On the first day I found a fly rod and it was bad. On the second day I lost a net and it was bad. This series of events lead to the genesis of Karmik Outdoors. As a person who has been hunting and fishing my entire life I have lost and found outdoor gear on many occasions. Maybe you have too. I believe that anyone who spends a significant time in the outdoors has encountered the same experience that I/we have. Personally, I’ve lost countless items ranging from fly boxes full of flies to multiple fishing nets. I think I’ve lost two life jackets while towing my boat and having them blow out. I can’t even imagine the amount of coffee mugs and water bottles I’ve lost. Honestly, if I keep a coffee mug for a year that is a major accomplishment for me! You’re probably thinking I’m a very irresponsible person who loses and misplaces stuff all the time. Shoot, when I type it and read it aloud I think the same thing. But – the fact is – you can’t keep your items safe and secure all the time. Inevitably, you will lose something, have it accidentally taken by a buddy, blown away, be rushed for time, let your son borrow it who then loses it, have something stolen, house burned down, be overcome by weather and elements, or a myriad of other situations that are out of your control. Karmik can help with these situations.
At every expo or trade show I attend I have two marker boards that I use to record lost items and found items. They quickly fill up with items. I wrote a blog (here) about the most common lost items in the great outdoors. Sometimes I am surprised by some of the items people write because they are not things you might expect to see on the board. Things like guns and bows and backpacks (both day packs and packs filled with hunting gear), decoys, scuba gear etc. I’m always surprised when I see rangefinders with three tic marks next to it. Then I look at the found board and there are two tick marks. I always wonder if one of the found rangefinders is one of the lost rangefinders. Could be, we’ll never know.
As I was thinking about this business I had to address the question: Do people really lose that much stuff? I looked at Craigslist, Facebook, outdoor chat forums, and even local sporting goods stores for data to see if people lose outdoor gear enough to warrant starting a business. “Is there a big enough problem to solve,” I asked myself. It didn’t take long to discover the answer is a resounding, YES! Even here in Boise, Idaho where our only claim to fame is that one line from the Lynyrd Skynyrd song; there are people losing and finding stuff at an alarming rate. Because of all the scenarios I mentioned above, it is highly likely you will lose something like the other 86% of us outdoorsmen who have. The scenarios I mentioned above are real and can happen to anyone.
A good friend of mine is type A. He does not lose things often. He is military, clean cut, organized and responsible. He keeps his positions in front of him so to speak and takes good care of them. The family purchased a nice fishing raft and all the accessories that go with a fishing raft. Enter his teenage son. He borrowed the boat and took his friend fishing. Well, while loading up all the equipment at the end of the day he left the anchor at the boat takeout. I guarantee you someone found that anchor. They even most likely wanted to return it but how could they? If you have a raft or drift boat or motorboat I bet you have an anchor. Do you have any contact information on it? How much did that anchor cost? If you lose it, it will cost you twice. The original purchase price and the replacement price. That’s the value of our decals, twice the price of the object you put them on. At almost no fault of his own my buddy had to buy another anchor. He did not buy the same kind or type and certainly did not spend the same money the second time (brands keep that in mind).
If you look at your local Craigslist lost and found right now you will see lots of phones, and keys and bags and dogs and cats, even llamas that have gone missing. If you look you will also see skis and ski poles, fishing rods and tackle boxes, drones like crazy, coolers, golf clubs, disk golf disks, tennis rackets, and pretty much anything that deals with water. These might be someone’s most prized possessions. They might have been expensive, or they might have been cheap but that’s not the point. They might have been hand-me-downs from Grandad and have sentimental value. The point is, it pains people to lose items. It causes stress and angst and even anger. The second you lose something the butterflies start flapping their wings in your belly. It simply SUCKS. I know that people are good. I know that people want to do the right thing if given the opportunity. If given the opportunity. That’s the key. I wanted to create a product that helps people and grants people the opportunity to do good. Karmic is the verb to Karma. It is the action or deed that bestows a person with good or bad Karma. Karmik decals or ID tags allow people to do the right thing and get good karma. If you search “found” in your local lost and found page or forum, you will see there are more posts for found gear than lost gear. There are more people trying to return gear than recover gear. Make it easy for them.
Allow me to tell you another story I heard while attending an expo. A lady noticed my booth and the product. We started chatting about lost and found items. She began to get emotional, even shed a tear. She went on to tell me about a net that was lost by her dear friend. The owner of the net recently lost it. Although this was an ordinary net it held great sentimental value to her. It was her brothers. He died of cancer. They used to fish together a lot. Fishing was their connection. That net was the physical tangible memory to her brother and symbolic of their time spent in hobbies and interests together. He was gone but his memory lived through the net. I can only imagine that every time she netted a fish with it, she was reminded of her late brother. Whoever found the net, found a net, but she lost a memory. One of the two individuals valued that net a whole lot more.
Karmik Outdoors is a lost and found outdoor gear company. But, we are more than that to some people and more than that to any finder of gear. We’re here to protect your gear and give people the opportunity to return it if found. Because I’ve been there, I wanted to help. I felt the pain and stress and anger and stupidity caused from losing gear. I don’t want you to experience the same. Plus, I don’t want you to look at your spouse and to explain how you lost an expensive item! Karmik is all about connections: connection to your gear – connections to each other – connection to brands – that’s who we are and what we do.
- Robert Gillingham– Owner of Karmik Outdoors – Professional loser of things