Today I introduce a new series on Monderno called Industry Spotlight. In this series of posts, I will highlight companies that are doing great things in the industry, and tell you why you should be following their work. First up is a company called Index Fasteners.
What They Do
Index Fasteners is a wholesale fastener and raw goods distributor to manufacturers and other distributors. They are a distributor of a lot of great stuff, have been around for quite a while and have an interesting story.
The Index Fastener Story
I asked Shane Bearly, the owner and CEO of Index Fasteners to tell the Index story in his own words, and here’s what he had to say.
Index has been a fastener distributor for 36 years spanning 3 generations covering virtually every market in one aspect or another. A large part of our fastener market over the years has been large Military and Law Enforcement gear/equipment manufacturers and sub-contractors, many of these focusing on the holster sector. We’ve been dealing with holster and related gear manufacturers for almost 30 years, long before Kydex (Thermoplastics) was introduced as an alternative to leather in the market.
About a year and a half ago customers that were purchasing fasteners for their home based and small-medium sized holster companies started asking us to carry Kydex so they could consolidate their purchasing from one vendor. As a lifelong shooter myself I had enveloped myself in the civilian tactical shooting world several years ago and was very familiar with Kydex as I trained with it as well as carried it every day for my CCW. What we were not aware of but would soon find out was how large the “do-it-yourselfer” holster/gear market really was.
We were hearing that customers were unhappy with the limited product offering in regards to options such as colors and sizes, stock availability and limited adequate distribution and customer service, basically unless you were one of the big boys in the thermoforming world you were being treated like the proverbial Red Headed Step-Child. These small start up guys didn’t have the clout or capital to purchase the large minimums for special color runs or pay the high retail prices for accessories like injection molded clips/loops, straps and fasteners because they were reselling. There was a market created between the Safariland’s of the world and the at home do-it-yourself Thermorformer that was only wanting a 1′x1′ piece of Kydex to make a holster for himself.
The market was a legitimate small manufacturing industry that blew up due to the popularity of the tactical shooting industry and the low barrier to entry cost of manufacturing and selling thermoplastic related items, whether to their friends on the range or acquiring legitimate contracts with local and state level agencies, an industry was born overnight, they were here to stay and wanted the respect of a legitimate manufacturer. We saw this void in the supplier industry and went full throttle ahead. As an established distributor it wasn’t too difficult as we’ve been doing this a long time, for the most part distributing is distributing whether it be tennis shoes or Kydex, we simply did our market research on who the customers were and what they demanded, found out where and what was lacking industry-wise and began to fill the gap and continue to do so.
We obviously tackled the largest piece of the puzzle first which was the raw Thermoplastic. After making contact with both Kydex and Boltaron and stating our intentions they were all too happy to help us fill the void as they themselves were actually still trying to grasp the magnitude of the industry explosion. We started offering size cut options and non-standard colors as stock items not special runs. We’ve worked exclusively with a company to bring to market our digitally infused camo onto thermoplastics which is unlike any on the market. To date companies have been using laminates or overlays which can have a unpleasant look and feel and we wanted to bring to market something better, and we did. We also worked with the Camo designers and patent holders themselves such as ATACS, Kryptek and MultiCam to name a few, which virtually no one was doing.
We moved into attachment hardware working close with our customers creating and distributing custom as well as standard commodity soft/hard loops and clips at lower acceptable pricing. Holster makers that didn’t want to make their own attachment hardware were sometimes having to pay $10.00 + for a set of clips or loops to attach to their $50-$70 holster which was severely eating into their profit margins. We’ve added several popular industry manufacturers to our distribution list that aid in the manufacturing process such as Blue-Guns, G-Code and Blade-Tech with more on the horizon.
We feel we’ve made a significant impact on this industry helping folks at all levels expand their production offerings, decrease their lead times as well as costs and we love what we do. I have the best staff I’ve worked with in my years here at Index and each of them works their butt off to provide the best customer service in the industry and we’re still just scratching the surface, many new things are coming in the next few months. We have just signed our lease agreement for our new Richmond, VA branch which will officially open in the next few weeks to help ease costs for our East Coast customers. Our new Thermoplastics eCommerce site will also launch in the next few weeks. We have many exciting new product offerings as well as some great industry aids that will be debuting over the next few months.
All this to say at the end of the day we are a very humble group of people here at Index, we enjoy making a difference and hear it from our customers every day. We’re always looking at tomorrow.
What They Carry
One of the products that Index carries that I really like is their soft loops.
These loops are used by several popular holster manufacturers, and can be adapted to carry other items as well. Here you can see my Coye Knives Ridgeback outfitted with soft loops from Index Fasteners, which is a great horizontal concealed carry setup. Here’s a photo of the sheath on my belt.
This is just one example of the many products that Index Fasteners carries. If you’d like to learn more about Index Fasteners, you can connect with them on Facebook.
Want your company to be featured in an upcoming installment of Industry Spotlight? Contact me and let me know.