After building anticipation, SIXSITE launches the newest big game hunting line.
Each outdoor company with the guts to debut on the market has a tough task ahead: set themselves apart, get product in the hands of true users, and provide some actual utility that wasn't available before.
Especially in the hunting apparel niche, there's got to be a factor that separates a given item from the many others like it. So when Stephen Holley decided that was going to be his next project, the former Navy SEAL had a big advantage.
"SIXSITE is a high-end outdoor apparel brand," Holley told me over the phone before the e-commerce site was officially launched. "But for me, it was designing and building a hunting apparel line that created some intuition and functionality in the market that didn't exist."
AS it turns out, Holley had actually been at this idea for a long time. He worked around the gear and functionality that off-the-shelf products didn't have by making his own alterations and additions to certain clothing and outerwear items.
Born and raised in Texas, Holley hunted and fished as a youngster and maintained that outdoor interest throughout his path to the Naval Academy and eventually the esteemed position of Navy SEAL.
He commonly saw the need to change this or tweak that, so his mobility, tools, and efficiency was top notch at all times. The changes he and his SEAL teammates made to their gear ranged from the minor to the drastic, leading to a need to learn how to use a sewing machine.
"From a design perspective, it wasn't always the prettiest," Holley mentioned, "but from a functionality perspective it got the job done. I started doing that with some of my hunting equipment when I got out [of the Service]."
One particular story Holley tells, with enthusiasm audible in his voice, is the story of the bull elk in Idaho that came "screaming in on me," as he described it. The bull wasn't far, but Holley, bow in hand, needed to find out for sure. He didn't have the time or opportunity to take his rangefinder off his belt and move it to his eye. With the elk primed for spooking, Holley guessed on the shot, put the arrow under the bull, and missed his opportunity.
"I thought, 'Man, if my rangefinder had just been right here, next to my chest, very accessible with minimal movement, I could have ranged that animal and I could have killed it,'" Holley said. "So I came home and I put a D-ring up there, coming out of a shoulder seam, and I started to hunt with my rangefinder right there where it was easily accessible, and from a tactical perspective, there was minimal movement."
Those are the sorts of ideas that started the bigger picture development of SIXSITE.
That snowballed to the better part of three years spent design a fuller line and searching for a domestic manufacturer. Holley knew from the start it would be a struggle, and obstacles were there for the dodging. But getting to this point, and finally having a product for people to see and get interested in, is why he did it to begin with.
"I literally put everything I'd saved in my life and pushed it to the middle of the table," the founder said. "It's that type of passion and that type of commitment that I hope will help drive the success of this company."
Now that the line is unveiled, it's already showing signs of promise. From base layers to ball caps, the initial impression seems to be that these will work great when hunting for big game in America's West.
The South San Juan Insulated Jacket looks particularly awesome.