mods. But with some added style. This company was officially formed during the summer of this year (2015) and has been opened for business for about 2 months taking orders.
Spinfuel: So new! Yet, when we look at your website, the product itself, and even the packaging it all looks like your company has been well established for a while. You design aesthetics are excellent. What was the inspiration behind the Mod Holster, or Vape Holster?
GS: The biggest inspiration came one day when my partner Thom lost one of his flask mod. We were at a vape shop at that time, and he placed his mod down on a table and walked away for a few mins. Came back and found it was gone. We asked the shop owner to view the security cameras to find out, one of the customers took it.
After that day, it sparked an idea. To find a way of carrying a box mods, but carrying it the way we like. The current solutions that were out didn’t fit a lot of box mods we carried. And also it didn’t fit our style. So we wanted to make something different, something that can solve the issue of carrying the different types of box mods.
The idea of a holster came up, because we both like going to the shooting range, and I myself always liked the holsters cops wears. So we figured why not something like holster , but for our vape.
Spinfuel: Someone just stole your partners box mod, right from the counter?! I can’t believe someone could be so bold and malicious. You know, you like to think of your own ‘community’ as being somehow better, but the truth is, there are people of all types in our community, including criminals and thieves like the -censored– that lifted the mod. As the thief will soon discover, Karma is a Bitch. But, getting back to the vape holster, how long did it take to go from an inspiration to an actual product?
GS: It took about 8 to 9 months. A good part of those months were spent thinking if it should be done, and would people even relate to this idea we got. After getting over the fear, we decided to start this process. We had zero experience in creating anything, let alone trying to create something and releasing it to the public. A lot of research and time was put on the design, the look, the feel. After a few months we finally narrowed down on a design we felt we liked and hoped the public will as well.
Spinfuel: Wait, you never designed anything before this? Unbelievable. The vape holster is gorgeous, extraordinary quality leather, and it works perfectly. Hard to believe this is your first crack at it. When we opened the deluxe packaging for the Vape Holster the smell of quality leather wafted up and out in a big way. This is not some cheaply made mod holder. The leather is soft, yet thick, the metal buckles are strong, very well made. This is one exceptional product. Why did you go all out using all thse high grade materials? Surely the profit margin took a big hit.
GS: We wanted to put out the best product we can, so we picked the best material to source out. Because it was our first product, we didn’t want to put something that we ourselves won’t use and are not proud off, and maybe because we didn’t know any better about profit margins at the time. HAHA. We just knew we wanted something to be proud off.
Spinfuel: I understand. I think I’ve been living among the Chinese manufacturing industry too long, where profit is everything. It’s nice to know that there are still companies that take pride in putting out the highest quality possible. By the way, what does “full grain” and “hand cut” mean, and why does it make a difference?
GS: Well, there are 4 types of leather that I’m aware of and have looked into. They are full grain, top grain, genuine leather and bonded leather. By all means I am no leather expert, but I did a lot of research before going with full grain.
Full Grain is the best leather you can get. It is of the highest quality and most expensive.
Top Grain Leather is the second highest grade of leather. This type of leather has to be sanded and refinished to get rid of scrapes and scars. It also doesn’t age well. Genuine Leather is the third best leather. The surface is usually refinished with a spray or painted to make it look like a higher grade. Bonded Leather is the worst leather money can buy. It is basically the leftover scraps mixed together. I can go on for days with what I have learned about leather but I won’t. lol
Spinfuel: I never knew any of that. Thank you, this bit of knowledge will come in very handy the next time I shop for something made of leather.
GS: Each of our holsters are hand cut by a real live person, meaning we don’t make our holsters in an assembly line with a machine. Each individual holster goes through quality control and inspected before being put together. A lot of care are put into each one.
Spinfuel: I should say! I have to wonder if you can maintain that level of hand cut quality if the Vape Holster becomes a huge hit. I hope so. The Holster adapts to several types of box mods, but bigger box mods seem to work better. For instance, the new eLeaf iStick Basic, it’s a tiny thing, too small to fit in the in the holster pouch alone, so I used the extra space for other items. The Vapor Flask seemed to fit best. Was this intentional on your part? To work with larger box mods?
GS: You got it, it was intentional. Box mods come in various sizes so we had to figure a way to accommodate as many sizes as we can. We made it as big as we can without compromising style. We didn’t want to make it too big, making it look too bulky, or too small where bigger box mods wouldn’t fit.
It is also the reason why our closing flaps for the box mods are detachable, to accommodate different types. The flap that has a circle cut in the middle can accommodate larger box mods that houses center atomizers while the second flap can accommodate smaller box mods with side atomizers, as well as closing any gaps so you may put other things in there like an extra battery.
