My parents are the two people I have to thank most for my attitude and outlook on life. They were excellent role models growing up and even now as an adult they always give me something to look up to. I know this is a very cliché kind of thing to say, but in my case it is 100% the truth.
From a very young age (about 6 if memory serves) my father gave up the security of his day job, with a young family to worry about, In order to pursue his dreams of working for himself in the way of making fishing lures. To a lot of the business savvy here on LinkedIn this might not seem like the brightest of ideas, but the fishing mad North Queensland locals went crazy for them and it wasn’t long before the word on how well they caught the legendary Barramundi spread far and wide.
Over the years my Dad, with the unwavering love and support of my Mum, grew the business into one of the biggest handcrafted lure manufacturing businesses in the southern hemisphere. At one point they even had 13 people working for them. Not bad going when you consider Dad left school at the start of grade 8 and Mum barely made it to the end of high school. Even better when you consider that Dad was dyslexic (and not diagnosed until just a few years ago) and could hardly read or write when he left school.
Despite the business’ great success in providing a great life and lifestyle for our family, it sure as hell was far from smooth sailing. There were all the usual stories of late or totally sleepless nights that you would expect from a small growing business. There were lots of lessons to be learned the hard way including bad business relationships and people taking advantage of their good will and nature left, right and centre. This ultimately saw the demise of their first lure business around the start of the new millennium.
After a short break to watch the grass grow (literally, they brought a turf farm), the desire to design and build lures was too strong and they started another lure business that ultimately overtook the first one in quality, fish catching ability and cult following in very quick order. But the introduction of the astoundingly cheap soft plastic lures, cheap imported hard bodied lures and uncompromising business partners saw an untimely end to this business before the end of the first decade of the new millennium.
Mum and Dad, for as long as I can remember have always pushed themselves to learn new things, incorporate new technology and rise to any challenge. I can still remember them getting their first desktop computer and the huge pile of books that Dad used to read in order to learn DOS and Corel draw. As part of their second lure business they were using 3D modelling and “rapid prototyping”, or 3D printing as it is now widely known, before anyone even knew what it was. Back then though it was so insanely expensive that it was almost cheaper to get an injection moulding tool made and altered than to have something modeled and printed. Ultimately this cost was what drove Dad to start learning 3D modelling and after a few tips from a mutual friend of ours (the guy that originally taught me to draw in AutoCAD) he was off and modelling his lures in Autodesk Inventor.
By the time he had started learning 3D though the second lure company was a slowly fading bad memory and after a while of running a landscaping business on the Sunshine Coast Dad took his first 9-5 job since starting his first lure business in the early 80’s as a drafter using Inventor. The lure (pun intended) of the big mine money saw Mum and Dad move to Mt Isa (ironically where they met) for a few years where he then had to learn SolidWorks. (A step backward in my opinion, so you can imagine the dinner time conversation between us huh?) After a few years “working for someone else” became too much and Dad decided to go contracting with his new drafting and SolidWorks knowledge.
But you know what they say about not being able to keep a good person down (or teaching an old dog new tricks)? In their true style, my folks have dusted themselves off, stood back up and decided that their true passion lies in making excellent hard body lures and making their small business run like clock work. To this end, after a move back to Townsville to be close to family, and a slow down in the mining sector, it seems only fitting that they should be back into making fishing lures again. But not just this, my Mum has recently completed all her accreditation to become a BAS agent as well and is very successfully growing her own small bookkeeping business.
As if all this wasn’t enough, Dad loves everything he does to be the highest quality so not only does he design the lures in 3D himself, he 3D prints the prototypes on his desktop printer. Machines the finished bodies himself on his 3D router out of timber and then hand finishes them all himself. (With the help of Mum obviously.) All of the skills required to do so being self-taught.
Now both in their 60’s, (sorry Mum but it adds context) just recently they had some issues trying to get the website for the lures rebuilt. Again, not letting a little thing like not knowing about web design get in the way, they have completed the build on their new website themselves over the 5 days since Christmas Day. And it looks dam good too. (totally unbiased of course!) You can check it out here;
If you love your fishing, you’d be wise to add a couple of these to your collection. Something you can also do from the website.
So as you can see, when I say my parents are a true inspiration to me, I mean it 100% and it isn’t just a throw away line. If their story, will and determination doesn’t inspire you, nothing will.
Now I just have to find out what they will charge to rebuild my website for me…