How GRIP6 Began and Why We Exist

March 03, 2020 164 Comments

Recently we invited local customers to meet us and take a tour of our facility. Customers were excited and surprised with just how much manufacturing we do right here. They saw skilled people working with lasers, custom machines built by our own engineers, looms, knitting machines, robots, and more. It seemed to strike a chord with people. We realized we do a poor job communicating our purpose and why we work so hard to make things ourselves. This year we’re opening up and talking about our past, our principles, our current struggles, our future products, and what it takes to Manufacture in America. We’d love to have you join us! Happy 2020!

BJ in his basement, melting straps in his homemade, version 1.0 cardboard melting station.

BJ in his basement, melting straps in his homemade, version 1.0 cardboard melting station.

Hi, my name is BJ Minson. I started GRIP6 five years ago with a vision of a company that created things that were simple, functional, long-lasting, made in the USA, and that people loved. We started with a belt.

The Problem

As a father of five young children, I felt like I was throwing out broken toys constantly. I have a low tolerance for waste and it bothered me more and more over time. I began to notice most products, not just toys, were cheap, low quality, and disposable.

I was also dismayed by the lack of products being made domestically. Almost nothing in retail stores had a “Made in the USA” label. Something didn’t feel right. After some research, I discovered that manufacturing is vital to economic strength. Over the last half century, the United States has been slowly losing its manufacturing infrastructure and know-how. Watching the United States slowly and steadily lose that vital competency made me concerned that we weren’t thinking properly about our future. Losing knowledge is losing power.

Doing Something About It

I needed to do something. As an engineering student, I loved product design and manufacturing. So when I designed a unique belt that worked well, I saw an opportunity for a step toward making a difference. At the time, Kickstarter was peaking in popularity. I made a short video of my new belt and 30 days later, with no marketing, I had an order for 10,000 belts.

So I started GRIP6 and was excited to get to work making the new belts. I quickly realized I couldn’t make 10,000 belts by myself. I began looking for domestic factories to weave, cut and sew webbing as well as metal shops to cut and bend the buckles. I was committed to making the belts and sourcing the materials all in the USA. 

The original Kickstarter campaign page.

So I started GRIP6 and was excited to get to work making the new belts. I quickly realized I couldn’t make 10,000 belts by myself. I began looking for domestic factories to weave, cut and sew webbing as well as metal shops to cut and bend the buckles. I was committed to making the belts and sourcing the materials all in the USA. 

The Obstacles

What came next was... enlightening. The companies I contacted took weeks to respond. When they finally did, their pricing was high and timelines were months long. At their quoted prices, I would lose money making the belt. However, most of the manufacturers gave me another option; they could guide me through the process of using Chinese factories. It was far more affordable and they pushed the option on me as the most desirable. I found it strange they were so willing to give business away to their competition. In other words, even the manufacturers were telling me I couldn’t do it without China. If that was true, my concerns about making things in the USA were right. US manufacturing wasn’t competitive.

I felt I had two options; I could follow my principles and lose money by making it in the USA or make it overseas for a profit. The frustrating thing was that I wanted to give someone my business and they didn’t even want it! Why was it so expensive and slow? The raw materials were a tiny fraction of the price. Even factoring in the labor costs, it didn’t add up. I got the impression they just didn’t want to do it. 

I was struggling - I wanted to make a product and start a business, but I wanted to do it the way I thought was right. I guess I’m stubborn that way. I’d rather have refunded the money to the Kickstarter backers than make a low quality, outsourced product. 

My Moment of Truth

There was one more option. I knew it deep down but it was scary. I could do it myself. In fact, I had planned to do that all along. I specifically designed the belt to be simple enough that I could make it in my garage. But that was when I was planning to sell a few hundred belts, not 10,000. I had no experience as a manufacturer and I had no equipment. And 10,000 belts is a lot! If I could make a belt every 5 minutes, it would take 833 hours of labor. That’s 40 hours per week for 5 months! It was a sobering thought, but it became clear that this was the only way to make these in the USA. I needed an industrial sewing machine and a vibratory tumbler. 

BJ’s basement during the kickstarter project. A portion of the 10,000 straps organized by size and color.

Fortunately the math worked in my favor. The machines would easily be paid for with this first batch. I began to accept my fate. This would be tough, but I could do it, especially if I could convince some foolish friends to help.

 It’s an understatement to say that the next six months were pure hell. It was literally the hardest thing I had ever done in my life. My friend Winslow (and now co-owner) and I worked a full shift at night after our day jobs. It was tedious manual labor week after week, month after month. Winter set in and the garage was frigid. We were exhausted, but six months later, we delivered our first batch of 10,000 belts. They looked pretty good for being made in a garage. What’s more, the feedback was great. Customers loved them and were asking to buy more. It was a proud moment for us.

Our Progress

As we moved forward with our in-house manufacturing plans, more seasoned “business people” continued telling us it was a losing strategy. We heard over and over, “You’ll never make it” and “it won’t scale”. This of course only made us double down to prove them wrong. It took us a while and we made mistakes along the way, but we figured out a way to manufacture our belts in the USA.

Making the belts ourselves, while challenging, provided some immediate benefits. We had direct control over the quality. We made sure we only produced and sent the best products we could make. Over time, we improved, got faster and reduced mistakes. Our product got better as we made changes based on customer feedback and testing. None of those improvements would have happened if someone else was making our belts. 

What Works For Us

From the very beginning, we learned that purchasing machines and producing as much as we could in-house kept our costs low. Early on, I built custom hand tools that would make us faster. Later, we built custom machines to make our slowest and most tedious processes faster. We expanded from manual machines to more automated ones. Now we have a handful of excellent engineers and a machinist that work together to build our next generation production machines. About once each year we redesign our main production machines and replace them. Each iteration is more automated, takes fewer labor hours and improves the consistency and quality of the product. 

Our buckles going through the tumbling process.

