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privateer

New Contributor
May 22, 2022
4
8
Hello..my name is Rod, I’m 55 and have unexpectedly found myself on the journey to the top of the mountain once again. My life has been one of my own choosing and what many would consider Peter Pan like. Most people work with the goal of having the financial foundation and freedom to pursue their passions in life. I was fortunate enough find my passion & true place in life at an early age. not only did I find it but I was exceptionally good at it and I turned that passion into a career. At the age of 14 living in Southern California I started working as a deckhand on a sport fishing boat. Not an opportunity available to most 14 year olds if For no other reason than the physical demands. For me it was a combination of being 6’4 235 lbs and at the right place at the right time. Not only did I feel more at home on the deck of a boat than any place else but everything about fishing offshore just came naturally almost intuitively for me. A few years later I was awarded a scholarship to UCLA not for sports but for art I had a choice to make and I chose to become a licensed captain. So the adventure began!… I have spent the last 30 years traveling the world fishing. A few years commercially fishing for swordfish (as seen in the movie a perfect storm ) but mostly on the sport fishing side and mainly catering to the most affluent. The boats I ran where not the typical tourist charter only working seasonal tourist traffic then starving in the off season. It was always summer somewhere and there was always another new billfish or tuna hot spot to be discovered and that’s where you would find me. It was a life money can’t buy and most can only dream of. At 50 I was 6’6 245 lbs and more fit than most gym rats 20 yrs younger, owned several boats and a solid charter business. my plan was set, start working 6 months out of the year and enjoying the family I had recently started. Life was perfect until it wasn’t! long story short i suffered a spinal cord injury, bone shards migrating from an injury 15 years earlier. I now have limited use of my legs although I’m not in a wheelchair yet i jokingly say I don’t walk I fall in a general direction. As doctors where trying to figure out what was going on COVID hit and my wife lost her job, I was put on disability and we began liquidating and scaling down to weather the storm and figure out the next move was going to be. I inquired about programs available for people on disability to learn new skills that would allow them to earn a living again, there are NONE. So what can I do, I’ve got all this knowledge and experience but it’s not real transferable to a lot of things and im financially tapped out. Time to get creative, don’t laugh at me guys but something that i always noticed on the boats, around the docks and dockside restaurants was the fishing related t-shirts people where wearing, most of them are hideous! They are either cartoonish and just plain ugly or a walking billboard for a brand. So that art scholarship I passed up. time to put that artistic ability to work. I put the 30+ years of inspiration to work creating a few designs and quickly learned that trying to have my concepts turned into print files by graphic artists was like trying to get a blind man to describe the color blue. I Bought some design software and taught myself how to use it with some online courses. my goal is to create designs of artistic value that capture the imagery of life on the water and are genuinely inspired by the fish, the boats and the places that fuel the passion. Not just another gaudy fishing t-shirt. Since start up capital was almost non existent I went the route of print on demand. It’s been a hell of an experience I’m 20 days from launch 50 designs ready to print,up at 5:30 each morning and not calling it a day till 10 or 11 but I’m doing whatever possible to make this happen what I know I’m applying to the effort what I dont I’m trying to learn and seeking advice from those that do. What I know for certain is that anything is possible if the desire and determination is great enough most important giving up is not an option!

thank you for accepting me into this community of people not willing to accept life as it is handed out and willing to take the risks and do the work to make it what they want it to be!
 
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MJ DeMarco

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IMO, selling t-shirts is quite possibly the worst business to be in. The fact you might have identified a need (or deficiency) in a niche space definitely helps, but I'm not sure it will make much of a difference.

Essentially you have entered a game of marketing.

This means you've elected to become a marketer foremost, over an entrepreneur. To succeed in such a saturated space (and POD, even worse), expect to be a top 1% of marketers in order to succeed and get your brand above the noise.

Sorry to be a negative nelly, but I didn't create this forum to sugarcoat truths.

I wish you luck.
 

ShamanKing

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I don’t fish saltwater but I go out occasionally for bass, trout, ect. These are my goto shirts. For $30 each I find it hard to beat. I use them for hiking and camping too. Would love to see some of your designs.
 

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privateer

New Contributor
May 22, 2022
4
8
I appreciate your opinion and absolutely agree that marketing will be a significant factor to the degree of success. over saturation is something I’m quite familiar with, the charter fishing industry is a prime example. Every marina in south Florida is full of boats purchased by retired fat cats who got a six pack license and a website intent on doing enough trips to write off the expense of their fishing hobby or trustifarian kids of those same types who where set up and subsidized by mommy and daddy just so they can say junior has his own business rather than he won’t work and lives in our pool house. I dont expect this to be easy and the only absolute i have in this equation is that if I do not put forth my best effort it has zero chance of success. As for sugar coating no need for that here....in my world the extra time it takes to say please when giving an order on deck can cost a man his life or sink a multimillion dollar boat!
 
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privateer

New Contributor
May 22, 2022
4
8
I don’t fish saltwater but I go out occasionally for bass, trout, ect. These are my goto shirts. For $30 each I find it hard to beat. I use them for hiking and camping too. Would love to see some of your designs.
Those are great shirts, Columbia makes a quality product at a fair price. I would be happy to share some of my designs with you. I’m launching with 5 collections 50 designs total. I am not doing any of the technical shirts like you have there, my focus is on high quality cotton shirts. My focus is on creating a lifestyle brand not really the shirt you wear fishing but the one you put on after you have been out on the boat all day and are going to the dockside bar or restauran. Something you can throw on with a pair of khakis and olukai flip flops to grab sushi with your wife and she doesn’t oh god really your not going to wear that shirt!
as for what you fish for...it doesn’t matter as long as you enjoy it, a little hydrotherapy is good for the soul!
 

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