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Meet Stephen L. Holley Jr. of SIXSITE in Deep Ellum

Today we’d like to introduce you to Stephen L. Holley Jr.

Stephen graduated with honors from Lake Highlands High School in 1996. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 2000.

He graduated Basic Underwater Demolition / SEAL Class 234 and served as a SEAL officer at SEAL Team FIVE and SEVEN for five years and completed four deployments to Iraq and Southeast Asia.

Following his military service, he continued to be a leader in the Dallas area by co-founding Carry the Load in 2011 with fellow Navy SEAL, Clint Bruce. Carry The Load is a non-profit organization that provides an active way to connect Americans to the sacrifices made daily by our Military, Law Enforcement, Firefighters, Rescue Personnel and their families. What started in 2011 as a mission to Restore the True Meaning of Memorial Day has grown into honoring our Nation’s Heroes 365 days a year. Carry The Load’s Mission 365 encourages the public to engage in any of its three program pillars: Awareness, Continuum of Care and Education. To date, the organization has contributed more than $17 Million in programs and direct services to first responders and their families.

In 2015, Holley started his own outdoor apparel business, called SIXSITE.

What most people don’t realize is that most guys on Navy SEAL Teams know how to sew. They adjust their training, tactics and weaponry based on the mission at hand. Their clothing and gear is no different. Alteration and customization of apparel and gear provides the advantage needed for success. Now Holley applies that thought process to hunting. Although incorporating tactical elements into a hunting jacket is how SIXSITE started, that’s not the whole story. Getting that tactical hunting gear manufactured in America, however, is.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Over 97% of apparel sold in the U.S. is made in factories overseas, where workers are frequently paid extremely low wages and often work in dangerous conditions. Quality overseas can be suspect, but there were other challenges Holley faced closer to home. Getting into a domestic factory as a startup proved challenging. Blockades from potential competitors as well as incompatible order volume made for unsuccessful partnerships with the first three factories attempted.

Over the course of four years, Holley experienced one failed manufacturing relationship after another. But as someone who refused to ring the bell in BUDs training or quit when difficult situations turned from bad to worse on foreign shores, he didn’t let those challenges alter his course. In fact, he became even more determined to fulfill his personal mission.

Holley had people tell him that he was crazy. They said it would be a lot easier if he went offshore and produced the line overseas. It would be much better from a cost standpoint as well. But from a quality perspective and, equally as important, a heritage perspective, Holley did not want to manufacture overseas. At all.

Holley says, it’s like anything in life – You must persevere when you get knocked down. You must dust yourself off and just keep going.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with SIXSITE – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
From day one, SIXSITE has been driven by three core principles – 1) produce gear designed by, and made to satisfy the demands of, a former Navy SEAL; 2) build our gear in America. Always has. Always will.; 3) offer gear that delivers a great value and experience for hunters.

Besides ensuring all of his products are Made in America, Holley is humbled through his involvement with Carry The Load. As part of Carry The Load’s mission, Holley ensures the non-profit honors and supports our nation’s heroes by raising much-needed awareness and funds to provide a continuum of care. Carry The Load selects non-profit partners annually to recognize, highlight and support with funds for their direct service programs to our sacrificial servants.

These services provide healing for the mind, body and soul of America’s warriors. To allow these partners to focus on direct service programs, Carry The Load works as a force multiplier by establishing an environment of collaboration and financial support to make a greater impact across the nation.

The organization has grown to more than 50 cities in 2017, including 2 national relays with more than 50,000 participants. Holley could never imagine the growth in seven years.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
The performance hunting market is relatively small compared to outdoor lifestyle and performance fishing. To be able to add to those categories and scale the brand is where we look forward to grow.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Carry The Load

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