Whenever possible, we purchase our own machines. In almost all cases, we are able to do it faster, better and for less cost than outside companies. It’s a demanding approach because it forces us to learn completely new things, but it’s rewarding. In the few years we have been in business we have purchased and become proficient using lasers, knitting machines, looms, grainers, tumblers, robots, vision systems, lathes, CNC mills, press brakes, plastic injection mold machines, boarding machines, and clicker presses. Additionally, our engineers have designed and built dozens of manual and automated machines.

Domestic Manufacturing Today

Our motivation to grow American manufacturing isn’t about bringing back jobs that were lost or isolating ourselves from global trade. We enjoy doing it and believe it’s unwise to give up too much manufacturing knowledge and ability. We’re trying to demonstrate that American businesses can be competitive in a high-tech, global economy. We understand successful manufacturing doesn’t look the same as in the past. We believe winning strategies will include modern tools like 3-D printing, robotics, automation, and in-house marketing. Domestic manufacturing is not impossible or impractical. Staying competitive is vital to our economy, our future, our independence and our spirits.

Our Masterplan

At GRIP6 our mission is to create high quality products that last decades and to strengthen domestic manufacturing. What you buy from us with your hard-earned money should be something you love and want to use daily for the rest of your life. We know it’s a lofty goal, but it is something we strive for. This approach has worked for belts and we believe it can be applied to other products. Our intent is to be more than a belt company.

Get to Know Us

I hope you will get to know us better and allow us to earn your trust. I’m excited about this year as we continue stepping outside our comfort zones and introduce new products. Please join us on the journey as we make new products and bring new processes in house. Follow us as we struggle, misstep and learn. We usually get much better as we go along :).

Thanks for your time! Also, we’d love to hear what you think about our products and our approach!

Next time... We’ll be talking about one of our newest additions to the GRIP6 product family... High Quality Wool Socks! 


100 Responses

Raina Shey
Raina Shey

November 18, 2020

Love our GRIP6 belts we recently ordered! My dad loves his wallet I got him. What a great story of your beginnings! I appreciate your sharing it. I agree on someone else comment that I would like to see some camo product and like the pocket knife idea.

Nicholas DeSiato
Nicholas DeSiato

September 22, 2020

Great story and great belt! You probably are getting no end of business advice but I do think you could do well in looking to the custom pocket knife industry for inspiration and partners. I think teaming up with some of the well known knife designers to make custom buckle designs could be very interesting. You will have to differentiate your brand before the cheap Chinese knockoffs undercut you. Consider reaching out to the major outdoor clothing companies to get their logo on your belt buckle before they just steal your design. REI, Burton, Northface, Patagonia.

Dave
Dave

August 25, 2020

I just ordered my first grip6. I have been looking for something to replace traditional leather belts for work clothing. I work as an industrial electrician and these look like they will work out just great. Can’t wait to try it out. Loved your story about how it all started.

Luan
Luan

August 25, 2020

Love your belts and your company. Came accross this while browsing Youtube. When received the belt and tried it out I knew right away it was something special. After a week of use I bought another one and 2 additional buckles. I know what I’ll be getting for my family this Chrismas.

Love that it is made it the USA. As an immigrant to America find it disheartening that we produce so little here. I tired of paying for cheap made in China stuff that is constantly breaking of is viewed as disposable. I want good old made is USA product that I can own with pride and knowing it is quality stuff that will last.

Mary Cortez
Mary Cortez

August 25, 2020

I came across your ad in Youtube so i checked it out. I have used a military belt last 40 years. I had my brothers belt from the Marine Corp and i found a vendor selling them at a local Swamp Meet (out door market place although they were lots cheeper). I love these buckle belts because they have no holes and are adjustable. They last forever even when you gain weight. Just don’t cut the belt too much. Finally someone made a comfortable one size fits all belt. You need a store in Los Angeles or Torrance, California. I will buy one soon…..Mary, Torrance, California
I will buy one of your belts soon.

John warren
John warren

August 25, 2020

Bought my first grip 6 belt and loved it so much I bought 4 more. I have tried other belts in the past and they just didn’t meet my style. These belts are awesome!!! Glad you guys are making it in the USA and hope all of your other future products come out as great as the belts. I have already told people about your belts and I plan on purchasing more in the future. Thanks again and good luck!!

Edward Palmer
Edward Palmer

August 25, 2020

Ordered on 24 April and arrived in London, UK 5 May. Very pleased: I now have one for formal and one for casual.

Jim Copus
Jim Copus

August 25, 2020

I just ordered my belt, Moss black, can’t wait to receive it.

Sue
Sue

August 25, 2020

I ordered a belt a few years ago because the flat-front look was appealing. I love it, and 3 years later it’s still going strong! Am planning to order another, only because I want more colors. Absolutely delivers on every promise the company made.

Mike Motto
Mike Motto

August 25, 2020

Ok just saw these today on a youtube ad. Just looked at my old leather belt 2 days ago and thought “boy that cheap made belt didn’t last long.” then as if the Internet was reading my mind, imagine that your ad shows up. I like the idea of how the belt works and LOVE the part about it being made in the USA! So I ordered 2. I made a mistake when I ordered and I contacted your company through the online chat. All I can say is if your belts are as good as your customer support they will be stellar! Ordered about 2 hours and I just received email that they have been shipped! I can’t wait to try the belt out. Good luck with your endeavors!

Adrian Bogdan, COO, Khamelia Software Inc.    www.khamelia.com
Adrian Bogdan, COO, Khamelia Software Inc. www.khamelia.com

August 25, 2020

I love your product! I have ordered 5 belts and 3 buckles. They look and operate amazingly. I just had a Zoom meeting with my family, we are a large family stuck in quarantine due to the Coronavirus, and I showed them the belts. They laughed at me because I ordered five. But I like them! Someone commented that it would be great if you could put a corp logo on them. I would be very interested to put Khamelia.com on them as a promo for our core customers. Also, I love that they are MADE in the USA!! Supper cool! Check us out at khamelia.com, maybe you could use our software for your operations. Let me know and I will give you a discount. God bless and keep it up!

