Are there too many Veteran owned businesses in the UK?

A veteran is (according to the Oxford Dictionary) someone who has a lot of experience in a particular area or activity. For many, and for the purpose of this article, it means someone who has served within the armed forces of their nation. Here, we will also include emergency services in that pool. So, are there too many UK veteran-owned businesses?

Short answer? Yes… and no, definitely not. We want to be specific here; we aim this article at the vet-owned businesses that are catering to the veteran market. Specifically, the coffee, fitness, and merchandise type brands. We are not really looking at the lads & lasses that leave and set up a trade or open a security firm, for example. This is more aimed at the general thought process shared by some from the community; that the market is saturated and that there are loads of companies selling T-shirts, coffee, or caps… us included.

The concept of a veteran-owned brand didn’t really hit the UK until around 2015/2016. Not really on a large scale, anyway. However, the US is no doubt the powerhouse in this field, and we wouldn’t be accurate if we didn’t at least mention the influence that our big cousin has made on the UK market. The most obvious example was started in 2014 by former Green Beret Evan Haffer, later joined by Matt best and Jared JT Taylor. Black Rifle Coffee Company is probably the best example to draw a comparison from for the simple fact that they are probably the biggest of this type of brand in the world. They even listed on the New York Stock Exchange in early 2022. It’s also valued at approximately 1.8 million USD. Now, I’m not an expert on their structure or history and this isn’t about the United States of Freedom, but their success is probably the pinnacle of veteran-owned brands, so it’s good to draw comparisons to give our answer to this question some perspective. Here in the UK, we don’t really have a business on BRCC’s level. We do have some OG’s though.

2016 was the year of birth for the UK veteran-owned market. That year saw Contact Coffee, HR4k, and Sin Eaters Guild all start. From their success, arguably, the floodgates opened. Now, from personal experience starting in 2020, it has by no means been easy to get to this point. It’s been an uphill battle to get what we have and to get to the position where I’m actually writing this crap for someone in the community like you to read. So, to say the floodgates opened is probably not true in terms of success. It is definitely true in the number of companies that have started up in the wake of the hard work and success of those UK-based firms that went first and almost built a blueprint. Or at least they showed it was possible over here. Depending on whom you talk to, their influence was great or small. They had a definite impact though, and we at Gibraltar Trading Company will always acknowledge and respect what the forerunners did and continue to do.

Contact Coffee Landrover Set up. The UK’s Biggest Vet-Owned Coffee Company. PHOT: Contact Coffee Co.

The question remains, though; now, at the time of writing on the cusp of 2023, are there too many UK veteran-owned companies? There’s no doubt more than before 2015, yet still less than in the US. We are much smaller, but try this, take a moment and list in your head all the companies that fall into this bracket. We are in that world, so it might come to us a bit quicker, but we can think of over 15 off the top of our heads. In 2021, there were 14,160 people who left the UK armed forces. That’s over 14k more veterans to hit civvy street. This was a slight increase from the year before (11.5% more) but that’s a lot of people. Our point is if we can only name 15 brands out of almost 8 years of trading from 2015 to 2023, but 14k more veterans were created in one year alone, are there really too many brands out there?

Now, this isn’t us trying to tell you what you should or shouldn’t think, you can take from this article whatever you want. Our opinion is ‘no’. There aren’t too many UK-owned veteran/service brands out there. There is plenty of space for us all! There are over 68 million people in the UK. Don’t get us wrong, you need to bring something different or unique to the table. You can’t just copy Contact Coffee, Fight or Perish or even us, but if you have an idea and spot a gap in the market, then go for it. Shoot your shot. Who knows, could be that little brand with 1k Instagram followers that’s the next veteran-owned brand listed on a stock exchange.

Stay Wavy

4 thoughts on “Are there too many Veteran owned businesses in the UK?”

  1. I think, as long as we the customer, have choice, then it’s a good thing.
    Depending on our individual budget, we can shop with who we want and when we want.
    I support as many veteran companies as I can, I just wish I could afford to do more.
    From a company point of view, as long as you keep the ideas coming, keep quality and customer support as a priority then you can stand up to healthy competition.

    So no, I don’t think there’s too many.

    Look forward to getting my first order delivered in the next few days.

    1. Amazing cheers Gav, exactly the same mind set as us then pal. More choice for customers the better and as a business we need to keep innovating and improving to stay ahead.

  2. The market is not flooded, but the veteran owned brands need to think through what they are offering, who to and how? Likewise they need to ensure their products are not just defined by being veteran owned/run, in short they need to promote a great product and then the cherry on the cake is veteran owned. Over 10yrs since UK pulled out of Afghan and hence the I fought the war side of business is not going to sell well to those that have never seen it or been there, so while there’s respect and understanding to veterans from the majority there’s not that usp for business and sales in the UK compared to the USA that has a little more spirit in that sector. We are very supportive of our veterans and wish to see them thrive in business, go take that market with excellence and pride!

Comments are closed.

Shopping Cart