Infantryman hits his mark with e-commerce outfit
A Canadian Armed
A Canadian Armed Forces Reservist has transformed his military experience and knowledge of outdoor and tactical equipment into a thriving online business. When MCpl Samuel Lockhart, an infantryman with the Canadian Scottish Regiment in Victoria, started Lockhart Tactical in 2012 he never thought it would turn into a full-time paying job. What started out as a part-time hobby, with a few sales every few months during his first year of operation, grew to over $500,000 in sales last year. “My main focus is to ensure all of our clients have a super easy and happy experience, and that all the information on our website is as up-to-date with what our manufactur- ers can provide. Customer service is everything to us,” says MCpl Lockhart. “I need to make certain I have a strong and appealing online presence.”
The Lockhart Tactical website features over 332 brands and 17,000 products, offering everything from military and tactical equipment, such as rifles, smoke grenades and protective body armour, to hunting, camping and outdoor survival gear. He cautions his road to success wasn’t an easy path. “I built most of my first website myself, taught myself some coding, and got technical assistance for anything I couldn’t do. The learning process never ends,” he says. He adds if you can cope with being tied to a phone for most of the day or being pulled away from com- mitments with family and friends, it’s this type of devotion that will help a person be successful. “When most people think of work they think of something negative, but I love what I do and don’t consider it work,” he adds.
He immigrated to Canada with his family from Switzerland when he was two years old. His interest in operating a small business was nurtured by watching his father operate his own metal fabrication business. He joined the 744 Cowichan Air Cadets Squadron at age12 and participated in the program until joining the Reserves. From a young age he was ready to try his hand at entrepreneurship, selling paintball equipment to his friends in the Air Cadets, school, and online. Through this experience he realized the power of e-commerce. He learned that putting up some money and buying bulk shipments of popular and highly sought after paintball equipment could not only allow him to reduce the per-unit cost, but also get him many of the items he wanted for a greatly reduced cost.
When MCpl Lockhart arrived at the Bay Street Armoury in 2009 as a Reservist, he noticed there was a great demand for mili- tary equipment that went beyond standard issued items. “The Canadian Armed Forces does the best it can to provide equipment for its members, while being restricted by budget cuts,” he says. They provide the basics required, but many soldiers choose to purchase enhanced equipment to lighten their load and save valuable space in their ruck- sacks, such as lightweight half shelters, better sleeping mats, and compact sleeping bags. He took what he learned from selling at a young age and began purchasing items for reservists and other outdoor enthusiasts. What began as a trickle of business - a measly few sales in 2012 - quickly grew the next year, and continued to grow to what it is now.
Despite the rosy financial report, he is also keeping a soldier’s level head about his recent success. “I’m proud of everything I have, but I still realize I’m not one of the major players in the industry yet; there is tons of competition. My goal is to continue releasing innovative products to the market. We really have something for everyone.”
Anyone interested in his wares should visit www.LockhartTactical.com