Don Boyer
Don Boyer

August 25, 2020

Buckles! And you make some very stylish buckles. The custom buckles are probably a niche market. I can’t see you selling a hundred special buckles (unless the order is for corporate promotion). Have you thought about franchising custom buckles? It would allow to you sell more buckles across the country (those that lend themselves to laser etching). How much equipment would it take? Would offer a small business oppurtunity to vets, Boy Scout troops to raise money, schools to pay for for outings or sports programs (all of the above could be done as mail order) Set up in malls or out of the house.
Also, set up a page to display the custom buckles (with permissions of course). It would be interesting to see what some people have done. Might inspire someone to design something for themselves or for someone special. I have submitted a number of designs for your perusal and if anyone wants to use them. Go For It!!
Cheers

Jonathan Boehman
Jonathan Boehman

August 25, 2020

What a great story! It makes me even happier to support you now.

Idea for you:
I love the different style options you’ve had so far. My favorites are the honeycomb in the Buffalo designs. But I also appreciate having some thing more straightforward. One more coat you have not tapped yet with his belt is the geek market. I would love to see some licensed belts, with symbols such as the Star Wars rebel alliance and empire logos in the buckles.I’m sure you could do well with Transformer Autobots and Decepticons as well. I’m sure it would require a premium in order to pay for the licensing, but I personally would be willing to pay that. Just a thought; keep up the good work!

Bryan Smith
Bryan Smith

August 25, 2020

I found you guys through a Facebook ad a few years ago. I finally got the bullet and bought my first $45 belt. Now, it’s the only thing I wear. I’m up to 4 straps and some 6 or 7 buckles. And you’re right, they’re better now than 2 years ago. Enough so that at least two people I work with have bought in. And would I do it again? Spend $45 on a belt? Damn right!

Tony Pietropaolo
Tony Pietropaolo

August 25, 2020

Congrats on your success and pushing through the tough times and working towards your goals. One question, whatever happened to the wallet?

Marty Merritt
Marty Merritt

August 25, 2020

I love my Grip6 belts! I got one, then two, then three, and now am up to six! I wear a lot of tools on my belt and it handles that perfectly. Please bring back Light Khaki straps! I have lots of light khaki pants, and the khaki belt is too dark (I wear it anyway).

Julius A.
Julius A.

August 25, 2020

When I first saw this product I said to myself “finally something everyone can actually use!” Other belt innovations tried to solve the “hole in the right place” problem with little success. Grip6 has solved this problem that has existed since belts and buckles were invented. The answer is science – the power of friction. Pure genius! The elegance of this product is its simplicity. The “made in USA” is the best part.

I have several belts and buckles the black and silver carbon buckles are my two favorites. I wear these belts with everything, even suits (black carbon).
I think you should offer a very limited edition of TITANIUM buckles. Etched in the lower right corner in small script should be “Ti” (it’s symbol from the periodic table)). It will naturally cost more but that’s fine. I’m sure it will sell out quickly and I’ll be your first customer!
Thanks for your elegantly simple solution to a 150+ year old problem!!

Jo Visschers
Jo Visschers

August 25, 2020

Great to read about your struggles, your commitment and your results. Fully agree, almost everything is produced as a throw away product. I share your approach to produce quality, long lasting products.
I own 3 belts and 6 buckles. I enjoy wearing them.
Even as a non American I am proud of your results and the products you provide.
Based on the belts I purchased, I decided to be a backer for your Grip6 Wallet. Still waiting for version 2.0 Wallet to be delivered. But I am confident you deliver again an excellent product.

Thanks for sharing your history.

Regards
Jo.

Jo Visschers
Jo Visschers

August 25, 2020

Great to read about your struggles, your commitment and your results. Fully agree, almost everything is produced as a throw away product. I share your approach to produce quality, long lasting products.
I own 3 belts and 6 buckles. I enjoy wearing them.
Even as a non American I am proud of your results and the products you provide.
Based on the belts I purchased, I decided to be a backer for your Grip6 Wallet. Still waiting for version 2.0 Wallet to be delivered. But I am confident you deliver again an excellent product.

Thanks for sharing your history.

Regards
Jo.

Flemming
Flemming

August 25, 2020

Hi guys. Like in another comment I was looking for a belt on the internet. Somehow I stumbled over GRIP6 and thought it looked interesting. After a bit of research I ended up deciding for for one. Now I have got two buckles – one of each ‘broad’ and ‘narrow’ with belts to it. I have used it with a suit and enjoyed the easy adjustment and it looked great.
I bought a jacket (US made) in a great shop in Copenhagen. The stuff they’ve got made me contemplate asking them if they would sell GRIP6 would that be possible. I haven’t asked them yet but do you actually sell them through clothing stores? I think you could gain a few customers here in Denmark if more people knew about your product. I love it.
Will be looking forward to reading about your woolen socks.

Nate Rosenau
Nate Rosenau

August 25, 2020

I first saw your belts on Jomez Production disc golf and since trying with a hopefulness I hadn’t had in a while. Now I have 5 buckles and 3 different belts and have a prototype wallet and v2.0 on the way. I can’t wait. I’ll be buying socks very soon. I tell everyone I can and if you guys make a car, I’ll buy it. Keep it up and stay local!

Shirley Covington
Shirley Covington

August 25, 2020

I bought my son one of your belts. I noticed the name of your company and wondered about it. Now I know! It is a wonderful belt, and I thought it was a great break through. My son will be wearing more of your belts! You persevered and congratulations. I wish you would develop women’s belts without holes/or flaps. I wear a lot of belts and love the look. Keep up the good work.

Joe Schuster
Joe Schuster

August 25, 2020

I have several of your Grip6 belts, with more straps than buckles. Is there a way you could add one or two slots on your belt hangar for extra straps to be hung?

