Greetings! Don't forget about Bluegrass Holsters
for your list.
To address some of your comments there are a few factors to consider, and I think it will be somewhat universal. To understand the situation you must remove from the holster buying population those who "want it now" as they will never be fully served in a custom market. This is where Galco, Aker, DeSantis, and other big makers come into play.
Even if there were a street corner where I could go to hire someone to help in my shop, that would not be the entire problem solver. A large part of what I do entails turning out a product that I would be happy to give to someone....this means that the edges are burnished well, all the cuts are smooth and professional, the molding appropriate, the dyes and sealants are laid down well.....and this does not come without time invested in pattern development, testing and evaluation, or the quality of the leather.
Even if I had someone in the shop to assist I would have to look over their shoulder constantly to make sure that nothing was missed....catching it too late in the game and the time spent up to that point is all wasted...and trust me, I throw away a goodly number that do not pass my standards. This can happen at any point in the process. To have another working in the shop would actually slow me down for quite some time as I would be monitoring their work and doing mine. It's one thing to have someone know how to use a tool, and another to know how to use it correctly and then have the experience to put it all into play. I have over 30 steps in the manufacturing of my holsters. Most of these are actual things that are being done to the holster during construction, and many are evaluation steps to decide if it continues or is restarted. As for simple holsters....nothing is really simple unless you are skipping some of the quality steps, short-changing the finishing process, etc.
I hate backlogs, too, however, there really is nothing that can be done to avoid it. In my case I do not charge customers to be on the waiting list. I charge only when I am starting their holster. The time on the waiting list can be utilized by the customer to assure what they are looking for, which firearm they want in their holster, change their mind about color, or change holster designs. I have had all of the above occur during a customer's time on my list and I cheerfully accept their changes. In some cases I have made changes in mid-construction as I know that the "old" order can be something used later for another customer.
Another factor to consider is that one-man shops have to try to find a balance between keeping orders rolling in, answering phones, making calls, writing and answering emails, and answering questions in forums such as this one. All of which makes for a long day....which brings up another factor to consider: prices are such that all of the above combined with the actual cost of materials and labor do not leave much room for profit. I make enough for me, but there would never be enough to share with another worker without raising prices.
Here are a few pics of holsters that represent Bluegrass Holster products:
First, the Mason-Dixon EC (extra cant) which is a convertible OWB to IWB holster. This one in cowhide....
This is the original prototype of the Horsehide Ghost Tuckable IWB:
We will be taking orders for Horsehide products shortly. I will offer the horsehide with the same quality and degree of molding available in my standard holsters.
Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this forum. I will be happy to answer any questions.