“My dad gave me access to the garage I had plenty of tools. I liked to build things. Take them apart. See how things work.” Inventor BJ Minson went from tinkering when he was a kid to now being the founder and co-owner of a manufacturing company called Grip6. He makes a unique belt with no holes and no visible tail.
He demonstrated how you use their belt; “You’ve got a buckle and you’ve got a strap. The strap goes from the backside of the buckle. Like so until it locks in at the T. When you put it together, it actually goes down this direction and across.”
Grip6 wanted to manufacture their products themselves instead of outsourcing overseas. Minson explained; “I personally think it’s a deep responsibility thing to say, okay we are going to do this ourselves because it is difficult and it’s hard and the chance of failure is high. But if you do something yourself you are going to be more invested and do a better job on it.”
It’s been said “Necessity is the Mother of Invention.” Their products are so unique that they ended up designing and building some of their own machines. Co-Owner, David Burton, gave me the grand tour and walked me through the process; “With the buckles we bring in the American sourced aluminum. The fiber optic laser cuts the buckles out of that sheet. About 1000 per sheet. That takes anywhere from five to seventeen hours to cut. After that it goes onto the grainer. From there they get routed, get chamber in the edges and inside the holes, they get stamped they get bent.”
Some of the buckles are made using robots that they modified. Burton told me; “Right now we have two robots. Within a year we will probably have four or five.”
With their emphasis on in-house manufacturing, I wasn’t surprised to see special machines that they made to put finishing touches on their belt straps.
Burton told me with a smile; “We are making high quality wool socks. The wool is largely source is the Rocky Mountains.”
What’s it like for Minson to see his patented belt invention take off? “That’s pretty incredible. This was in a garage a couple of years ago and now people are finding us online and it’s a good enough product that it kind of sells itself and thank goodness, because I’m a terrible salesman.”
With another Utah Success Story, I’m Doug Jessop, ABC4 News.
You can see my positive business profiles called “Utah Success Stories” every Sunday in the ABC4 News at 10 p.m. and online at www.abc4.com/success.
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