Interviewing Entrepreneurs: Bryan Horn of Over Under

 

Bryan Horn, founder of Over Under, grew up in the outdoors. Horn is a native of Sandy Springs, Georgia and studied marketing at UGA. 

Horn's Story

Right out of college, Horn worked a day job at George Gibsons, a men’s haberdashery in Athens, Georgia. At night, he was bartending at a new southern-style bar in Athens. Ian and Shep, founders of Vineyard Vines, came by the bar with their ties in 2004. Horn witnessed firsthand the birth of a new generation of lifestyle brands.
Horn ended up getting a “big boy” job in Savannah to be closer to his girlfriend where he sold yearbook technology software before moving to Jacksonville.  In Jacksonville, Horn was working for a general contractor, with the goal of becoming a custom home builder. Upon moving, the 2009 recession hit and at 27 years old, Horn had just purchased a house. “It just wasn’t fun, it was just doom and gloom everyday. I was working for somebody else and I wasn’t really making any money,” conveyed Horn. 
Horn had just gotten engaged and purchased Lottie Grace, a chocolate lab puppy, for his wife’s birthday. Horn was building the Youth Crisis Center as a non-profit project during the recession, and took Lottie Grace to work most days. “I’ll never forget this, I look down from the roof and Lottie Grace is standing in my truck exactly as the logo looks now. Her tail is kind of cocked up, her barrel chest is sticking out, and her big ol’ block head is looking out. It was like a lightbulb went off, I got it.” With that, Horn returned to the construction trailer, and proceeded to sketch the Over Under logo. 

Horn attributes his success to his wife, “I had great ideas, but without her- she worked very hard and saved almost every penny she made.” When Horn got laid off in the building industry, he dedicated all of his time to Over Under. Thanks to Horn’s wife, she allowed him to use all of their savings within the first year of business. “Not only did my wife understand my passion, but she believed in me,” says Horn.

Horn wanted to curate a lifestyle brand strictly made in the United States, but didn’t know where to begin. Thinking of a name was difficult becuase so many brands already had “Southern” in their names. Horn used the labrador retriever as a logo becuase they are his passion and the most popular dog breed in the world for the past 20 years.

The Name: Over Under

The name “Over Under” is two-fold. Over Under shotguns were made for gentlemen, using better metals, fine wood, walnut stocks, and consumers often requested the gun to be engraved by hand. Horn had the vision to create functional goods with a purpose that could double as works of art, just like the Over Under shotgun. Labrador retrievers were initially used in the Northeast to retrieve codfish, utilizing their webbed feet in the water. Over represents labs being used on land and Under represents labs being used in water.

“The biggest thing for me in all of this is to be an authentic brand. Anyone can make up a name and have a logo" shared Horn. All of Over Under’s employees are sportsmen whom hunt and fish, have an eye for detail, and appreciate high quality products. 

American Made

Since all Over Under products are American made, they provide Americans with jobs the right way. Originally, Horn couldn’t find a polo manufacturer becuase no one could sew a polo on a collar since all of their machinery had been sold overseas years ago. Horn was working in the Carolinas where the textile industry was strong and he was told, “Save yourself the headache and the hassle, you need to go to China. You can’t create American made products and make a living.” 

Horn went to visit some of their manufacturers in South Carolina and met two women who were directly hired becuase of how many wallets Over Under was producing. The ladies crafting Over Under wallets attribute their jobs to Over Under deciding not to outsource their manufacturing overseas. “We were making America great again before it was a slogan,” laughed Horn. “It is really tough for me to see shirts with American flags selling left and right, when the cotton is from a foreign country. When we put an American flag on our products, it actually means something,” exclaimed Horn.

Giving Back 

Over Under does a ton of giving back with dog rescue organizations, different Christian ministries, and tons of non-profits. Recently, Horn and his team sponsored tickets for 200 veterans to attend the Daytona 500 this July. 

Passion & Authenticity 

“It’s easy for me to be passionate about Over Under becuase I am. If I had all the money in the world, I would probably still do this becuase I love it so much. My wife is invested in it. My blood, sweat, tears, and life savings are invested into this company. At the end of the day, we are a sporting lifestyle brand, but it’s really a sporting experience. Our goal is to get this story out there. It’s encouraging to hear people be affected by our story becuase that’s positive.”

What is the greatest aspect of being the founder of Over Under?

“I think one of the neatest things for me is being able to see how we’ve grown this brand and how it affects other industries and lives. We’ve helped dogs get adopted, spread the gospel, and provided Americans with jobs. Getting to have guys who care about Over Under collectively is a real blessing.”

Real Experience Affecting Customers’ Lives

“Last Friday, I got a phone call from my mom who heard from her neighbors in Jacksonville. A soaking, wet chocolate lab, wearing an Over Under collar, had walked up to their neighbor's house, and started scratching at their door. The collar had a customized name plate, but it had worn off. I picked up the dog and made it my mission to get him back to his owners. I took a photo of the lab and posted it all over our social media accounts. Within an hour of me waking up the next morning, I got a text from a guy who claimed his dog, Maverick, and thanked me. I made him a brand new collar on the house, making sure the engraving was done real well. The guy said it was no big deal because the collar was 5 years old.”

How do you discover individuals to bring into your company that possess passion towards Over Under the way you do?

“When I started, out I was volunteering with a ministry called K-life. I met some homeschool kids with some free time who came over and helped me pack up orders. An individual named Tanner Watson came on board, who was 16 or 17 at the time and helped us move into our first warehouse space. Tanner also grew up hunting and fishing, so he wanted to be a part of Over Under from the get-go. Over the years, Tanner has become my right hand man. I am big on relationships and quality individuals. I’m not going to bring somebody on board who is not up to par with our company.”

Mentoring Gentlemen

“At the end of the day, if Over Under was put here for me to be a leader and facilitate other young men, that’s great. Your worth has to be found in Christ. That’s easy to say, but it’s harder to live it out.” 

What is your biggest fear and how do you manage fear?

“I wish I could tell you that fear doesn’t creep in at the back of your mind, but it does. I want to live in promise and not in fear. My biggest fear with Over Under is wether or not I can keep doing this and if I will make it, “Will I succeed?” I don’t think about what Over Under can’t do, but I set my mind on what I know it can do.”

Some folks believe in the myth of overnight success. About how many hours do you work per day/week?

“I got let go from work on October 30, 2010, and didn’t pay myself a dime until almost two years after the business had sales because we were growing at a rate that required so much operating capital to be put back in the business. The worst year of our marriage was when Over Under started becuase I would work 80-90 hours per week.”

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs? 

“Have a refuse to fail attitude, great product, and offer excellent customer service. If you’re not passionate about it, then you can’t get behind the subsurface of the product that you’re showing. Stay authentic to your brand or service, and the bottom line will take care of itself.”

Thanks for reading CCP friends,

Daria, CCP Intern

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