A Company History
In the spring of 1976, I was introduced, by a mutual friend, to Gene DeSantis of DeSantis Holster & Leather Goods Company. I started working for DeSantis on a part time weekend basis and quickly moved into a full time position. At the time, DeSantis was in a barn in Long Island, New York and I was the only full time employee learning the basics of holster making and design. In 1978 moved to the state of Washington.
For the next five years, holsters were a hobby, not a business. I learned more and more about leather craft and honed my design skills. I made holsters solely for myself and a small group of friends.
In 1983 my Korean born wife Soon Ja, suggested that we turn my hobby into a part time business. KRAMER Handgun Leather was born. At this time we named our business PRO Line Handgun Leather. A trademark dispute with another unrelated company lead to our changing the name to KRAMER several years later.
By 1985 we were enjoying a reasonably successful, albeit very local holster business. We were networking with the local police officers and gaining valuable insights from them about professional carry techniques, and I received notice from the U.S. Postal service that I had been selected for employment from a test I had taken a couple of years earlier and all but forgotten about. We labored over this decision for two weeks and came to the conclusion that the Post Office was the smart way to go with a new baby on the way.
For the next five years I worked full time as a mail carrier, and full time as a holster maker after delivering my route. I would skip lunch and breaks each day and run my mail route down, so that I could take leave without pay at the end of the postal day and go home early to work on holsters. Five years in the Post Office gave me the time to refine my design skills and plot a direction for holster business to head in. Each day I would deliver the mail, keeping just enough presence of mind to make sure that the mail went in the right mail box. My mind was off in space designing a holster that I would make later that night, or dreaming of the day I would get a big break and be written up in a gun magazine.
The big break came in the fall of 1989. A soldier from Fort Lewis called and asked to come over and discuss a holster. I made several holsters for this individual over the next few weeks. Finally, he asked me if he could write an article about our holsters and submit it to a gun magazine. Naturally I said OK, but I was rather skeptical of the chances that an article by an unknown writer would see the light of publication.
Three weeks later Duane Thomas came over to the shop, a big grin on his face, holding a contract for article publication from PETERSEN's HANDGUNS the most prestigious of the handgun magazines! A couple of months later in the December 1989 issue of the magazine, Duane's article was finally in print. One month later I was so flooded with work that I gave notice to the Postal Service and haven't looked back since. This was the start of new careers for both Duane and I. He got out of the Army and is now a prolific, well respected gun writer and author.
Several highly placed individuals at PETERSEN PUBLISHING were quite instrumental in the success of our business. In particular Jan Libourel, editor of HANDGUNS magazine and Geoff Steer, publisher of GUNS & AMMO and all of the other PETERSEN Outdoor Group magazines were extremely helpful by introducing me to major players in the firearms industry and in getting magazine coverage for us. I couldn't begin to thank them enough for the support they gave us in the early days when we were launching the business on a national level, and for their continued support over the years. We have always viewed their support and friendship as a true blessing.
Through media coverage the business grew and we met many professional people who gave us their ideas and input. New designs were born from ideas given to us by members of U.S. NAVY SEAL Teams and other elite covert ops and Special Forces groups. As the business grew we began to hire and train employees. Larger work spaces were needed. What was once a hobby and part time business had become a well known contender within the industry. So much so, that we were recently awarded a registered trademark on the name KRAMER. In order to register a surname, you must prove that it has taken on a secondary meaning. No small task!!
Although we are no longer a "one man shop" in the garage, our basic philosophy remains the same. Soon Ja and I both realize that someone's life may depend upon the products that we sell. We want our holsters to be the finest gun leather available. We want to provide you with a level of customer service that make YOU feel good doing business with our company. We want you to be thoroughly and completely satisfied with your experience at KRAMER Handgun Leather.