Small Business Saturday - Long X Trading Company
Next up for our Small Business Saturday is Long X Trading Company. Stephanie Rae and Justin Alps started their custom leather business in 2015. They have been very successful in the three years they have been open. They both have a background in the western world with Stephanie being raised on a cattle ranch and Justin growing up in the rodeo circuits as a roper.
“It was a very cold day in November when Justin made the decision to resign from his position as an executive with a transportation company in the oil fields of North Dakota, and go back to building leather things,” Stephanie Alps said. “After many years of struggling to pay the entry fees as a leather man, regardless of the incredible opportunities, Justin always found himself back in a semi-truck. After many years of having trucks in my life, I was going to make sure we did anything but start a trucking company. I knew I just had to find a way to sell what I knew he was capable of building. Our official birthdate of Bodee the Buffalo (our mascot) is December 1st, 2015.”
The Alps love the flexibility of owning their own business. They each play their own key role in the success of Long X Trading Company.
“The best and most favorite part of this crazy Long X life is our ability to set our own schedules,” Alps said. “One of us is always going to be a soldier and the other a sheriff, so not having a strict schedule and flexibility is awesome for the next chapter of life.”
Starting a company from scratch is hard work. There are financial, time management and other struggles in the beginning. There are also so many custom businesses in the western world today that competition can be a challenge.
“Everything has been a challenge,” Alps said. “It wasn’t even the big, in your face things that we look back at an see as a challenge. Things like money are always going to be a challenge as long as you are worrying about it. For us our biggest investors were each other and the faith that we had in each other and God Almighty.”
These two have learned so much during the past three years. They know they could have done things different, but they acknowledge they learned from each mistake. Overcoming your mistakes and growing from them is crucial.
“If there was a list of things that we would do different there would have to be a comment right behind it that says, but we learned,” Alps said. “Even the 10 months that we spent living in the barn made us truly appreciate things like having a kitchen table and a living room couch. Mark & Linda (Grunewald) gave us a roof over our head and never ever will we be able to express our gratitude or re-pay them for what they have provided for us to get started.”
The Alps have also learned to be careful about who they trust. They enjoy meeting new people, but are cautious at the same time.
“Simple things like meeting and making new friends became scary,” Alps said, “If you have never met us, it’s super easy, just come say hi. In a world that is so morally driven by a thumbs up and a like, it’s no wonder that not everyone who came to us had good intentions. If there is one big thing we can agree on, it’s trust each other and ourselves more and other people less.”
Stephanie and Justin both love wearing their Kimes Ranch gear everywhere they go. They aspire to grow and succeed like KRJ in the future.
“There is just something about the way it makes you feel from the inside out,” Alps said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a shirt or a hat. At least 1/4 of my closet space is dedicated to Kimes and the Kimes brand. I look at how they are growing and pray for their success like I pray for our own. It’s so cool that they are over their crushing their goals and it gives people like us hope that all of these late nights are going to without a doubt be worth it in the end.”
Be on the lookout for Long X Trading Company at the NFR this year, along with all the other events they will be attending in the near future. Their website is full of great information on custom projects and their current for sale inventory. There is also a video by McFarland Productions describing their journey. Check them out at the links below!
Video - https://longxtradingco.com/pages/about-us
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/longXtradingco/
Instagram – @longxtradingco
Photos courtesy of Stephanie and Justin Alps, video courtesy of McFarland Productions
~ Courtney Hall