E T Bradley
E T Bradley

August 25, 2020

Two things come to mind: Innovation is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. And nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Michael Stultz
Michael Stultz

August 25, 2020

I’m so happy for your success and the success of the company! I think your products are excellent and wear them everyday. Thank you!

Daniel A. Melchior
Daniel A. Melchior

August 25, 2020

Great article, I have purchased 2 GRIP6 belts so far and plan to buy more. Love the simplicity of the belts and the warranty can’t be beat! Keep up the good work, looking forward to new products coming out. Made in U.S.A. all the way. Thanks for a great product.

Toby Johnson
Toby Johnson

August 25, 2020

Great article! Way to stick with it and prove ‘em wrong. My family has close to 20 of your belts. I was able to come tour your new facility and meet some of your staff. They were wonderful and offered to re-do the buckle end of all my old belts with your new process. It was great to see what you have accomplished first hand. As an engineer myself I totally get where you are coming from and am so impressed with what you have done. During my tour I was able to meet Cassidy Keyes who is over your sock production. As a runner I had some input that may or may not be useful. He gave me a pair running socks to try out and I have to say that they are every bit as good as my favorite running socks. Keep up the great work!

Jason P. Hagle
Jason P. Hagle

August 25, 2020

I think you have a great product and I’m encouraged by your story and commitment to manufacture your products in the United States. I have 6 total with about 5 buckles. After I bought my first one I inquired about an exchange because I had lost a good amount of weight. You sent me a new one absolutely free and I have been a huge fan ever since. I’ve also turned several people on to your products and will continue to spread the word about Grip6. Thank you!

Kathy
Kathy

August 25, 2020

Several years ago, I bought narrow classic versions for my husband and my adult son. They tried the belts for several days, and determined that the Grip6 belts were the best belts they had ever worn! No slipping, infinite adjustment, comfortable, low-profile. Neither of them wears any other belt now. My son has been waiting for the honeycomb version in the narrow width. Please make your conservation series buckles in narrow widths! And thank you for making your fantastic products in the USA!

Justin
Justin

August 25, 2020

I have purchased two belts so far and I love them. I use one daily. My wife recently came out as bisexual and I am supporting her to the best of my ability. She would like a way to show off what she has recently discovered without making it extremely obvious and a belt would be an awesome way to do this. I would bet if you offered belts in some of the different LGBTQ colors that you would increase your sales with a certain demographic. I honestly think that the buckles themselves would be great for this because in our case we are looking for something more subtle but I know a lot of people would love for the belt itself to be in the pride colors. Quite honestly, for me I would love for some of the buckles to be printed or etched with something funny on them, like a cocky belt buckle.

Paul J
Paul J

August 25, 2020

I only wear Grip6 belts now and have done for a year. They’re by far the best belts I’ve ever owned, but the best feature is the ability to mix the straps and buckles. They are amazing quality and I will never buy another sort of belt!

Dani Rocha
Dani Rocha

August 25, 2020

Well done! Quite long but interesting story…keep it up. I bought my first belt some months ago and I’ve been amost wearing it ever since! Doesn’t move a mm. Very good quality and I love the simple/sober design (and idea!). Bought my second one now which is on its way to Luxembourg.
Maybe at some point you could do a chrome buckle and maybe some more (simple/neutral) designs? I’d love that…greetings from Luxbg.

M AKMAL
M AKMAL

August 25, 2020

The belt was great… but after around 8-9 months the black ver got scratch damage to it and the paint chipped, which i am surprised myself that it can scratch haha.. and the Grey belt was smooth and awesome, but Black and Brown is stiff, it can still be used no problem but not as smooth as Grey… Maybe you can look at these feedbacks for improvement.. i would want to buy more but already have 3 which i am using daily… huhu

Sam
Sam

August 25, 2020

Just a great belt!
You guys should try CAMO and SPORTS. (Nfl nba nhl etc)
If possible.
You guys rock!

Al Robinson
Al Robinson

August 25, 2020

Love the belts. I’ve only purchased3 so far but plan on more in the future. I really enjoyed reading your story.
Keep it up!

Christian
Christian

August 25, 2020

As a backer of the original Kickstarter that began your journey, I enjoyed watching the process unfold from your early backer updates where you were working your thumbs raw in your home “factory,” all the way to this latest update. I appreciate that you are working hard to continue to provide an excellent product while maintaining your values and goals as a company… and for sharing it with us! :D

BJ Minson
BJ Minson

August 25, 2020

Thanks everyone for the feedback. I’m kind of blown away at the number of comments. I honestly didn’t think very many people would take the time to read this article. It’s kind of long.
I was really hoping there was a way to respond or reply to each comment, but it doesn’t look like we can do that at this point. We’ll work on it a bit more to see if we can get a more robust comments section working soon.
Thanks again! BJ

jay calhoun
jay calhoun

August 25, 2020

I was looking for casual belts, primarily for the golf course, since most of the rest of my time was in suits with traditional leather belts. As I am now dressing more informally most of the time, I am wearing your belts almost exclusively. I think you have a great minimalist design that is very functional. I purchased some for my three sons for Christmas presents.

Congratulations on the successful effort to establish production here in the U.S. I went down that trail myself many years ago making lightweight wheelchairs for children. It’s a challenge but can be done with some creativity and ingenuity. Best of luck as you expand your product line, but be careful that you don’t overextend yourself before you’ve fully tapped the potential of your current product.

Regards,
Jay

Meng
Meng

August 25, 2020

Thanks for sharing your story, it was very insightful. All the more reason to support your mission. “Made in the USA” – can’t beat that! I’m a sucker for products that are well engineered, functional, and practical. Grip6 belts fit that mold and my waist perfectly! Keep being inspired and keep doing what you’re doing BJ. Wishing you success in 2020 and beyond. Thanks for being inspired to making a difference and thanks for creating a wonderful consumer product. Cheers.

