Urban EDC Spotlight is an original, exclusive content series highlighting those who are making an impact through notable creative work in their field.
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This conversation is between Yong-Soo Chung (YC), the Founder of Urban EDC Supply, and Sulman Rezza (SR).
YC: Thanks for taking the time to sit down and chat with us, Sulman. Before we get into your background, what do you carry as part of your EDC?
SR: I tend to lose things so I carry only absolute essentials, i.e: a phone, a Nitecore keychain flashlight along with car keys, a fitness tracking device to measure daily runs, a memo pad and a pen. I'm old fashioned and hate to baby my stuff. I do enjoy a nice watch and sunglasses when I'm out and about but that's the extent of it.
YC: Okay now tell us a bit about your background. How did you get into flashlights in the first place?
SR: I used to fix or break my toys as a kid... mostly break and try to put them back and fail miserably. One of my favorite toys was an orange 6c flashlight that my dad would keep around the house. They had these incandescent bulbs that would often go bad. So he brought parts and soldering supplies from his work one day and taught my brother and I how to fix it. I wouldn't say it was how I started but that sparked my initial interest. Many years later, I made a housing for a laser project and got interested in machining so I started Sinner Customs because it sounded cool. What really got me back to flashlights was the technology. I was working with copper by that time and had to give it a shot. Furthermore, I probably would have never known if it wasn't for the amazing flashlight community. It has only been 3 years since I started making flashlights but I feel at home. I'm still curious and often break things, but this has been one of the greatest journeys. I would never have it any other way!
YC: Thanks for that elaborate answer, Sulman. It sounds like quite the journey! So you've grown quite the following in recently years but I'm sure you've run into some challenges as well. What kinds of challenges have you faced so far growing the Sinner Customs brand?
SR: Initially I faced many logistical issues, such as customs and sourcing parts, which can take several weeks being in the emirates. But I've gotten around them. Having partnered with Urban EDC Supply definitely took care of some of those issues and helped me concentrate more on making new lights. The most challenging part would be the business side of it. I'm good with electronics and metal work but not with math. There is a learning curve and that's what keeps it interesting and exciting for me.
YC: Thanks for the plug-in there, Sulman. We love partnering up with you in our shop as well. Speaking of sourcing materials, which metals do you enjoy working with the most?
SR: I have enjoyed working with Titanium alloys. They're unlike any other material, very strong yet light weight but its harder to machine but I definitely love the challenge of it. The easiest one would be Brass. It is also the most forgiving and I love working on it as well from time to time.
YC: We're also big fan of Brass and Titanium - can't go wrong with those options! You mentioned the flashlight community earlier - let's talk about that community. From the time you started Sinner Customs, how has the community evolved over time? Has it grown since?
SR: In my experience, our flashlight community is extremely knowledgeable and constantly evolving, thanks to a number of amazing custom makers, programmers, tinkerers and modders from all sorts of backgrounds pushing the envelope to achieve quality and performance that one cannot experience otherwise. As a result, I'm able to tweak my product that simply exceeds or even extend the limits of what is possible. In recent years, the trend has already extended into mainstream EDC... that having a high quality flashlight has become a necessity for a lot of enthusiasts. Custom knives still enjoy the spotlight but I'm here to change that simply because it's such a useful illumination tool to keep around. It's only a matter of time before it starts to catch on. I've received amazing support and appreciation for my work through this amazing community and I love being a part of it.
YC: It sure seems like the flashlight community and EDC community in general has exploded in the past couple years. As the community grows, the appreciation for custom flashlights definitely increases as well. I'm curious, could you give us a glimpse into your design thinking? Where do you find new inspiration? How does a new design go from idea to actual physical product?
SR: My creative process includes lots of sketching on a drafting pad, some freehand drawing, and incorporating new shapes. More often than not, it becomes more complicated and beyond my abilities so I have to keep into account what is realistically possible. I also listen to collective feedback from the customers, learning by doing and remapping in pursuit of perfection. It doesn't necessarily have to be best looking light, but should be unique in its own way.
YC: What was the craziest custom build for one of your flashlights? What kind of specs did it have? And how much did it sell for?
SR: I made a tri-color mokume gane light once. It was quite challenging and any mistake would have been extremely expensive as I only had materials for one flashlight. I milled 14-slots for tritium vials, installed a 219c light engine that puts out over 1450 lumens on turbo, had a sapphire lens in front of the optics, and engraved brass retainer at the tail-cap. It just took a lot of work to finish it perfectly. Then, it fell from my hand, hit my feet, and fell to the ground. The tail-end was damaged but none of the tritium broke. Thankfully, the dent wasn't that bad and could be removed by refinishing the surface. It ended up selling for close to $2k. Hope you don't mind a little back-story.
YC: I can't believe it fell on the ground! That's incredible that it wasn't too damaged - that could have been a disaster! Okay, I gotta ask... anything new and exciting in the works? New designs, new models, etc.
SR: I'm always experimenting with new materials, designs, and components so there isn't a definitive answer to that. But most of my work does come to fruition and now that I've honed my skills enough, I feel confident to move to more difficult materials such as damascus and zirconium. I do plan on releasing a batch of titanium ready-made lights but there are always setbacks, personal or otherwise.
YC: Damascus and zirconium models would be pretty amazing! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us Sulman. Can't wait to see what's next - keep up the great work!
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