From the top. I thought it would be fun to start a blog to post my ramblings. (Full disclosure, I'm not a writer and there will probably be grammatical errors.) Also, PLEASE join in with comments below and share anything you'd like to. Fishing tips, experiences, questions, and comments are all welcome.
Introductions. To kick things off let me introduce myself. My name is Andrew and I am the owner/operator of Foundry. I've lived in middle Tennessee my entire life. I'm a family man, married with a 5 year old son.
In this first post I thought I would explain how/why I started this brand, where I got the name, and really what has gone into it. And full disclosure, this first post is a tad lengthy.
The family business. In 31 years of my life, I've spent about 16 of those working for my dad's floor care business. It's a job that can require really long drives to each store we service. We always work nights after the stores have closed. Late nights almost always turn into morning before the job is done. Aside from the floor care aspect, I repair all the equipment. On any given day I may be changing a head gasket on a small engine, or driving 2 hours to fix some equipment that has broken down at a random store. So naturally starting an apparel business seems like the next step.... right?
Fishing forgotten. Since I was a kid my brother, Sam, and I were really into fishing. That is until I hit my teens and moved from my small town to the Nashville area. When I lived in Nashville there were so many other things going on. I kind of forgot how much I enjoyed fishing. After living there awhile, I ended up moving back to the country, getting married, and settling down. Sam had spent this time (I wasted) honing his skills at fly fishing. He kept trying to get me out on the river with him. All of this was new to me. Up to this point I had essentially only fished in lakes with some form of spinning rod. Persistence paid off and he talked me into going. I brought my Walmart-special spinner spooled with some like 20 lb test. Yeah... I got skunked. Finally he got me to try fly fishing.
Fly fishing changed the game for me. I'm not gonna lie. It was pretty frustrating at first. However, after that initial learning curve, I was hooked in a bad way. This is where I should probably apologize to my wife. She put up with a lot of my non-sense(still does). You know, like fishing 3 days a week from sun up to sun down. (She was a really good sport about it though.) In this time I made an Instagram page called FoundryFishing.
Instagram blunders and successes. Let me just take a minute and apologize to the many other local fishermen who no doubt wanted to kill me. Being new to the Instagram game I started tagging every location we fished. In the immortal words of Joe Dirt, " I'm new, I don't know what to do! " Yeah... later I learned it's not great to give away all your fishing spots. There was one upside to this. We got messages. Lots of messages. Many nice folks asking for fishing tips for our area. In a way this is what started the brand. After awhile I thought, hey there are a lot of people interested in our adventures, it might be kind of cool to make some hats!
Enter frustration and branding. Frustration? Wait you mean someone who has spent their entire life doing manual labor and has no experience in apparel had trouble getting the ball rolling? Hah! Yeah... So to start with we (Sam and I) drew a logo on a napkin. My cousin, Alex, owns a graphic design company called Family Tree . He graciously helped clean up the logo and digitize it. Next, I ordered these leather patches with the logo on them. The patches came in and I was beyond excited to get them stitched on hats. All of the seamstress shops in our area told me it would be impossible to stitch them on the hats. More frustration. It seemed like this was going to fail before it even got started. After mulling over my options and seemingly finding none that made any sense, I asked my wife if she could show me the basics on our sewing machine.
The Machine. Wouldn't you know it, sewing leather patches onto hats isn't really the easiest way to learn how to sew. It took forever to get it right. Finally, I felt like I had figured it out enough to list these hats. I built a website and posted a picture of the hat on Instagram.
Something crazy happened. I sold one. Then I sold another one. Don't get me wrong, it was slow going at first. Plus I still wasn't very good on the sewing machine. So it almost felt like punishment when an order did come in. Hah! Inevitably, I would end up messing up half way through a hat and having to start over. Persistence was key though. The more I stitched, the less I messed up. The more I started to like what I was doing. Suddenly, it was like hey, this is pretty rewarding work. It made me really proud of each hat I stitched up, and honestly it still does.
Business or fishing pictures? I rode this fine line of being a brand vs just being a page to post our personal pictures. I really didn't want to turn into another re-posting page and lose the essence of why I had started it to begin with. So I made the decision to move forward with the brand while staying as true to the initial format as I could. Now it's really just become a place to share our adventures and the adventures of other people who have gone above and beyond by supporting our brand. To me it's amazing and so humbling to see someone wearing a hat or shirt that I spent time working on.
The Name. Foundry. "Where did you come up with that name?" A question I hear a lot. Honestly, I don't know exactly how it popped into my head. I had actually used a couple other names initially, but none of them really stuck. Technically a foundry is where they "cast metal objects". Yeah, I do a lot of that.
Full Circle. This post could really keep going explaining how much help I've received along the way. Whether in the form of business advice, help with artwork, lessons in screen printing ect ect... What it all comes back to though is this: It's a brand built solely based on our love for fly fishing and more importantly, the people that share that with us. As cliche as that statement is. It's the truth. I don't know where this all ends up going, but one thing is for sure. It's been a fun ride so far. Thank you all so much. Stay tuned mi amigo's.