Orlando
Orlando

August 25, 2020

Your story is very inspiring. I have been an avid fan of your product for few years now and I have been very active in showing off this wonderful product “ made in the USA”. So far it has resulted to alot of people I know wanting to have one. I live half way across the globe and I can’t wait to see it sold on retail store here. I don’t mind distributing it. When I believe in a product, I would naturally promote it. It’s true that it would be last belt that you would be buying… except if you want it in all colors and designs. Keep up the great work and you have my support to whatever new products you may develop in the not too distant future.

Cyril Ng
Cyril Ng

August 25, 2020

Thank you for sharing your story! Much respect to you and keep on doing what you’re doing! 👍

Ronnie
Ronnie

August 25, 2020

Hi BJ! Thank you for the background story on the humble and inspiring beginnings of your company! I am a proud owner of 3 of your belts, having chucked aside all other belts that I was using before I found Grip6. I bought one for my son last year and he loves it, too! Can’t wait to see your other new product lines when they come out! The best part in reading your story is that I am blessed and encouraged to find that there are still good, honest and hard working people like you succeeding in business today. I have seen and heard enough of unscrupulous individuals who have no business ethics running their companies without any thought of the negative impact they might have on their staff and environment. Hope you and your team will keep up the good work and standard and put these guys to shame!

Adam
Adam

August 25, 2020

I love the story and the belt I bought. True it was a bit more than my other options, but it also holds more value to me by way of the story, style, and utility of this belt. You are very much on to something and I wish I had been there to help with the first six months. If you need more ambitious people, let me know!

Ken
Ken

August 25, 2020

I bought my first one a couple of years ago and love it! Never had a better belt and I am 66. I then bought more in different colors. I bought my son one as a Christmas present and then he too bought more. I introduced hem to my friends and my son has done the same. Everyone that we told has bought them and they too love them. Please keep up the great work in producing an A+ product. God bless!

Martin Wijaya
Martin Wijaya

August 25, 2020

Awesome product! No doubt on the quality and finishing. Too bad that I couldn’t get them cheap enough over to Indonesia. It’s not that the price is expensive, but it’s the CUSTOM and shipping cost that will add on to the belt price making them higher than the belt itself. I’ve been eyeing your belts for over a year now. :)

Rich Melloni
Rich Melloni

August 25, 2020

I was skeptical at first of the belt but figured …. why not? Give it a shot. I like the idea of a low profile (waist-wise) belt that did not stick out of an untucked shirt. So I ordered your holiday 3 pack. All I can say is that I love them. It has only been about a month but I very much enjoy the look, feel, utility, ease, and overall quality of the product. I am sold and will be purchasing several more of your buckles? and belts for future use!

On a side note…. I love the story behind the belt and I absolutely love the attention to detail and the workmanship behind each product. WELL DONE. I’m a customer for life.

Ryan
Ryan

August 25, 2020

I have my belts for over 2 years and recommend them to everyone! I’ve never bought another belt nor will I again unless it’s a grip6! I’m excited to see what designs they bring next, maybe some utility attachments!

Dave Mallon
Dave Mallon

August 25, 2020

G’day from NW Thailand. There’s many very positive feedback comments. My comments are possible avenues for improvement.
1. I’m still waiting for my belts after 2 weeks. As a regular buyer of goods online from the USA, China and Germany, the processing and shipping time is excessive.
2. The Facebook ads are very successful. However, Facebook doesn’t offer any buyer protection in contrast to Alibaba, Amazon, eBay, Lazada (Thai site). There are so many scammers using Facebook and people are wary and reluctant to purchase on FB. Consider consumer protection to increase confidence.
3. The belts are a luxury item, and not a essential product. Compared to competition online, the belts are expensive. I think lowering the price by $3-$5 to $25 would be a deciding factor,. It’s much easier to part with$25 when living from pay cheque to pay cheque.
Congratulations on your successful start-up.

Brad Smith
Brad Smith

August 25, 2020

It was interesting to read this story of how Grip6 came to be and the trials and successes along the way. Here’s my story. I was looking for something more colourful than leather belts for casual wear and once I started looking online, my social media algorithms eventually got Grip6 onto my newsfeeds. I ignored the ads for a while but then clicked on one one day and I’m glad I did. I like the “infinite” tightening—not limited to holes in a leather belt—the range of colours and styles, the comfort and ease of using of the belt, and the fact that it’s made in house by a small company. And, if I can’t get it Made in Canada, then Made in the USA will do. :) I now own five belts and five buckles and not only do I love them but lots of people who see me wearing them compliment me on them! That never happened with a leather belt!

Rodney
Rodney

August 25, 2020

First let me say your products and customer service are amazing! Your business plan and tenacity is inspirational and this is why I keep returning. I tell everyone I know about your company and show off your products every chance I get.
A+

David C.K. Wong
David C.K. Wong

August 25, 2020

2 words : ‘GREAT JOB’
Love the product, love the customer service, love the company with such positive mindset and dedicated owners. KEEP UP WITH THE GREAT WORK.

Lindel Salow
Lindel Salow

August 25, 2020

While I have only purchased one belt…so far…I must say it is used almost daily and it absolutely does live up to all the hype! I think it’s great that you manufacture here in the US and can keep the price reasonable. Thank you, you rock!

Darcy Roy
Darcy Roy

August 25, 2020

I enjoyed reading about the company. I am enjoying my first grip6 belt. I found the challenges interesting and like your approach. I appreciate a product being made in North America and hope others follow your lead in doing what’s best and realizing that what’s best isn’t always what’s easy. Good work!

Kerrie Hoover
Kerrie Hoover

August 25, 2020

Love Love Love my Grip6 belt!
I am a Horticulturist and have my own gardening business. Well lots of bending over requires a belt, a comfortable belt. Most buckles no matter how thin still would pinch. My Grip6 does not pinch, easy to adjust and lies flat not bulky under clothes.

