New Purpose For Veterans & Bourbon Barrels
For US Military veterans, the American flag is more than a symbol of our country. It evokes pride, memories, & a love for this nation. Just as our military men & women have served the US with the flag on their sleeve, Cruise Customs Flags now wants to serve them. Veterans once served a great purpose and bourbon barrels once served a great purpose. We are helping them both find their new purpose handcrafting American flags.
Describe The Process Of Launching The Business
In 2018, after I launched the wedding band product line, my Instagram page started getting serious attention. I realized that I no longer had a paying hobby, but had a legitimate business with a ton of potential. I started a website with Shopify, which for e-commerce, is absolutely amazing. I built my website entirely myself, using Shopify free themes and apps, and the basic Shopify plan of $30 a month.
I registered the business name with the state, first as an LLC as an umbrella for future businesses and then a DBA for this specific one. That cost me about $300 in total. I registered ValhallaWoodForge.com on GoDaddy for pretty cheap, I think around $15 a year, and then got Google Suite for an email with the domain name, which cost around $10 a month for a single .com email address. Ive since added my wife and our employee, so I pay around $25 a month for three hosted email addresses. I also ordered business cards for like, $50 through Vistaprint.
First Responder Of The Month
We love giving back to our community and particular love to give to those that selflessly serve their communities. Thats why Custom Jacks has partnered up with iHeart Radio and several radio station in Las Vegas including Sunny 106.5, 95.5 The Bull, Real 103.9 and more to pay tribute to our first responders.
Recommended Reading: How Long Is Short Term Disability Insurance
Through Starting The Business Have You Learned Anything Particularly Helpful Or Advantageous
Pretty early on, I hired someone to do marketing for me. They were just starting out as a digital marketing brand after successfully building their own brand, and offered to do marketing for me for free for a couple of months as a portfolio builder, but using my money for ad spend.
Their success as a brand did not translate well to starting a marketing agency, and turning over marketing control to them with my money as ad spend, especially in the early days, hurt a lot. I ended up reverse-engineering what they were doing in Facebook ads, reading everything I could on that platform, and trying it myself by doing everything they werent. I realized they honestly had zero ideas of what they were doing and had really only been successful with their niche because they were the first to do it, not because they actually knew what they were doing. So I fired them and focused on my own marketing efforts which have been far more successful. So the big lesson here is, do your homework if youre going to use outside marketing agencies, and dont take shortcuts.
Bourbon Barrels Repurposed By American Heroes With American Tools At Cruise Customs Flags
There is nothing more American than a Veteran hand-crafted American Flag made from Bourbon Barrels!
Cruise Customs Flags began with a passion for the American flag & all that it symbolizes. Co-Owner, Chris Cruise is a US Military veteran that understands well the value of patriotism. Seeking a meaningful way to express that, Chris & his wife, Amber, started producing hand-crafted American flags. American flags that are built by U.S. veterans from the military and first responder communities using repurposed bourbon barrels.
Just in case all that is stated above doesnt give you the American feel, understand that bourbon barrels can only come from the United States of America. Back in 1964, Congress declared bourbon Americas Native Spirit. Whiskey can come from anywhere from Scotland to Brooklyn, but bourbon can only be Made In America. This means that bourbon barrels can only originate from America.
As Chris and Amber have built Cruise Customs Flags they have noticed some similarities between these bourbon barrels and the veterans themselves. Things such as time served can be anywhere from two to twenty years and along the way they get banged up and bruised. Once the veterans and the barrels make it to Cruise Customs Flags they can begin their journey of becoming beautiful again and begin to find a new purpose.
As if such an invitation wasnt enough of an honor, Chris was also featured as a Veteran on Evan Williams American Hero Edition Bourbon Bottle.
You May Like: How Much Does Disability Pay In Colorado
Heath Trigg Is Fulfilling A Dream At Heritage Flag Co By Seth Allen
Before the summer of 2014, small business owner Heath Trigg worked in construction and cabinetry for residential homes across the Sandhills area of North Carolina. Living in Southern Pines, Heath became known for his craft in woodworking cabinets. That summer, two veterans approached Heath with a proposal.
Each piece of wood from each barrel is different, Heath explains. The coloring, texturethe result can be extraordinary.
Heath knew the guys wanted the bar done with whiskey and wine barrels in which the beer was aged.
These guys wanted my help in creating a bar for a brewery they were starting. At the time, we were slammed with construction work and didnt have the time to devote to a custom job like this, Heath explains. They stayed on me about it. I would show up at the office, and there would be craft beer waiting on the doorstep. So, I finally said, give me a budget, and I will get it done.
