How Catchflo Came to Be
Behind every brand and company, big or small old or new, and regardless of business type and industry, is a founding story. Now, nearly (6) months into our journey as a brand and company I'm sharing our founding story. I hope you enjoy these tight lines of words.
It Always Starts with a Need
In mid-2020, with the pandemic raging, I like many others found myself getting the heck outside...and in my case that meant diving way (way) into my 20+ year passion for fly fishing. In doing so, I was connecting more deeply with it, and as an admitted shoe geek, that further connection had me seeking some fly fishing themed casual shoes to express my passion off the water.
My shoe seeking of course first led me to Google, but in searching I was underwhelmed (and bummed) to only find random, and often times cheesy, "fish shoes" on eBay, Zazzle, Etsy OR super expensive one-off custom painted shoes. No one was doing anything at scale or with an actual brand and company focus around fly fishing themed casual footwear.
So, with the fly fishing themed casual footwear market apparently bearen of any shoes I'd actually want to wear (let alone buy), my entrepreneurial mind went right to "ok, I'll just meet my own need" by making fly fishing themed shoes. And I figured that if do that I bet there's probably lots of other passionate fly anglers like me out there who likely have the same need.
This need I had, and the desire to meet it for both myself AND others, was how the idea for Catchflo was born and off I went much like any startup brand and company founder does which frankly is a lot like jumping off a cliff and assembling your parachute on the way down (but in a fun non life threatening way).
Taking the First Steps
After deciding to "go do" Catchflo in late 2020, the first steps I took in early 2021 included --
- conducting important further market research
- establishing a mission and vision for Catchflo
- capturing the essence of what I wanted the Catchflo brand to be
- determining our market positioning
- dialing in a business and financial model
- laying out a merchandising plan for 2021
- finding my way to a artist/design partner as "design is everything" in a business focused on casual footwear
In addition to these steps, I also put in place our Catchflo Gives Back program in which we donate 2% of our sales (aka 2% of your purchase) to important fly fishing connected causes. I did this because in my opinion it’s important for businesses to give back in some way that is right for them.
The causes we chose to focus on were clear and obvious for me with Project Healing Waters and Casting for Recovery. I chose these two (2) organizations from among the many amazing groups out there because I personally have experienced (and believe in) the life changing therapeutic power of fly fishing, and because my wife is a breast cancer survivor.
Time to Launch!
In moving through the first steps from January through March 2021 it became GO TIME in April as I worked with our lead designer throughout April on the first footwear series we'd launch with (Browntowns), ready our catchflo.com website, cement things with our on-demand manufacturing and fulfillment partner, and lay other foundational aspects of the business including the processes and technologies that would power us initially (and over time) as we scale.
On Mother's Day 2021 (as a nod to my mom and moms everywhere who inspire their kids growing up with love, encouragement, and you can do anything type parental vibes) I launched Catchflo.
Unlike many startup brands and companies we did what I'd call a "cold" launch in that we just showed up on the scene out of the blue without any build up or pre-hype and started from ground (sub)zero by spreading the word and hustling at the grassroots level every day to make a way for our upstart brand and company within the fly fishing industry.
So Far so Good
It's been a super fun first six (6) months so far as we've firmly established our brand and positioning, Dropped three (3) more new themed footwear series with our Bowtowns, Flo Flyer's, and Smallietowns. And, we have several more new series set to Drop throughout the rest of 2021 with our Salt Towns, Brookietowns, Flo Tyer's, and Home Waters footwear series.
Through our journey to date we've sold lots of footwear, found unanimous love from our many customers in the US, Canada and worldwide, established an engaged and growing Instagram followership, added many FLORiginal brand ambassadors, created a variety of targeted programs such as our Retail Dealer, FLOPros, and FLOStateU efforts, and met 100's of amazing and helpful fly angler, industry, and other brand founder folks along the way.
To say the journey so far has been amazing is an understatement...frankly it's been absolutely incredible. I also think it’s a good example of what can happen when you just say "ok, f$ck it let's go" and start doing vs. the alternative of just thinking and never acting.
So, as I wrap this Founding post...a simple cheers 🍻 and thank you 🙏 from me and us to you for all of the support so far. I promise we're just getting started!
Always Keep it Fun,
Catchflo Founder & Owner