We had the good fortune of connecting with Tim Ehler and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Tim, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I’ve always had a side hustle of one kind or another most my life. I’m not one for sitting around on the couch I like to keep busy. My first one was hanging flyers on people’s doors, I was probably 15. After that I moved onto selling water filtration units that went under your sink those weren’t really entrepreneurial jobs, I was Still working for somebody else. My current business started as a hobby. It was probably back in 2014, my then future son-in-law introduced me to Kydex holsters. I did a little research and thought it looked like something I would be interested in doing. The holsters looked pretty cool and it was right up my alley. I then started making them as a hobby. I was coming up on retirement from my regular job and wanted to be sure that I would have something to do to keep me busy.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Please tell us more about your business. We own and operate an online custom Kydex gun holster business. We jokingly refer to ourselves as the biggest small holster company on the Internet. This is because we offer holsters for more firearms and light combinations than probably any other company.

What you are most proud of or excited about
I am most proud of our customer service. As a small business we understand the need to communicate with our customers. We almost always answer the phone and are always willing to talk to our customers. The most prominent things on our website are our phone number, and email address. We communicate with our customers via text message, email, and phone .

I’m very excited about the direction of the company. In the last 18 months we have moved to in-house design and modeling for our holsters. This has greatly accelerated our production process. It has not been easy and we have had our hiccups. Nobody in the company knew how to do 3-D design or run the equipment. After about six weeks of very long evenings I have learned enough about 3-D design to get the job done, and also learned to run the equipment. The reason for doing this yourself is to have complete control of the designs otherwise you would have to continually pay someone else to do the designs. Cost benefit analysis.

How did you get to where you are today business-wise.

It started out as just a hobby, making a few holsters for friends, and then friends of friends were asking for holsters. I originally started out selling on eBay. After doing a cost-benefit analysis I decided that I needed to build my own website. This was an undertaking that was definitely outside of my skill set however, through perseverance, YouTube, and lots of research I got it done. It’s no easy task. Everybody thinks you just open up an online store and the business comes rolling in. It doesn’t work that way. You have to be able to integrate shopping carts, invoices, custom selections, manage plug-ins etc. But until you understand and learn Google you will never be successful on the Internet. Unless you have $10,000+ to pay someone else to do it for you. If you don’t you spend your evenings doing research and learning it yourself. I still only know a fraction of what it takes to rank on Google but we’re getting there.

What are the important lessons that I learned?

When it comes to running a business the most important thing you have to know is your numbers. When an idea pops in your head you have to run the numbers. Cost benefit analysis determines whether or not purchasing a new piece of equipment will actually save you any time. Before you do anything. You have to run the numbers. If you’ve built and operate your own website, never let anybody in the back end. These are the two most important lessons I’ve learned.

What do I want people to know about our company?

We are family owned and operated. Everybody has their job. In 2020 we start designing and building our own molds in house. This gives us way more flexibility to build much more custom holsters for our customers. We do everything that’s within our power to make sure all of our materials are sourced from American companies and made in America. Custom American-made Kydex holsters in our mind means everything down to the screws or rubber washers has to be made in America and we do our best to keep that promise.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well if I could take a week off to take my friend places this is where I would go. Tucson is a beautiful place with lots of things to see. I would take my friend to Saguaro National Monument, enjoy the beauty and do a little hiking. I would also take them to Sabino Canyon and Mt. Lemmon. More beautiful sights there and great trails. I would take them to a U of A basketball or football game because we have amazing fans and support for the teams. We would visit Arizona Wine Collective because its a great place to hang out and visit and try Arizona wines. Another great place is Barrio Brewing Co. They have great beer and food and a great place to hang out. We would have to visit some of the great Mexican restaurants we have in Tucson. We have many and I haven’t tried all of them but, do enjoy El Charro Cafe, Guadalajara Grill, and Baja Cafe. And to end each day watching one of our amazing Arizona sunsets.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My wife and two daughters and of course we’ll have to give some credit to Gary my now son-in-law.

Website: DMEHolsters.com

Instagram: @dmeholsters

Facebook: @dmeholsters

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1gYp2Gw7DEuq9ZJ5XB9V_Q

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.