Hooked on an idea
Youngster's Practical Tackle makes on-the-go fishing easier
Brayden Kelley needed an idea.
Ideas are what entrepreneurs are all about.
For this 14-year-old Fruita youngster, the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, sponsored by the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, was what got him hooked on the idea search.
He brainstormed and considered a number of different concepts and then decided to take a break and head to his favorite fishing spot.
As he was angling for an idea, the young angler found one as he rode his bike to go fishing at Snooks Bottom in Fruita.
“I was riding my bike to my favorite fishing pond one day,” Brayden said with a matter-of-fact tone. “That’s when I came up with the idea.”
And what an idea. The judges at the Young Entrepreneurs Academy took the bait and were hooked, too.
Brayden realized it wasn’t easy to carry his fishing tackle and rod while he rode his bike.
That’s when Practical Tackle was born. The product is a small canvas bag fishing tackle with Velcro strips that make attaching to the fishing rod easy. For the angler on the go looking to make a quick trip to that favorite fishing hole, the bag can fit all the necessary lures, hooks, bait and other essentials.
The product took first place at the Young Entrepreneurs Academy competition in mid-March and that qualified Brayden and his and Practical Tackle product a spot in the next round, which will be in New York City in May.
A pool of judges in New York will have 100 business ideas to evaluate, then six winners will advance to Washington D.C. with some major stakes on the line. The overall winner will pocket $50,000 and test the waters of the TV show “Shark Tank,” a show where entrepreneurs can earn investment money from a panel of celebrities and financial whizzes.
Brayden said his grandmother, Sue Thorndill, helped a lot with designing the bag and preparing the prototype. His parents, Stacy and John, were supportive all the way, but they thought Brayden might have waded a little too quickly into the deep end of entrepreneurship at first.
“I went through a couple of ideas and my parents tried to steer me away from the (fishing tackle) idea,” Brayden said. “But I stuck with the idea and I’m glad I did. I’m just happy it turned out this well.”
Stacy admits they were worried that Brayden’s idea was a little too ambitious at first.
“We tried to control the idea at first. We thought it should be an easier idea to start with,” she said.
But Brayden knew he had a good idea.
“He was like ‘no, no, no,’ and he put his foot down and said that he was going with his idea,” Stacy said.
Brayden, who goes to Redlands Middle School, is actually the only fishermen in the family.
“He developed an interest for fishing on his own,” Stacy said.
Even as young as he is, Brayden has been looking to cast his line into the business world for a while.
“I’ve always had a heart for entrepreneurship and wanted to give owning my own business a try,” he said.
After the idea took hold, the next step was getting a presence on the Internet (practicaltackle.net) and making brochures and other marketing items.
Brayden said people volunteered to help with the website, and now the foundation is in place for when the manufacturing part of the business begins.
“I never thought it would take off this much,” he said, adding he’s done plenty of media interviews. “It was really a shock when I won.”
He estimates that he’s received around $900 from investors, including some nice cash gifts for Christmas.
On April 28, Brayden will bring his Practical Tackle product to the chamber’s New Member and YEA! CEO Showcase from 4-6 p.m. at the Mesa County Workforce Center. The event is free and open to the public.
Brayden chuckles when he says his business office is currently at a desk in his bedroom. That’s where he develops his business plans and PowerPoint presentations.
Practical Tackle is still gaining momentum, but Brayden has already gotten tons of great feedback, and he says that’s really satisfying.
“There are people who have started fishing because they heard about the product,” he said.