Each piece of wood from each barrel is different, Heath explains. The coloring, texturethe result can be extraordinary.
Upon the opening of the brewerySouthern Pines Brewing Co.community members were very impressed by the craftsmanship.
Evan Williams Celebrates Veteran And Craftsman Chris Cruise With American
Evan Williams is honoring Kentucky veteran Chris Cruise with his own American-Made Hero Bottle.
Each year, the Heaven Hill bourbon brand selects six American-Made Heroes and presents each with a personalized American flag Evan Williams bottle as well as a $10,000 donation to the charity of their choice. Chris Cruise, a Kentuckian living in Sheperdsville only a few hours from the distillery where Evan Williams is made, was one of the six selected for 2019.
Sergeant Cruise is a former Army paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division deployed during Operation Iraqi Freedom. When he returned home to Kentucky, he, like many veterans, struggled reassimilating to civilian society. He discovered that woodworking was a therapeutic for him way to deal with anxiety and PTSD, and started to head out to his garage to craft rugged, handmade American flags from bourbon barrel staves for friends and family.
As the orders began to pile up, Cruise decided that this job could be a way to help more veterans trying to find their place in life after the military. He founded Cruise Customs in 2017, and just under a month ago, the operation moved out of the Cruises garage to its own shop.
Simply put, were veteran owned, and we hire veterans to handcraft American flags out of bourbon barrels, he says of his business, which employs eight part-time veterans and family members. The team makes three sizes the smallest called the Captain, the medium the Lieutenant, and the largest the Colonel.
You May Like: Can You Get Disability If You Have A Felony
How Are You Doing Today And What Does The Future Look Like
Ive since left law enforcement and work a full-time job while I continue to scale the business. I am working hard to one day replace my full-time income. Its already at the point where my wife was able to go down to part-time at her job to spend more time at home with our family, as well as work on the bookkeeping and administrative side of things.
Right now, after hiring an employee, our profit margin is roughly 50% of gross revenue, meaning were paying ourselves about $2,000 a month. Weve decided to take about $500 a month of that gross profit and re-invest it back into the business. Going into 2020, we plan to expand into some new product lines, add a laser engraver, and invest quite a bit of money into Facebook, Instagram and Google ads to further scale the business.
Additionally, I plan on getting our Instagram follower count above 10,000 followers, which seems to be a sweet spot for profitability. My goal is to increase our monthly gross revenue to at least $10,000 while keeping a roughly 50% profit margin in 2020 and double it again in 2021. To maintain the margins, well likely be investing in a second and possible third CNC, and were also considering outsourcing some of our painting and wood cutting work to local contractors.
The Heritage Flag Company
The Heritage Flag Company is the first company to create American flags out of whiskey barrels. Founded in 2014 in Southern Pines, NC by Heath Trigg, the first flag was created out of whiskey barrels in order to match the taproom that Heath had been commissioned to build for Southern Pines Brewing Company. The first Heritage Flag was offered for sale to the public on Veteran’s Day 2014.
You May Like: How Much Do You Get Paid On Short Term Disability
Veteran Creates Bourbon Barrel Flags In Honor Of Healthcare Workers
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A local company is giving a new purpose to bourbon barrels while helping health care workers at the same time.
Cruise Custom Flags, which started in the garage of a local veteran’s Shepherdsville home, creates American flags out of Kentucky bourbon barrels. The company has now designed a custom flag for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, which features a heart rhythm on the stripe below the stars.
All profits from the custom made flag, called America-One Heart Beat Edition, will be donated to several hospitals, including University of Louisville Healthcare. Each flag costs $60.
For more information on the flags, .
Discover The Whiskeymade Way
ALMOST EVERYTHING WE MAKE CAN BE PERSONALIZED
OK, so by now you know that we source our wood from 100% American oak, and that oak comes from the bourbon belt of Kentucky. What you might not know is that we specialize in gifts. Particularly wedding and anniversary gifts that we can personalize to say or display just about anything you can imagine. Dont have a creative mind? We have creative folks here on staff ready to help bring your ideas to life. Just contact us with what you want. We can personalize almost any of our products, making them awesome gifts for groomsmen, wedding parties, weddings and anniversaries.
You May Like: What Time Does Disability Get Deposited
Cruise Custom Flags Bourbon Barrel American Flags
Prices Subject to Change
Chris Cruise is a United States veteran repurposing old bourbon barrels to make Cruise Custom Flags, American Flags out of wood. On a scale from 1-to-badass, these are badass.
I was a paratrooper in the 82nd airborne division, served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Says Cruise.
