Many law enforcement officers don’t wear their protective vests because they are hot, uncomfortable, and even painful. When Sara Hall noticed this as a former Highway Patrol Telecommunicator in North Carolina, she founded Raleigh-based Thin Gold Line in 2019, which makes comfortable undershirts for law enforcement officers to wear under their vests.
Simply put, Hall was motivated by a concern to ensure every officer on the other end of her radio got home safely, after every shift.
“If I can convince one officer to wear a vest that normally would not, I’ve been successful because I have lessened the risk that they would be killed in the line of duty,” Hall said. “So by having this valuable product on the market, my mission is to convince officers that they can be more comfortable in the gear that they need to wear every day.”
The company has already raised $530,000 and is open to raising another $1,470,000 with a minimum investment of $25,000. The investment is structured as debt, not equity, designed to offer a strong and quick return.
As to the origin of the Thin Gold Line name: while police and firefighters are called the “blue line” or “red line,” respectively, the name “gold line” refers to first responders and dispatchers, like Hall was.
Thin Gold Line’s flagship product, a patent-pending shirt called 1041.Life, keeps officers cool in their gear through sweat-wicking fabric and increased air moving through padded spacers. The snug-fitting shirt also lifts the vest off the body, thereby reducing rubbing irritation that can cause sores, and reduces odor because the vest is less likely to get drenched in sweat.
Individual officers can pre-order a vest online now. The official product launch is expected to be July 7, Hall said. Government agencies can pre-order vests for their entire department at a discounted wholesale rate, which a few local agencies and one in California have done already, Hall said.
Following the initial launch, Hall said they will officially rebrand themselves as Talus Ridge, an umbrella brand that will sell the 1041.Life shirt as well as a line of other custom-tailored compression shirts for athletes, soldiers, outdoor enthusiasts, runners and anyone who wants to wick sweat away from their body. Besides slight product tweaking—like adjusting the velcro of the padded spacers—the format of the shirt is pretty standard and easily replicated to accommodate different uses.
“From umpires to rugby players, their gear wears the same way on their body that the tactical vest lays on a law enforcement or military member,” Hall said. “So it’s a really thorough application all the way around.”
After that, Hall said she wants to start a foundation for law enforcement officers to receive support coaching. She also wants to use the lessons she’s learned as a female founder to coach other entrepreneurs, mainly women, through a program called Talus Ridge Academy. In particular, Hall said she wants to guide women who are raising funding and considering venture capital.
Hall’s passion for entrepreneurship and helping others has already attracted some key employees to the Talus Ridge team. That includes Sue Kemple, the startup’s Chief Visionary Officer, who met Hall through an incubator.
“Sara very clearly articulated a problem and a brilliant way to solve it, and so many entrepreneurs I’ve met before don’t have such clarity,” Kemple said. “So I wasn’t drawn to Sarah from a law enforcement angle per se, but from an entrepreneurial perspective I could see her passion and I just knew she was going to be successful.”
Many employees on the 12-person Talus Ridge team come from a law enforcement background, like Hall, and two employees have a background in the military. But some, like Kemple, are lifelong civilians just looking to make a difference.
“We just all have a passion to make the best product available for law enforcement, military and anyone who wears tactical gear,” Hall said. “We’re just excited to have a positive impact on the field right now that really doesn’t have a lot of positive light.”