Chad
Chad

August 25, 2020

I have had leather belts for years, but something caught me about the concept and design of Grip6 belts, so I bought the classic bundle, 3 straps, 3 buckles…and haven’t looked back. Love the product, looking forward to other new innovations!

mike scansaroli
mike scansaroli

August 25, 2020

love the belt. bought one and then bought one for my son. we both love them. keep up the good work and keep me up to date with your company’s doings. I wish you the best. MADE IN AMERICA.

Danu
Danu

August 25, 2020

Well…..I think by reading your story from begining until end…it already proves that I love your product already….rarely i do want to know this typical stories….but hey…i am waiting my second order to come …. :)

Nancy Elliott
Nancy Elliott

August 25, 2020

I absolutely love this belt, I have worn no other belt since I bought it. It is very slim and comfortable, and I will be buying more. I will gladly try any other products you come up with!

Marnie Garbo
Marnie Garbo

August 25, 2020

The belt was great! I used it everyday replacing my leather belts. The current situation of American industry was a result of Globalization, an economic policy wherein the main objective is to gain more profit by exporting hard labor part of your industry to 3rd world countries or other countries were labor is cheap resulting to mass lay-off of American labor force. I really admire what you have done not just by producing truly high quality American products but most of all by providing jobs for the American labor force. We hope that all labor force in the world will unite and stop the Globalization.

J H Mills
J H Mills

August 25, 2020

BJ, your story is incredibly inspiring! I hope it gets shared with a large audience of young entrepreneurs who see the possibilities of brining back manufacturing quality products here in the U.S.A. Our dependence on China is economically crippling.
MBA students should study your business plan, your growing pains and ultimate success. We need a new generation of like-minded American entrepreneurs—right now. Our economy needs it, our workers need the jobs. We all want higher quality products proudly made in the U.S.a.
Lead the way, BJ, with your beautiful, unique belts and wallets. Can’t wait to see the socks!
Bravo!

Maja
Maja

August 25, 2020

Hi there!
Just thought l’d let you know that l ordered 3 of your belts and l love them.
Simple and practical in design, they are great to wear everyday.
I admire the fact that you make your products in your own country – so much hard work and dedication. Thank you for amazing effort!
Cheers from Australia 🇦🇺 ☺️👍🏻

Will Power
Will Power

August 25, 2020

I tell all my friends and coworkers this is the best belt I have ever had. I put my belts to the test with daily holster wearing and they never give me trouble. I also get tons of compliments on my American flag buckle! My favorite! I have several belts and buckles and even my wife bought one and loves hers!!

Harold Lehman
Harold Lehman

August 25, 2020

I purchased a couple of belts for my wife and myself when your “buffalo” design came out. We are both actively involved with the BSA but the belts that are standard uniform – well, are lacking in quality. Since we have worn your belt to MANY scouting events, we have been questioned about your product as many others feel the same way and wish to purchase. I also purchased a couple for my son who cannot wear most belts because of a nickel allergy. He adores the fit and comfort, and as an engineer himself, loves the simple design. I will keep imploring BSA to partner with you. Keep up the great work.

DK
DK

August 25, 2020

i was very skeptical at first. back then using canvas belts with metal diamond cut rod keepers for years. they were good but wore out. finally ordered a grip6 classic. one of more to come. for myself and as gifts to others. grip6 belts and buckles do not wear out, extremely durable. before ordering my first i wondered why are some people raving about these belts if i had 1 good belt why would i need more than 1——my reasons why,numbered as they come to mind:
1 they don’t wear out,slip or stretch even under heavy loads and buckle mechanism is easy enough for a child to use.
2 truly infinite adjustment at any time putting on or while wearing.
3 crisp clean(stay clean)refined look, worn with a suit or grunge jeans.
4 comfortable-very comfortable,hug hips right out of box,no break in,no matter waist change,build or added accessories to belt,fit like a glove.
5 no sanitation or mold issues,100% liquid proof(except for extreme chemicals or heat)
6 ultra compact and extreme lightweight.
7 no abrasion to garments cinched over or worn over.
8 love all the optional/interchangeable/add on parts. i own 2 buckle colors and 3 belt colors(interchangeable) to match any clothes i wear.
9 maybe not all components made in usa, but MANUFACTURED IN THE U.S.A.

Marlise "Roo" Edwards
Marlise "Roo" Edwards

August 25, 2020

I have stopped wearing any other type of belt and only wear Grip 6 belts. I have bought numerous belts for my wife, family, friends, and even my motorcycle club brothers! Everyone I introduce to Grip6 belts falls in love with them. I appreciate the sleek design, the ease and interchangeability, and the ability to custom etch buckles. Thank you; this is an amazing “Made in the USA” product that I am incredibly proud to support and share it with others.

Richard Baize
Richard Baize

August 25, 2020

I have your belts and so far the best belts I have ever owned. I am doing my best to only buy American made products because I believe that is one of the best ways to support small businesses and the economy. Thanks for striving to make the best product possible.

Weelian
Weelian

August 25, 2020

I am a proud owner of 2 of your grip6 products and now I have completely stopped using my other conventional belts. These has to be the best quality and most functional belts I have owned and they are worth every penny! Your story is truly inspirational and I hope more American companies will consider making high quality bespoke products in the US. As an international customer, I appreciate and value well made and high quality products. Thank you for following your principles and creating this wonderful product!

Renee Learman
Renee Learman

August 25, 2020

People like us really appreciate your efforts and the belts are fantastic. I appreciate mine so much, I put in the paper work for my work to try to start to sell them also. I am always looking for products made in The USA and go out of my way to get them and they are always made better and worth the little extra money they cost.Keep up the good work and I will do my part of spreading the word about this awesome product!

Ken
Ken

August 25, 2020

I am glad I found Grip6 and a belt I am proud to wear. The belts are high quality., long lasting and infinitely adjustable meaning I don’t have to buy another belt. I can now upgrade just by buying a new buckle. The belts are great for travel and the carbon fiber buckle gets me through airport security quickly. Glad for you successfully and I look forward to other products.

