#128 – Building a Better Belt: Blake & Katie from Dominion Strength
Blake and Katie Roache, founders of Dominion Strength Training, dropped by the Barbell Logic studio to chat with Matt and Scott about their journey from discovering strength training to founding a company that builds one of the best belts on the market. Blake and Katie personify many of the values of Barbell Logic: taking initiative to take advantage of opportunity, a thirst for continuous improvement, and the integrity to step up and address business problems even when they are not at fault.
Blake recognized an opportunity when he needed a belt as he progressed in his novice linear progression, and realized that, while there were several quality belts available in the market, they all had long lead times. As a “repeat offender” side-hustler (to use his own term), Blake figured he could make his own belts and deliver on a more reasonable timeline. Blake is an engineer by training, but had no manufacturing experience, so he contracted production out of Pakistan, a global hub for leather goods. Initially quality was acceptable, but as the belt gained popularity and volumes grew, he ran into quality control problems. With a large chunk of cash invested in stock for the Christmas season, the shipment arrived with virtually all of the belt buckles rusted. Unable to sell the belts in this condition, Blake and Katie (now working for Dominion) used their remaining cash to buy new buckles and reassembled several hundred belts by hand, just in time to sell for Christmas.
With this experience now, well, under their belts, they decided to move production in-house, where they could make their belts to a higher standard and control quality. The Dominion Strength Training we know now was born. Dominion Belts fit well with the Starting Strength aesthetic: effective, no-nonsense, and made to the highest quality. Like the Ford Model T, you can have any color belt you like… as long as it’s grey (or raw leather). By keeping their product line minimal, they can focus on what matters: delivering on time.