I was the very first customer!
The crazy journey for Train Lift Shoot started when I was a guest on the “Meet the Pressers” podcast (https://youtu.be/CGUXtAwsxMI) with Matt Mallory and Klint Macro.
It was on that podcast interview that I coined Train Lift Shoot as my life philosophy. I run a martial arts school as one of my four jobs, and during my Krav Maga class my unofficial “wife” from the police academy and best friend, Mario “Boo” Morris mentioned that I should put that on one of our school shirts. Being the cheap bastard that I am, I thought that if I had a few shirts made it would pay for my own. So I had 5 made. Sold all of them in a day. I even had to sell the one I made for myself. I then made 10 more. Then 20 more. Then I did something crazy, I paid for a Facebook ad. 8 designs and over 2,000 shirts/hoodies/hats and shorts sold later and I’m still in a state of animation.
Where did the customer service go?
I founded TLS with a simple fundamental rule - service. When I made the leap to a functioning retail website and over $10,000 worth of inventory I promised myself that if I was going to do this, I would do it right. And that meant The Golden Rule of Customer Care. It also meant putting out a great product. I hate the customer service I receive 90% of the time. They got my $ and that’s all that mattered. So TLS did some things to ensure that customers always get a response. All of our employees have the “chat bubble” loaded to our phones. That means someone, regardless of their position (even myself) is on the issue and believe me.. I’m normally the one you are chatting with. We may sometimes get it wrong, experience a back order or have a shipping issue. Every company does but I promise you this, we will break our backs getting it right. Ultimately, the best resolution to any situation is good old fashioned communication. We aren’t ever back ordered or “out” of that - communication.
The second thing I mentioned was a great product. I am a 5’7” (on a good day) 195 lb man. Yes, I am built like a V and sometimes ignore my legs at the gym (that’s a conversation for a different blog). I was sick of being disappointed in flappy sleeves or shirts that fit my chest and arms but fell below my crotch in length. So I went out and found the best fitting styles from Next Level and Bella+Canvas. At one time we ended up in a supply issue and I had the opportunity to make a few extra bucks by changing the shirt style. Instead I chose to pay more from a different vendor, reduced my shrinking margins in order to find the right fitting shirts to maintain the quality during the supply blackout. I’m really glad I did that. Once again, I put myself in the customer’s seat by imagining what the lost expectation would be if I was excited about getting the shirt and it fit like shit.
A Partner In Crime makes all the difference.
If you follow my personal posts then you know who Nurse Jamie is and my affinity for that woman. My beyond beautiful fiancé has been with me every step of the way. Sometimes at a respectable distance (like the fact that I coded the entire website on my iPad while on the can for over 2 hours) and other times, literally stuffing envelopes and folding shirts. She’s my main motivation. My North Star. Every man needs a woman that can Train Lift Shoot. One thing you will NEVER find on our site is a bunch of gun bunnies hugging a stripper pole in order to captivate an audience that isn’t serious about our mission credo. “We are an army of every day protectors” - not exploiters. ‘Nuff said.
Who’s flying the plane while it’s being built?
Every company has that one STAR that digs in to the work, never bitches about the load, improves the daily situation, is innovative in their approach, is a problem solver and also a friend. And that co-pilot is our Director of Operations, Amanda Hankins. She’s literally kept her cool once after I threw a box of shirts across the room that came in that were poorly printed. You’ve got to have the best people that understand the mission and don’t mind building the plane while it’s in the air.
Where is the plane flying?
Destination is unknown but it may not be in this orbit I’ve chosen not to limit ourselves but also know that I’m not in any hurry. Didn’t I mention I have 4 jobs? One is my career that demands the majority of my time, I’m a martial arts school owner, a reserve police officer and now a online retailer. The job that’s not really my job is just being a good husband to be... and that’s really where my passion goes each day.
A final thank you to each and every one of you that chose to part with your hard earned dollars to purchase our product. You, who put in the blood, sweat and tears to improve yourselves, better protect your families, make the world safer. You are why we exist.
Owner/President/Chief Customer Advocate/Website Designer/Apparel Stylist/Social Media Hack/Floor Sweeper