A Fish Tale: Catching the Big One
Out of work inventor finds venture capital and starts new international business.
July 24, 2004 -- It was the year 2000, and an out-of-work CD-Rom publisher, James Barfield, was struggling with his career's downward spiral. CD publishing had fallen from favor as the Internet became industry's medium of choice for information sharing. Barfield, caught in a mid-life crisis, saw the necessity to make a major change in his life if he was to survive. Like most folks, he hadn't a clue where to turn. He was certain of only one thinghe wanted out of the high-tech businessbut, he remembers, "Good jobs outside technology were hard to come by, especially with no experience and no real direction." So he decided to go fishing to clear his mind and find his direction. Using up his life's savings, a month turned into a year before an idea dawned. "The more I fished, the more I became interested in fishing equipment, and it became apparent to me that there were no good rod holders on the market for the onshore fisherman." Voila! A new and unique product idea was borna universally-useable rod holder for onshore fishing.
Now the problem was, how does an "out-of-work techy -turned-fisherman" (with empty pockets) get a new product to market?
"I realized my new job was finding the money to develop, patent, and bring this new product concept to the marketplace." Living on the edge of bankruptcy, Barfield set out researching the potential market for his new product concept over the Internetthe very technology that had put him out of business a year beforeand created a business plan. The plan needed editing, so he contacted Frankie Van Cleave, a colleague he had worked with previously in the publishing business. After studying the business plan, Van Cleave, editor-at-large for several Fortune 500 companies, became the Angel Investor Barfield was seeking. She acknowledges, "I've edited dozens of business plans over the years, but none had the potential and excitement of this onea simple, one-of-a-kind, low-tech product needed by almost every fisherman in Americawhich, by the way, is one in every six people you know."
With startup financing provided by Van Cleave, Restin' Ready Corporation (www.restin-ready.com) was founded in Marietta, Georgia. Shortly thereafter, the Restin' Ready Rod Holder was prototyped, and the design perfected. The partners quickly applied for a U.S. utility patent, which was granted this year. With numerous foreign patent applications in the works, the company expects to have the exclusive rights to manufacture the product for the next twenty years.
What makes the Restin-Ready unique? Barfield explains, "All other onshore rod holders are designed to work in a specific environment with specific gear, such as on a dock with an ultra-light setup, or on a beach with a surfcasting rod. However, the Restin' Ready is designed to work in every onshore environmentriverbank, beach, dock, or icewith any type or size rod and reel. The innovative design also allows for instant transition from passive to active fishing, improving the likelihood of setting the hook when a fish strikes."
The compact device, which carries a lifetime guarantee, will be a featured new product July 14 - 16, 2004, at ICAST, the world's largest sport fishing trade show, held each year in Las Vegas.
Like his rod holder, Barfield's marketing plan is also unique. He is signing up fishermen who will use the product, take orders, and earn a rebate for each order they take. "We'll have fishermen all over the country taking orders at all types of events, fairs, festivals, or fishing venues. Who better to get the word out than the seasoned fisherman who believes in the product? Who wouldn't want to make good money while enjoying their favorite pastime? And there's a bonus: our Product Reps can legitimately write off their weekend fishing trips as a business expense. Our slogan is, 'Go fishing, have fun, make money.'"
Barfield himself is back to fishing, but no longer seeking a career change. His company is expecting worldwide sales exceeding fifty million dollars over the next ten years.
This article courtesy of http://www.1stforfishing.com.
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