Me being from Kentucky, bourbon, horse racing and all that and my husband being a veteran, we just decided to cross those paths, Amber says.
I often think about who Im making the flag for which is pretty cool because usually theyre very patriotic or its usually a former service member and were putting the years of service in which theyve served or their family members have served, Chris said.
The bourbon barrel staves once served a good purpose holding bourbon. So, we wanted to give veterans a new purpose once they get out of the military and find their new purpose because they once served a great purpose too, Chris says.
Youre buying into our vision of helping transitioning veterans
Hes been an entrepreneurial heart all of his life and hes a very proud veteran and hes actually living out his dream, His wife, Amber said.
If this amps you up, be sure to head over to his site and place your order. cruisecustomsflags.com
You can also check out Boothill Blades, another veteran-owned business making custom knives that you will fall in love with.
Take Us Through The Process Of Designing Prototyping And Manufacturing Your First Product
The first flag I ever made was honestly, not the greatest. I glued on stars and used too thin of wood. I quickly moved into using better, thicker wood and hand carving the stars using a hammer and chisel. I sold the first few flags for dirt cheap to friends in the law enforcement and military communities, which got me great feedback and even better word of mouth referrals.
A typical flag would take me about 10 hours to make. After a while, I moved to use a Dremel and hand-carved the stars and other customizations, which brought down the process to about 5-6 hours per flag. Now, using a CNC to carve the stars, I can do an entire 50-star wood flag in less than an hour. I can work on multiple flags at once, and within two hours, have 2-5 flags done.
Ive also streamlined the ring process. I bulk order ring blanks, which are the metal rings with a channel cut in them, and then inlay whatever wood and other materials in the channel before finishing it with 10+ coats of a polished sealant. For example, inlaying whiskey barrel into a metal ring involves drilling a hole in a piece of whiskey barrel, sanding it the exact width of the channel in the metal ring, gluing it in, and letting that glue cure for several hours before I am able to sand it down smooth and put the sealant on it. Ill do glue-ups of 5-10 rings on one day, and then the next day, sand down smooth and finish those rings.
The early daysMaking a USMC flag
Don’t Miss: Can You Work And Draw Social Security Disability
Since Launch What Has Worked To Attract And Retain Customers
Really, focusing on social media and great customer service has been our two biggest advantages. I try to be extremely responsive to customers and potential customers, including doing digital mockups of their customization requests. For a physical product, Instagram has been our best referral for rings, especially with the stunning product photography my wife does. I rarely have done paid ads, focusing instead on generating organic followers who will actually buy my products. Shopify is amazing for this, as it can directly plug into Facebook and Instagram, so were able to tag our products on both and have people click through to our site direct from Instagram.
To grow the follower count organically, Ive hosted a few giveaways of larger items, such as our wood flags. Lately, Ive partnered with some smaller influencers in similar niches, such as construction and the veteran community, to do joint giveaways where in order to win, you have to follow both accounts and comment on the giveaway post. This makes Instagrams algorithm recognize engagement, which then leads Instagram to push these posts higher in search results. Ill usually do a paid boost for these posts, around $50 or so, which makes the engagement skyrocket. This helped grow the follower count to where it is today, around 4,000. In order to keep these followers, however, I make sure that I post a quality post, once a day.
Etsy order history YTD – I started using Etsy ads heavily starting in September
Southern Pines Company Crafts Flags Using Whiskey Barrels
It all started with a dream. Heath Trigg, owner and founder of Southern Pines-based The Heritage Flag Co. woke up with a jolt in the middle of the night in 2014. He was dreaming of an American flag.
No earthly idea why or how that happened. But I got out of bed and I painted a picture at 3 in the morning of the worlds first whiskey-barrel American flag.
At the time, Triggs construction and cabinet-building companies were working on a custom brewery bar for three Army veterans in Southern Pines. They were getting out of the Special Forces to start work, he says. I looked at a set of plans, and they had a room that intrigued me: a barrel aging room . We decided to construct the tasting room at the brewery all out of deconstructed whiskey barrels.
A special friendship formed between Trigg and the Southern Pines Brewing Co. owners, Micah Niebauer, Jason Ginos and John Brumer. They were all in their early 30s, and Trigg was impressed with their passion for the business and how they applied lessons learned while serving in the Special Forces. Such an awesome friendship was formed that when we were nearing the end of the project, wanted to make something for them that said thanks, says Trigg, now 35.
Ive told this story many times, and it still means something every time, Trigg says. When they saw the flag, it was a total surprise. That was awesome. Just seeing these Special Forces guys lose it over this flag.
Its an American flag, you know?
You May Like: What Is Considered Long Term Disability