Teach an Entrepreneur to Fish: Joseph Pippins, The Fishing Caddy
Joseph Pippins grew up in Kansas City, Kansas. A restless kid, he spent many afternoons grounded and confined to his bedroom, unable to get his hands on essential childhood goodies. That is, until he started selling toys out of his window, thereby creating a marketplace and filling his coffers with baseball cards, ice cream, video games and an entrepreneurial spirit to boot.
This knack for solving problems and hunger for success sunk its hook deep into Joseph’s life. Entrepreneurship helped him raise himself out of poverty and drove him to push against the current and create an adult goodie that does a whole lot more than making fishing easier, it brings families together and helps create childhood memories full of love and the thrills of reeling in a big catch.
We’ll turn this over to Joseph for a deeper look into his inspiring story and sage advice on building a business, even when you’re not getting many bites:
What is the Fishing Caddy?
One day while I was out trout fishing at Heritage Park in Olathe, I noticed how much gear fishermen needed to have a successful day. I was sitting in a bad spot with my folding lawn chair, bucket, tackle box, flashlight and my fishing poles and bait; and I hadn’t caught a single fish.
That’s when the lightbulb went off! All of this gear was preventing me moving to a better spot. I dreaded packing up all my gear to find where the fish were biting; hours were wasted and no fish were snagged.
As I looked around the banks, I noticed nearly every other fishermen had the same problem. All of our gear was too far away. And if you were fishing with multiple fishing poles, you can bet the second you took your eye off your rod, that's when the fish would bite.
So I began testing the first version of the Fishing Caddy, just a rod holder attached to a bucket. After hundreds of hours of testing, it developed into a full fishing system that takes a lot of hassle out of the sport.
By making the sport more convenient, and thus more fun, my hope is that more kids will set down their electronics and head out to the lake to spend time with their dads; for grandparents to pass on this age old tradition with ease and pride; and for everyone to see that if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, anyone can catch a fish and become a fisherman, or even an entrepreneur.
Big fish in a broke pond
I have been an entrepreneur for a long time. My phone is full of ideas I have recorded to solve everyday problems I encounter.
This desire to make life easier and better existed even in middle school, when I was known as the "candy man" (has a better ring than “candy entrepreneur.”) Like any kid, I wanted Nikes, comic books and of course more candy, but my retired grandmother couldn’t afford those things.
So I struck out on my own, and sold candy until one of my employees (yeah, I had a crew) went rogue. I soon moved on to selling cheat codes to the video game Mortal Combat; I quickly forgot about the small margins I was making selling candy.
Recently, a book called “The Power of Broke” by Daymond John, the founder of FUBU, empowered me to embrace that growing up poor gave me an advantage over my wealthier peers. I no longer look at my lack of resources early on as a crutch, but as a badge of honor.
I’ve experienced a lot of tragedies—losing siblings to gun violence, days without nutritious meals and being homeless several times in my life. Yet, like most of my peers in the inner city, I stayed hungry for success because the sting of poverty was so strong. Everyday, I feel its cold touch breathing down my neck. When I want to give up, I think about how far I have come and those who depend on me, and keep on going.
Catch and release
It's the most amazing thing in the world to bring a product or business out of your mind and into a physical form. The fact that fishermen on the other side of the country log onto thefishingcaddy.com and part with their money to purchase my idea made real is humbling and exciting at the same time.
My big dream for the Fishing Caddy is to be this generation’s fishing and camping staple. To be on the shelves of a major retailer and introduce an easier, simpler and effective way to fish bringing families together and build legacies.
But even more importantly, success is about giving back. I hope to start a foundation to give back to the inner cities where I grew up in and reach those kids who were like me: whose mind wanders in class and gets reprimanded often. It's these kids, that with the right guidance and mentorship, can become our next generation of leaders.
These are the kids with big visions and hustle. I want to encourage them to stay dreaming, and help them with the resources to bring it it to life. It's easy to go with the flow. It takes serious courage to step outside the norm & conjure up ways to make life better (and fishing easier.)
Learn more about the Fishing Caddy at this website, Facebook and Twitter, and keep an eye out for the Kickstarter campaign launching in April.
Ready to fish?
If you’re ready to cast your line into the sea of entrepreneurship, send us some info here
and we will be in touch ASAP with your personalized tackle box (of sorts.)