What’s so wrong with belt holes?
That was the question I asked Brig Taylor, the CEO of SlideBelts. SlideBelts makes “ratchet-style” belts that the wearer slides to adjust.
“There’s like 30 different adjustments on a SlideBelt, as opposed to the six you have on a regular belt. That’s not a terrible catastrophe, but most people agree that it’s the small things in life that you kind of appreciate,” Taylor said.
The original SlideBelt, which was introduced in 2008, sells for $42 to $45, depending on the material of the belt strap. The recently introduced Survival SlideBelt retails for $180 but includes a host of hidden gadgets, including an LED flashlight, a fire starter rod, a stainless steel knife and a bottle opener.
Taylor says he never completed his Boy Scout training to the point where he learned how to make a fire out in the woods.
“I always joked that I’ll never have to learn how to start a fire in the wilderness – I’ll just create something,” Taylor said.
Taylor may not know how to start a fire using sticks and stones, but he and his wife Michelle, the president of SlideBelts, do know how to build a business from the ground up. In 2015, SlideBelts sold $2.6 million worth of belts; this year, they’ve already nearly doubled sales.
The El Dorado Hills-based company recently landed the 151st spot on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing companies in the U.S. But the Taylors don’t mention sales when asked what they’re most proud of professionally.
“One thing I’m really proud of is the team we’ve built – the team that we have. They’re – gosh, I’m going to get sentimental,” Michelle Taylor said, tearing up.
The Taylors say they’ve tried to create a company culture they would have wanted for themselves. Full-time employees are only expected to work 35 hours per week. But the married entrepreneurs say work-life balance is slightly harder for them to achieve personally.
“[We work] the maximum amount of hours possible – I don’t think we count,” Taylor said.
And while the company has grown from 10 employees to 25 in the past year, Taylor said they try not to dwell on the pressure.
“I’m not really focusing on all the hurdles, just, ‘What is this next hurdle? Is this going to sink us or are we going to succeed?’” Taylor said.