Spinfuel: I can certainly tell there was a lot of thought that went into it. The ‘Vape Holster’ is more than a “home” to wear your box mod, isn’t it? What else can do you carry around in the pouches?
GS: That’s another benefit of the Guerrilla Strap Holster. Not only can you carry vape products, but you can also fit other every day tools in the pockets. For example, I was able to fit my iphone 5 nicely in the pouch side holster with more room for other things like juices, batteries, and tools. I also found myself putting money in because it was convenient for me. Now I can wear my skinny jeans again…lol…after losing a few pounds of course.
Spinfuel: At first, I (Tom McBride) wasn’t really sure what to think about wearing a product like this. But, once I strapped it on, once I loaded my Vapor Flask in one pouch and 2x 18650 batteries, 1x 30mL bottle of e-liquid, and my special screwdriver I use to remove the caps on the VF, I understood instantly what the big draw was. It fits beautifully, it feels empowering, and, I have everything I need to keep going all day and night. I loved it. Did you run into opposition about the concept, gun-type dual holsters strapped around the chest?
GS: Yes, when we came up with the concept, we both thought, “This might look cool, but is it practical? Will it be useful in real life? How will one feel when they wear it?” These are some of the questions we thought of and made us hesitate in making it. So we tested it on ourselves. And had help from some of the most influential vapers in the industry. We gave them our prototype to wear to get actual user feedback on what they liked and didn’t like. So a big thank you to Roy “ VapingRoyBot” and Paul “IamPchong” for the help.
The main conclusion I got from everyone’s personal experience is that; this product looks cool, but most won’t want to buy it at first glance or think they need it, but once someone buys it for them or they get a chance to use it, they get the feeling of, how did I ever live without this before. Not trying to say this product is a life changer lol, but its a product most people don’t think they would need until they use it themselves. Then they get it.
Spinfuel: Exactly! That’s how it is for us as well. People need to ‘braille’ it, you know what I mean? They need to see in person, try it on, play with it. Vape shows would be a perfect place to outfit booth babes and others that work the booths, and let people come up and touch it, feel it, see others actually using it. Have you had a booth at any vaping convention yet? We’re betting you would sell out every single vape holster you bring.
GS: Currently… not yet, we are a very new company, about 2 months old as of the date of this interview, but we lucked. Roy “VapingRoyBot” and Paul “iamchong” wore our prototype at Vape Summit in Texas and helped build a little buzz. A few companies who we consider some of the top in the vape space reached out to us about our product and wanted to take them to the shows such as NOLA in New Orleans . So a big thank you to Edward from VapeRev and , James from The Rig Mod.
Our first booth will be at VapeCon on Jan 15-17 in riverside California
Spinfuel: I can so see the Vape Holster sold by VapeRev. It is a perfect product for them, and the price is a lot less than I thought it would be. The Retail Price on GuerillaStraps.Com is just $84.97 USD. You must get plenty of positive remarks from customers that see the real value of the vape holster, at a price that doesn’t gouge the pocketbook. What are your customers telling you once they’ve had the product for a few weeks?
GS: We’re trying to make it affordable for everyone, We even pay for shipping for all domestic orders. Again, I think our business minds wasn’t working yet about profit lol. We really just wanted to make the customers happy.
Surprisingly we get a lot of great feed back from our current customers, but the one compliment that keeps coming up is about the quality of the holsters. Many say that they didn’t expect the quality to be this good when they receive them. Many have left their own reviews and you can see them all on our site at guerrillastraps.com
Spinfuel: Hell, I didn’t expect it. Jason didn’t. The quality is amazing. You know, we (Spinfuel) have a lot of Vape Shop owners as loyal readers; how can they carry your Vape Holsters in their shops?
GS: Easy. They fill out our wholesale form at our website guerrillastraps.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org Some one will get back to them ASAP.
Spinfuel: I think once this interview begins to get around you’ll have a lot of vape shop owners contacting you. I’ve noticed that there are opportunities on the straps and pouches for customization, company logos, even phrases like “Keep Calm, Vape”, things like that, are you considering doing that for certain companies?
GS: That was one of our biggest surprises we didn’t see coming. After releasing it, many companies approached us about branding their logo on the holsters, either for personal use or company use. So that is something we’ll be looking into for sure.
Spinfuel: Excellent. I know Spinfuel would outfit our staff with one, especially with our logo on it. Before I let you get back to it, is there anything you’d like to say to our readers while you have their undivided attention?
GS: Yes, Guerrilla Straps is a family owned business. I say family because I consider Thom le, my partner, family and our number one goal is customer service. When you buy one of our Guerilla Straps you are backed by a small company that wants to give you the best possible product at the best possible price, and then make sure you remain a happy customer.
Spinfuel: Thanks again for talking with us Lex, we look forward to further products from your exciting new company!
GS: Thank you for talking with us!