Those that follow the Forged From Freedom Instagram and Facebook pages may have noticed that in recent weeks there has been more talk about our former partnership with IV8888. As you might guess there have been many questions, so we felt it was best to give you our side of the story and let you draw your own conclusions based on the evidence below.
We are truly disheartened that our relationship with Eric and the rest of the IV8888 crew has degraded to this point and wish they had chosen another course of action, but our moral compass and their actions drove us to the decision to make the nature of our dissolved partnership public.
In December of 2017, we were approached by Iraqveteran8888 to produce some t-shirts to be included in the IV8888 Man Cans. We felt this was a sound business decision and moved forward with the budding partnership.
As the business partnership grew, a friendship between Eric, Brandy, and the rest of the IV8888 crew begin to form. Eric revealed several times that their business was not generating the profit they were accustomed to and they desperately needed help to breathe life into it.
Since our business relationship was now built on a friendship, Forged From Freedom suggested to Eric while he was visiting our headquarters in Dallas, TX that it may be mutually beneficial to expand our partnership. Eric accepted our proposition and the details were finalized during his Dallas visit where Forged From Freedom agreed to provide a solution to reverse the downward trend that Eric felt was affecting the IV8888 Man Can business.
Forged From Freedom would provide IV8888 Industries with a web store hosted on the Forged From Freedom website with exclusive IV8888 branded merchandise. In return, Forged From Freedom would assist Eric in returning the business to the former level of profitability. This would be achieved by launching a new IraqVeteran8888.com website, finding all new suppliers for Man Can items, fresh marketing materials, offering our services with business negotiations with suppliers in an effort to cut costs.
The deal was closed with only a verbal contract and a ‘handshake’ to hold both parties to their obligations. We personally believed Eric to be a man of his word at the time and that he would honor his half of the deal as it was agreed upon.
The Short-Lived Partnership
After we stepped into the role of ‘Business and Purchase Manager,’ we were asked to help negotiate a deal with Olight for a video review of the PL-Mini. After a released video in 2017 Eric stated repeatedly that IraqVeteran8888 did not take payment for reviews. While in Atlanta with Eric and Brandy, I was informed that they did indeed charge $4000 per video review even though they publicly denied that fact.
Olight had been trying to reach a deal with IV8888 to provide video coverage for some time. Eric stated that he had been avoiding Olight even though Brandy, his business partner was eager to work with them. Eric said the reason was that he did not believe in the product and in his own words disliked dealing with suppliers from China. Brandy recognized that we were experienced negotiators and asked me to attend a meeting at the Olight offices. We went into the meeting with them as a representative of IV8888 and negotiated on their behalf. Olight agreed to pay IV8888 $6000 per video with a minimum of 4 videos for a total of at least $24,000.
We Held Up Our End Of The Deal
Starting from the date that we entered into the business arrangement, we spent in excess of five months working to build the new iraqveteran8888.com website, negotiate with suppliers, and get new products from overseas for a fraction of the cost they previously paid.
The end result of our efforts was a brand new functional eCommerce website, a massive reduction in overhead, and countless fresh new IV8888 branded items on the Forged From Freedom site. Using financial estimates provided to us by Brandy verbally, the business went from turning over as little as $25K a month to turning over $84K a month with a 64% profit margin up from a 40% profit margin.
While Forged From Freedom upheld our end of the deal and helped resurrect what appeared to be a cash strapped business, Eric didn’t reciprocate as previously agreed even after many calls, emails, and texts asking him to keep his end of the deal. We resorted to asking instead to be reimbursed for a fraction of our time that we dedicated to his business. We requested a meeting to discuss our invoice and the possibility of getting paid in the form of marketing, as was agreed from the start.
Unfortunately, Instead of sitting down and discussing like we agreed, we were shocked to get a call from his lawyers asking my wife, my staff, and myself to sign an NDA before any further talks would take place. We discovered that without warning, they locked us out of the website we built for them, emails, and all materials relating to their business. There was no previous discussion on an NDA, and this new demand surfaced only after we provided our original invoice for payment.
We declined to further entertain this and demanded our payment. Our estimated time was for $73,374.99 over 5+ months of work. In the end after much argument, we settled for $12,280, a fraction of our costs. I made the decision to accept this settlement as I wanted us to end the dragged-out dispute, and part ways.
So why did we come forward now? Even though we were under the impression that this is the way business is done in the gun media world, we quickly learned that this was not the case when speaking with other firearm media professionals.
Initially we intended to keep much, if not all of this information confidential even though an NDA was not signed at any point but after repeated attacks on our character we informed Eric that we could not stay silent any longer. His response was a legal threat, in an attempt to silence us from coming forwards with the truth.
While we respect some channels that are open about sponsored content and follow FCC rules by disclosing their paid reviews, we felt there is no place for content creators that sell their opinion. Not only are they acting in an unlawful manner by sharing I.P., Iraqveteran8888 are also not true to the values that they have publicly stated they follow and those that rely on the information they provide for purchasing decisions are being done a disservice.
It was agreed with Eric that he and his business partner would part ways with us silently and without fanfare. However, a short time after we separated, his business partner and wife sought to damage our business by defaming us to other social media ‘influencers’, who wish to remain anonymous.
Forged From Freedom will never stand for malicious and damaging actions against our business or our character.
We are a company with principles that is passionate about the 2nd Amendment. We hire veterans and support multiple 2A causes, both financially and otherwise. Our mission is to spread the message of Liberty while remaining true to our core values.
P.S. – I am happy to take any questions from anyone during our upcoming Live chats or in the messages section
Email from Olight confirming payment to 88 Industries LLC for a favorable video review. May 21st, 2018.
Olight video on the Iraqveteran8888 Youtube channel, published July 26th, 2018.
Text Message from us showing grievance for the surprise lawyer call we received.
Screenshot from shared online sheet created by Brandy, his business partner. July 20th, 2018.