GoatGuns makes miniature gun models that aren’t actually guns

gOat Guns (short for Greatest Of All Time Guns) offers collectors a whole new kind of item to covet: miniature die-cast gun models.

Affectionately nicknamed “The Manly Toy,” GoatGuns don’t come pre-assembled – they come packaged as do-it-yourself kits with accessories and parts that the buyer builds himself. The 1: 3 scale models are die-cast and painted to match their full-size versions, with attachments that are often indistinguishable from the real thing.

“When we started out, we tested pre-assembled products that came in these sophisticated display boxes,” said founder Brad Lunt. “I thought they looked pretty cool, but it turned out that wasn’t what the customers wanted. The demand was so much higher for the things they could build on their own – they needed both the experience and the item, so we gave it to them.

Goat Gun collectibles was born out of a mishmash of Lunt’s growing interests.

“I collected Tech Decs when I was a kid,” he says. “But I also played a lot of video games, mostly first person shooters. When I saw the rise of Fortnite and how much money people were spending on skins for the game, that’s when the idea really took hold: what if we could bring this to life. kind of stuff? ‘ “

Of course, GoatGuns don’t fire bullets, which is what sets them apart from real ones and other miniature pistols. Although they are gun enthusiasts themselves, Lunt says that GoatGuns has no plans to create shooting versions of their replicas.

“We are criticized for it,” he said. “People messaged us saying ‘it would be cooler if they could shoot’, and we say yes the miniature car models could be cooler if you could come in and drive it – it’s just not the subject. We will never make a shotgun. That is not what our audience is looking for when they shop with us.

Lunt would know. He spent years before GoatGuns took off testing companies that couldn’t get the right attention.

“I tried 15 business ideas before this,” he says. “Every idea came and went, somehow fading into the background. But this? I couldn’t get over it. I had put the idea of ​​the miniature gun toy model aside for something else and then it would just come back to my mind on a loop. I attribute these repeated pressures to do something to God, I think it all went well.

With over 200,000 likes on Facebook and over half a million TikTok subscribers, secular standards seem to mesh. These subscribers don’t just love posts and share content, they spend money.

“Over the past three years, we have seen our turnover double at the end of each year,” he says. “At the height of the pandemic, we received more orders than ever before, and this year we are on the verge of doubling that turnover again.”

Lunt spent the first year wearing every hats imaginable in a company – “customer service to development was all about me. I was the person you called to schedule the order, the one sending the designs to the manufacturer, the person shipping it. It was exhausting, ”he says.

Now Lunt has a small team that helps him fill orders and manage exponential growth.

Part of the demand for training may be due to the fact that the idea of ​​collectible miniature pistols is new and, according to Lunt, GoatGuns is the only player in the market to launch the product.

“We needed molds to make the models, and I spent a lot of time looking for a manufacturer here or abroad,” he says. “I found a supplier in China who made molds for similar miniature products and thought about pitching my idea there. “

The Chinese manufacturer joined us, but then new competitors followed suit. It was the ability to break through the high barriers to entry that made GoatGuns successful.

“Other companies joined the crowd and started selling the same items as us for a little while,” he says. “But we were able to capture most of the market and sell the most product.”

This proven track record allowed GoatGuns to strike a deal with the manufacturer, gaining production exclusivity and ultimately helping them to fully monopolize the miniature weapon market through licensing agreements.

“Licenses are as important as a patent in the collectibles industry,” he says.

And a year and a half ago, GoatGuns signed a licensing agreement for a new mold with one of the biggest players possible: SIG MCX.

“This is the biggest gun company you can think of,” he says. “And they asked us to make them a weapon. It was truly an amazing time. We’re still a little bit impressed about it.

This collector’s item is now available, the Miniature SIG MCX Rattler. Searching on YouTube gives result after result of people enthusiastically unpacking the model and instructions for putting it together.

But even with suppliers on his side, the demand he has today took a long time to emerge – in fact, it had to be created.

“The struggle to reach our customers is one of the most difficult parts of this industry,” he says. “Digital marketing is sometimes almost impossible. “

When they started to gain traction, Lunt was pushed back by a place he never expected: Facebook and Google.

“Our products look very real,” he says. “I understand the concerns that could arise from this, but it means that our posts and accounts are often flagged. The Instagram we started on reached around 65,000 subscribers when it was permanently deactivated.

The online ads served by Lunt suffered the same fate, as did posts on other accounts that disappeared altogether.

“We recently had a TikTok that went viral, racking up over 12 million views,” he says. “It was doing wonders for our business and then the next day it was deleted. We can’t advertise on Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and obviously not Instagram or Facebook consistently.

Lunt says posting photos of their products with hands to scale has helped keep their content online, but their sales often come through word of mouth.

“Our audience is mainly made up of men aged 25 to 55,” he explains. “People are talking in the collectibles community, and we’ve caught the attention of everyone from Lego enthusiasts to military collectors.”

Based on feedback from this large segment of its buyers, Lunt plans to transform Goat Guns into a company with a slogan “Beanie Babies for guns”.

“People are always asking for more role models,” he says. “We often get requests for designs from WWI and WWII, and many other specific weapon types. In 2022, we plan to achieve this by running more limited edition bundles, where once they run out, we don’t bring them back. “

But that’s not where GoatGuns’ plans end. Lunt hopes to expand its audience beyond traditional gun owners through more licensing opportunities. Right now, he’s aiming for Halo memories.

“Traditionally, we sell to people who want fun miniature versions of the guns they own, or to people who admire a certain type of weapon but don’t have the money to buy the real one,” he says. . “Now that we’ve found our niche, we want to be able to reach people who may never own a real gun. Putting something like this out of the digital world into reality would attract people from new markets that we haven’t been able to tap into and working with Microsoft is a dream in that direction.

For now, Lunt says he’s having a blast where he is.

“I love our community,” he says. “We’re really lucky to be able to have so much fun for a career. Despite the success we have had, I still don’t think we have fully taken off yet. I can’t wait to see how far we can go.

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