Featured Tippmann Customer
Michael Kole Custom Leather
PO Box 2251
Cheyenne, WY 82003
Michael Kole’s Story:
Although I’ve designed numerous hand bags, brief cases, belts, even coasters and placemats, my primary line of work, however, involves production of weapon holsters. I’ve designed custom concealment, western and range carry holsters which are all specific to make, model and caliber. Today, my principal market place is being a regular vendor at regional gun shows almost every weekend.
Where my product is absolutely exact, I always have my Tippmann Boss at my side at each and every show to accommodate those who have a special tactical rail, laser, they are a South-paw or whatever situation. Patrons of the shows will stay and watch me custom build orders. The clickety-clack of the stitcher can be heard throughout the venues. While not all are interested in holsters, they are fascinated by the Boss. Often times people think this is a vintage antique and are quite surprised when I tell them it is current manufacturing. Listen folks, this is our factory, not a plastic Singer. I have given your phone number out numerous times.
I initially became involved in leather work at the age of 6 when my father dropped my off at Tony the Shoemaker’s to keep me out of my mother’s hair during the weekend. Dad thought I would be sweeping floors and polishing shoes, however, Tony had me grinding soles and nailing on heels.
I began selling my goods in the halls of my high school in the mid 60’s. At that time I decided to open my own ‘after school’ store, the Leather Shop, in Westwood, NJ, which became a hang out for all of my non-working buddies. My second store, Aleasion Fields East (translated “Burial Place of the Gods”, yes it was the 60’s) was opened in Point Pleasant, NJ when I was 19. I began selling handbags, brief cases and belts on a whole sale basis and sold my goods at craft shows in NJ. Later I worked as the designer for Mountain Leather in Park Ridge, NJ. As I worked up front in the store, unknown to me at the time, they were taking my designs and developing clicker dyes and sold product world wide. That was almost the end of my truly handcrafted leather trade. I have also worked in saddle shops in VT.
I later chose a career at sea as a ship master and captain. I carried a side arm every day and night. My duty style holsters went through many developmental changes in order to meet my high standards of safety, demanding performance and comfort. While not at sea, I was active in competition shooting and sold holsters and leather goods at area trade shows. All of my work at this point had been hand stitched. I realized that I had a fantastic design and viable retail product.
About 8 years ago in order to keep up with the market I realized I had to make changes in my manufacturing process. I then began researching stitching machines. I had seen a Tippmann Boss in the Tandy Leather catalogue and I would lay awake at night thinking how wonderful it would be to pull that handle down and have everything done in one full swoop. Then once I came to the reality that I must have a Boss I didn’t tell the truth about the price to the woman who used to live with me and purchased the Boss at risk of retaliation and or divorce. Believe me it was all well worth it. The machine is still running well and she ran away shortly thereafter.
To date my Tippmann Boss has successfully produced thousands of holsters, hand bags, back packs and various other items with only a handful hiccups that were immediately remedied by the outstanding customer service department and Ben in particular. He has stayed on the phone with me for hours until the problem was rectified or would send parts or even a full blown demo out overnight to keep me in business. We have since purchased a second machine due to the fact that volume has increased. I have made attempts to use electric or motorized machines but the accuracy is unpredictable. The Boss allows me the ability, when needed, to go a stitch at a time in many of the demanding patterns I’ve designed. Do you remember the story of “The Tortoise and the Hare”? The Boss is sure and true to its path. I can actually stitch 30 holsters in about 1-1/2 hours. I just today stitched 4 layers of 12oz latigo to make a custom hunting knife sheath. Not a problem whatsoever, it came out superbly. Photos are attached. The machine is also more than adequate and at home stitching heavy nylon webbing or Velcro®. And, even once my left thumb, in which the needle was not the initial problem, it was the removal of the well locked stitch that caused an issue. Yes, there are industrial hazards.
Watch the video carefully, read the manual, call Tippmann, order a Boss and expand your horizons. Thinking back about my years at sea, had I had this machine then, I could have repaired and built sails on the Tippmann. The horse on which the Boss is mounted is actually made from a solid oak door panel that I found in the trash at a lumber yard. Some of the other shots are of our gun show set up. I sincerely appreciate your consideration for recognition in your newsletter and cannot tell you how much I admire your customer service. I’m at a point in time that I can get on this thing. Let’s go forward with it.