Wayne Schultz
Wayne Schultz

August 25, 2020

The pure simplicity and ultra clean design of your belts was what caught my eye. I bought a pair three months ago, even though I have too many other belts already. In that time I have worn your belts about 90% of the time. They are not the fastest or simplest on and off, but they are comfortable and look great.
One advantage that I have noticed, is adjust-ability. With some other belts, buckling at a preset hole may be too loose and the next hole too tight. Finding that “sweet spot” that is just right is a big benefit that your belts provide.

William Roberts
William Roberts

August 25, 2020

I have one of your belts .I think that they are Great as good as the one that we had in the US Navy. So keep up the Great Work, I love mine!!!

Rocco
Rocco

August 25, 2020

Simply perfect best belt in the known world

Pedro Aleman (Da Plunger)
Pedro Aleman (Da Plunger)

August 25, 2020

I was wondering if you were going to make some buckle’s for different trades I haven’t purchased your product yet but I will if you make some for plumbers.

Austin
Austin

August 25, 2020

Your belt is one of my favorite things I’ve ever owned!
Great post, looking forward to when the wallet comes out!

Joel
Joel

August 25, 2020

Best belt I’ve ever purchased.

D. BOUNDS
D. BOUNDS

August 25, 2020

CONGRATULATIONS on your success because you didn’t quit. I have only had your belts for 3-weeks. It just took a couple of days before I went to the closet and removed over a dozen belts that I would never be wearing again. I only kept the ones that had special meaning. One leather one had my name on it—kept it. I will be back for more.

Christian H
Christian H

August 25, 2020

I seriously love your products I own 7 belts as if today and have purchased another 3 for friends and family. I love the story and your motivation to make everything in house. Your staff are some of the best customer service representatives I have ever worked with. Truly a too notch company and values!

Dorrie
Dorrie

August 25, 2020

I only have one Grip6 belt so far, but I really like the quality, look and how well it works. After talking to two lovely people at your company, I chose the navy men’s belt, instead of the woman’s. And, at the last minute bought the blue laser cut buckle that matches. So glad the people who helped me explained what they did, because I would have chosen something different and I love what I bought. I will be a customer for life. I do hope some day you will bring back the white wider belt with the white buckle. I would love that. Your philosophy really resonates with me. I had a small business for ten years and was happy that people appreciated our quality and how much we cared. We made large open wooden play environments for birds. It started because I rescued some birds and didn’t want to keep them locked in cages. I, too, manufactured everything in house, locally, because what I was getting from others did not live up to my standards. I am so happy to have found your company and I love your story. I look forward to seeing whatever new products you have and wish you much future success.

Mike Towler
Mike Towler

August 25, 2020

I love Grip 6 belts! I am hoping you come out with a stretchy version. I’ve tried a couple stretchy belts in your buckles with varying results. Just need the extra stretch at Thanksgiving and for those times i want some flexibility. Grip 6 holds tight, but there have been times almost too tight. Wanting a little give and yet still the hold.

Ilya
Ilya

August 25, 2020

Great story, BJ! Love your spirit and tenacity. I own four regular belts and two wider work belts. I purchased a carbon fiber buckle when you first introduced it. When I received the buckle, there were some very slight imperfections on the sides, and I remember calling and speaking with you about it. You took care of me right away, and I appreciate it very much! I love the CF buckle when I travel, especially since it does not set the security scanners, and I don’t need to take the belt off. What about making a buckle from some other more economical material that you can market as a “travel-friendly” belt? Amazon sells a lot of fairly cheap plastic buckle belts for that purpose. They look good when new, but wear out and break easily. You guys can deliver the unmatched quality as you already do with your other belts! Congrats on your continued growth and success! Are you planning to introduce belts that may have some contrasting stitching? For example, a black belt with a red stitch on the outside or through a middle?

Barry Molnaa
Barry Molnaa

August 25, 2020

I have owned Grip 6 belts for awhile now and I absolutely love them. I made a decision to purchase them because I wanted to support a company that was committed to making their products in the USA. The quality of the belts is amazing. I have belts in multiple colors with multiple buckles and it is the ONLY belt I wear. I even have the Christmas buckle for December!

Myanna
Myanna

August 25, 2020

Hi BJ – what a great story. I love your belts, and applaud your commitment to keep all the manufacturing domestic. Really looking forward to the next venture.

Mike
Mike

August 25, 2020

Thanks for putting this together; I loved reading through it! I was fortunate enough to be an original Kickstarter customer via belts, and was hooked from the first product. I got more belts and buckles, referred several friends, and now I am supporting the wallet campaign. I’ve been overly impressed by Grip6’s devotion to quality and customer service. Keep on doing what you’re doing, I’m in it for the long ride!

Doug
Doug

August 25, 2020

Great story, great belts! Thanks for sharing. I own a handful of your belts, and I have gifted many more to friends and family. I’ve also recommended them countless times to other people. I hope the company continues to do great. I don’t ever want these belts to become unavailable! :) Can’t wait to see what the future holds and what new products you come up with.

Nancy Melvin
Nancy Melvin

August 25, 2020

What a great story!! I wish you and your company the best. My husband and I love the belts we just bought from you, and plan to buy more. I look forward to see what you do in the future. You have a loyal customer here.

Joe
Joe

August 25, 2020

You have a great story and with a 5 year history you have made significant strides in a short period of time. I am a first time purchaser and have been very happy with my first set. Certainly will be a repeat customer and look forward to keeping in touch with your next chapters. Thank you for staying USA!

Chris
Chris

August 25, 2020

I love my belts! I haven’t worn any other belts since I got yours and people are noticing, and liking them. Given what you did for belts, I’m interested to see what you’ll do with socks!
There is one problem though. I was surprised to see the colour come off the buckle: just a patch on the inside where the belt runs. Other than that the buckle has kept its colour perfectly. They still look great.
Thank you!

Thomas
Thomas

August 25, 2020

Hi, I read your story on how you started the company – very interesting. I live in Germany and I recently bought 3 belts from you. I bought 3 in order to get free shipping. I love your belts. They look and feel good and they work well. What else can you ask for? Some people have commented that they are too expensive. I do not think so. For something of such high quality I am willing to pay the price. Keep up the good work.

