Two college students have had trouble finding jobs to support themselves. Their solution is entrepreneurship. Ironclad Tactical is Seth Mueller’s brainchild, a business designed to give clients custom tactical gear for lower prices than the big companies. Mueller’s business partner and girlfriend, Jordan Williams, helps promote the business and come up with ideas.
“It’s completely customizable tactical accessories,” Williams said. “It’s not cookie-cutter, and the possibilities are endless.”
Mueller is a criminal-justice major at Stephen F. Austin State University and lives in Nacogdoches. Williams studies physical therapy at Angelina College in Lufkin. Together, they manage Ironclad Tactical, which has been underway for about a month now. They create products such as gun holsters, survival bracelets, wallets, dip-can holsters and shotgun loaders. Mueller makes and sells the products from his apartment, with most of his business running through online sources and local gun shops. He said the idea got started when he turned 21 and obtained his concealed handgun license.
“I was shopping for holsters, and if you’re looking for holsters that are of any good quality, they’re going to be at least $40,” Mueller said. “I thought, ‘Well … maybe I can make my own.”
Mueller studied what goes into their creation and discovered a material called Kydex, a thermoplastic that comes in sheets that can morph into shapes when intense heat and pressure are applied to it. He uses the material to form protective cases around various objects, such as guns, knives and snuff cans.
“Before I went and bought all of the material, I went to Kizer (a gun shop in Nacogdoches) and showed them some of my ideas,” Mueller said. “They were immediately on board.”
Mueller said Kizer offers a few of his products.
“We’re trying to sell to people who want more adventurous designs, like tiger stripes,” Mueller said.
Mueller and Williams emphasized that the primary demographic they’re trying to reach is people seeking tactical gear that has customized elements, such as initials, unique colors and obscure patterns. Williams said her father was part of the inspiration for the dip-can holster.
“I thought my dad would love me, because all he does is drop dip cans,” she said. “And there’s not one person I know who dips who does not drop their dip can now and then and loses it.”
Mueller said he was comfortable with the stresses of entrepreneurship.
“I’ve actually been doing this a long time,” Mueller said. “When I was 6, I sold for a quarter these little vials that had ‘chemicals’ in them. I took Crayola markers and dipped them in water to extract the ink. The chemicals that were in the ink were the chemicals that I said were in the vials, which was true. I did get in trouble.”
Mueller and Williams said financial obligations and free time played a big role in getting the business started.
“There’s been minimal job opportunities,” Mueller said. “Together, we’ve put in like 50 applications with one call back.”
Boredom also played a role, Williams said.”We needed something to do.”
Mueller said he hopes college students will see the value in his product.
“They can’t afford the name brand, high-end stuff,” Mueller said. “But if for half the price I can give them an item that is highly durable and they can put their name on, I’m super happy.”
Mueller said his father is a crisis-response manager for BP Oil. His father’s job has forced him to move across the country and world, including spending two and a half years in Vietnam.
“We actually moved nine times before I was 17 because of oil,” Mueller said. Oddly enough, Williams’ mother also works for an oil company as a secretary for M-I Swapco. Mueller and Williams’ products can be viewed at etsy.com.