Grad Feature: Kevin Cline
- Chris Ross
Love what you do and you never have to work again. This idea is the embodiment of the American Dream and a goal many thrive to reach. Thanks in part to the knowledge he gained at SDI, Kevin Cline was able to make his dream a reality.
After graduating from SDI with his Associate of Science in Firearms Technology degree, Kevin opened up his own gunsmithing shop called Blue Coat Arms Company in Central Illinois. Although his shop hasn’t been open very long, Kevin says that business is booming thanks to the Facebook and marketing webinars he participated in while attending SDI.
“I think that I have watched, or at least tried to watch, every webinar that SDI has available on Youtube,” said Kevin. “They are great because it allows students to get different perspectives on the industry. Kip’s webinars about starting a business with gunsmithing were the ones that helped me out the most once I had graduated. He breaks things down very well and a lot of the information (Federal law and FFL info) is still relatively the same. Zeke’s webinar about marketing was also very influential in how I have begun to build the brand for my business.”
Blue Coat Arms Company not only embodies Kevin’s love for firearms but for history as well.
“Part of the branding I have built for Blue Coat Arms is the fact that I am a history nerd. ‘No Matter Your Era, We Got Your Six!’ is my slogan and I have some pretty incredible stories from soldiers, veterans, and family members that bring in heirlooms,” said Kevin. “I have also dived into some projects that were mashed together but turns out that the gun itself had some interesting stories of its own upon further research. Firearms are not just weapons or technology. They are a unique American symbol of our culture and each one is unique with its own story to tell.”
While some prospective students may wonder whether an online school is right for them, SDI’s flexibility is what attracted this new business owner.
“One of the biggest reasons I chose SDI was because it was online. I needed something that was going to be flexible, and allow me to stay where I was. My wife and I didn’t have the money to move at that time. The course being online didn’t scare me, probably because I am a little younger. I have also always enjoyed learning at my own pace so that I can power through what I thought was easy and really spend time on the things that I struggled with,” said Kevin.
Kevin is clearly wise beyond his years and has his flourishing company as proof. What advice does he give to those looking to start their own gunsmithing business?
“KEEP LEARNING! SDI provides its students with a solid foundation to get your foot in the door with this industry, but that is what it is–a foundation. If you don’t continue to learn and push yourself to be better than you will not last very long. Gunsmithing is a long-term commitment to yourself and to your customers. You have to have a thirst for knowledge if you want to be good at it, and stay relevant.”
Spoken like a true master gunsmith in the making.