Marci
Marci

August 25, 2020

I have an idea! State flag buckles! Wooooo hooooo! I live in Colorado and we love our flag here, 365 days of sunshine. I love your products, I have purchased several belts and buckles. Keep true to yourself, your ideas and your company BJ!!! Think about the state flag buckles!

Mark Adamson
Mark Adamson

August 25, 2020

Love my belt and waiting for my custom order to arrive. Good luck with the socks, but if you do not provide ‘no shows/ultra low cut’ I will not be interested.

George J. Fajvan
George J. Fajvan

August 25, 2020

I first learned of Grip6 in 2017 and made my first purchase. I am fully supportive of Made in USA products so when I see a new one, I like to check it out. I really did not need a new belt at the time but this design intrigued me as well as the back story of the company 3 years later and I am the proud owner of 4 buckles and 5 belts. My daughter has a green tree buckle she loves and I got the American flag for my brother in law. Awesome products with simple but truly effective engineering. I wear one of the belts every day and still wearing my reindeer buckle as well. Thanks B.J. for the opportunity to win that! I can see so many opportunities for organizations to get on board with a custom buckle to represent themselves.
Please keep on innovating and I am more than happy to test new products for you out here on the east coast.

David Malcolm
David Malcolm

August 25, 2020

I’m a UK customer and am delighted with my belt. I wear it at work as part of my ambulance service uniform. Just to let you know I would personally prefer to buy something made in the USA than in the far East. I fear that most companies in the UK simply out source all their production and this means that the country loses out on jobs and skills. Well done and I’m looking forward to future products.

John Doty
John Doty

August 25, 2020

Ever since I discovered your product online, I cannot stop buying them! I have a minimalist mindset and Grip6 belts are a perfect compliment to my approach. Not only are they light weight, durable, a thin profile, and made with the highest quality, but they are made in the USA as well! As a veteran this is very important to me. I am also an avid second amendment supporter and gun enthusiast. The Grip6 belts are perfect as gun belts too! The webbing is strong and durable, especially the Workbelt line. I look forward to seeing more styles for buckles, and even more color choices for belts. Keep up the good work Grip6 Team!!!!

Alan Face
Alan Face

August 25, 2020

I love it! Don’t give up; keep at it.

Jordan F
Jordan F

August 25, 2020

GRIP6, you’ve produced a fantastic product and one that I have worn literally every single day since my May 2018 purchase! The stiffer belt is a big improvement and one that I’d love to see continued as you grow your product line. Next up, what about some classy sock garters or suspenders utilizing a similar design?

Dave D.
Dave D.

August 25, 2020

I’ve been buying your belts from the beginning. I was looking for something more comfortable and knew your design was a good chance for that and I was right. I’ve bought several belts since then. I like your new, heavier duty belts because it allows me to cancel carry better than the older style. I also bought a work belt and that is very nice too but I only use it for work as it’s a little wider and doesn’t work with my firearm holsters. I have only bought your more basic buckles because the price seems a little high for the wood and carbon fiber ones. (I know it cost more to make but I can’t justify spending that much.) I would like to see more designs for the buckles, as I’m not into disk golf, so it don’t fit my style. The flag design is nice. Overall you make a great belt and I’m glad that it’s a US product. Keeping jobs here is very important. Keep up the good work. I’ll definitely be a loyal customer.
Ray Haas
Ray Haas

August 25, 2020

Wow, what an inspiring story! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve shown off my Grip6 belt (even though it is kinda strange, at times, when I say, “Hey, check out my new belt!” … I only do that with people I know!). I use the belt as my uniform belt in the Civil Air Patrol. It really presents a nice appearance without the leftover belt hanging out.

One other thing I really like about the belt is that it flexes with me. I have been in a period of gaining and losing weight, which would normally require me to use different belts. I really appreciate being able to use as much belt as I need on any given day, WITHOUT having either huge amounts or tiny amounts of leftover belt hanging out.

Keep up the good work, and I look forward to continuing to hear your story!

Chheng Pech
Chheng Pech

August 25, 2020

Great story BJ! You have put a lot of thought and made some very good points in this article. It is no surprise to me because I know who you are. I love what you said about America is not competitive, and I find that true in every sense. I believe it stems from laziness and hopelessness. It is more common these days to see people doing half effort and rather pawning the work off to someone else. For the few who are diligent and hard working, lose hope due to many discouraging advices. But not you my friend, that is what I’ve always admired about you BJ. It’s as if you find strength in acceptance of those challenges when the world says it’s not possible. My only wish is that I was in the right place from day one to show you how much I love and appreciate you BJ. Sincerely, your Cambodian brother Chheng Pech.

Robin Miller
Robin Miller

August 25, 2020

I have 5 belts. I first bought two women’s sizes, but later realized I loved the Width of the larger men’s belt, so I ordered with a note about what I wanted, and you got it right! I love the hanger for them also!

I love your passion for American manufacturing, and enjoyed reading your story. I can’t wait to try the socks. I live in a cold climate at 7,000 foot elevation, so wool is a must!

Congratulations on your success, and thank you for sticking to your values and creating an awesome product!

Filippo Bellisomo
Filippo Bellisomo

August 25, 2020

I looked and looked on the internet for the perfect minimalist belt. After quite a long search, I stumbled upon Grip6. It was exactly what I was looking for. I love everything the guys at Grip6 do and I am often compelled to buy something. But I actually take my minimalism pretty seriously, so the one belt I bought moves from trousers to trousers. I bought one for each of my nephews.
My Grip6 belt is still on of the coolest things I possess, and I always feel a fascinating vibe whenever I put it on. Maybe one day Iʼll buy another one so I can discern between normal life and work trousers, since I am always moving my one belt from one to another. But for now the thought of having just the one belt the suits everything is good enough for me. Thank you.

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