Since 2020 effectively kicked off the Age of COVID, every single business, large or small, has been affected by the worldwide pandemic in one way or another. Some companies were forced to slow production down. Others halted production altogether. But for Hero’s Pride’s production had no choice, but to continue onward.
Back in March of 2020, most heads of state implemented quarantine-style procedures to reduce the exposure of COVID. This meant people had to stay home and businesses had to close if your industry was deemed nonessential. However, for public safety workers such as police officers, that wasn’t the case.
Such essential services needed to remain on the job to ensure the safety of the public. This meant they would continue to require uniforms for daily assignments. It also meant that uniform providers, suppliers, manufacturers, and the like were essential, as well. As a public safety uniform manufacturer, Hero’s Pride saw no choice but to continue production.
I, recently, sat down with Oz Barhama, the Chief Strategy Officer of Hero’s Pride to discuss the company’s past, present, and future, how they mitigated the dire effects of COVID, and what readers out there can expect from them next in this edition of Manufacturer Spotlight.
KENNETH: First of all, walk me through Hero’s Pride? Give readers a high-level overview of the company.
OZ: Well, for starters, this year marks our 40th anniversary. We are really focused on Law Enforcement and we provide police products and accessories like patches, badges, gear, and metal insignia. In fact, many police officers wear our badges and patches today and they may not even know it! But, I can safely assert that the majority of US officers wear Hero’s Pride products.
About 10 years ago, we launched a revolutionary Duty Gear line. This was something we were frequently asked about by our customers. So, we listened to them and created a series of belts, handcuff cases, light holders, and so much more. Each piece of duty gear is comfortable and lightweight and will stay securely in place.
If you look at the research, about 60% of police officers have significant back pain because they carry their duty belts all day and it’s heavy and those who don’t have significant pain, have at least some pain. We wanted to help with that.
So, our Duty Gear line is about 30% lighter than other competing duty gear out there. It has a strong foundation while also offering a very lightweight design. We also make accessing Scan This CodeMade To Measure Magazine | 13 an officer’s radio, magazines, and other tools easier for them and more comfortable to wear, too. We love what we do.
KENNETH: What values does Hero’s Pride pride itself on?
OZ: We care about our customers as much we care about our own employees. It’s a small business and we operate more like a family. Many employees have been with us for many years. Decades, even. We extend our care to employees beyond the walls of our business and to our dealers and end-users of our products. We work very closely with our dealers, in fact we feel like we are way closer to our dealers than our competition.
We strive to make their lives easier. That’s why we always offer excellent customer service with a dedicated rep who develops the relationship with them to really understand and anticipate their needs. When we do surveys, we consistently see very high scores, possibly the highest in the industry.
So, we pride ourselves on maintaining exceptional customer service and understanding the daily struggles of our policemen and policewomen that we serve.
KENNETH: Walk me through a bit of the history of Hero’s Pride.
OZ: For over 40 years, we’ve served our customers with a dedication to deliver excellence in the products we make and in the superior service we provide. We were founded in 1981 by Hank Steinman, who actually began operations in his garage. He was just one person at the time.
In 1998, his son Dave Steinman (Hero’s Pride CEO) together with Mike Marmor (Hero’s Pride President) started to focus on police products, which have grown to become the focus of our business today. We are based in the Los Angeles area but have relationships with dealers all across the country.
KENNETH: How have you overcome the challenges presented to us by COVID?
OZ: We can’t deny that we had an impact. At the end of the 2020 year, we still felt some of the effects of the pandemic, but lately, in the last few months, we’ve seen a bit of bounce back. I think a lot of the issues we experienced came from the supply chain end of things. There were a lot of disruptions, including a significant increase in the shipping costs.
So, we put a lot of investment and effort into making sure that we had the manufacturing and fulfilling still being done properly. We had to uphold our promise, after all. We stocked more products so we could deliver the products directly from our warehouse rather than relying too heavily on just-in-time manufacturing.
We took COVID very seriously and we used the time available to us effectively to improve our operation. We made the best of it. I’m sure that other industries were hit much harder than us. Our industry is relatively stable and still in demand as you can expect from police officers who are essential public safety services.
Society is always going to need police officers to create a safe and protective environment. And so police officers are going to need safety belts, light holders, and other tools readily and at their disposal, so they can conduct their work effectively and securely.
KENNETH: What sets you apart from others in your field?
OZ: We are focused on providing products for police officers, and especially highly comfortable duty gear and high-quality emblems. We feel here at Hero’s Pride that our competition is developing features are around the tactical aspect of duty gear, which is table-stakes.
We take our products to the next level and invest in the comfortability factor. That’s why our Hero’s Pride duty gear line is comprised of products that are lightweight, adjustable, mold to the body, and overall leading in comfort. We don’t compromise on durability, for example, we use a multilayer concentration process to deliver long-lasting durability, we use 1680 denier nylon and military-grade snaps, so these products are really the market leaders when it comes to reliability and performance.
We have been investing heavily and our team has been working hard to make a difference in the law enforcement industry to improve the day-to-day work of law enforcement officers. Over time you should expect to see us more innovative and market-leading products.