“Working in sporting goods, I acquired a fascination, obsession really, with hunting gear,” says Mike Nielson CEO & Founder of SKRE Extreme Hunting Gear. “To say I’m a gear junkie is grossly understated.” And it’s this passion that led Nielson and his partners’ on an indefatigable search for superior performance hunting and outdoor sporting apparel. Ultimately, their search would create some of the most revolutionary concealment technology in the world.
But it’s not just SKRE’s belief in their superiority of products. Their customers absolutely love the gear. Their website is chock-full of testimonials about the difference the gear has made in hunting, fishing and all types of outdoor sports where the elements make a difference.
And like the great outdoors –full of hills, valleys, mountainous terrain, highs and lows – their road to success has been full of challenges.
Mike Wand, SKRE Co-Founder and partner refers to their origin story as “one of hesitation, difficulty, frustration, disaster, and failure. For 24 months plus we experienced one trial after another, one failure after another.”
But, Wand says, it was through these failures they emerged smarter, stronger and wiser. A team that emerged with more dedication and commitment to see the project succeed–moving forward and taking risks to purse a dream. And this entrepreneurial spirit also helped them navigate the storms of COVID-19.
A direct-to-consumer business model, possible through online sales, meant the company was able to stay operational through the most challenging times brought on by COVID-19. And although sales had been buoyed up through the pandemic, inventory and personnel costs had also increased not to mention various supply chain issues.
“[The] USBLF loan provided the financing we needed at a critical time for our business,” Nielsen said.
With the loan from USBLF, SKRE was able to finance some of their inventory to keep cash reserves and take a fiscally conservative approach to prepping for next season.
“One thing I like to do at the end of each hunt is evaluate my gear,” Nielsen shares, and he holds that gear to pretty strict standards:
- How well did it perform for the function for which it was purchased?
- Did it live up to the advertised performance?
- Did it provide concealment?
- And (most importantly), did it provide an edge?
He says his criteria is simple, but it’s got to pass to stay in service. And thanks to the USBLF loan, he and his partners can focus on continuing to provide a superior concealment product – whether you can see them or not.
Purchase SKRE apparel or learn more about the full story of SKRE’s adventure at https://skregear.com/.