I make stuff. As in, design and sew things up. I've done this for 35 years. I'm a professional! Thus, when I started canyoneering, I also started making canyon-specific items like canyoneering backpacks and ropebags under the name Imlay Canyon Gear. Scott Holley financed purchasing some Black Diamond DM probe pole sections for making Happy Hookers (a product no longer in production), so we made a few of those. Then Scott ponied up for some Cordura and Mesh, so we could make a few rope bags. I refined the canyoneering pack, working through several versions that the aficionado can see are closely related to a certain generation of Black Diamond packs.
A few years later, Black Diamond and I parted ways. I worked harder on the Imlay stuff, and tried selling photographic prints at Art Fairs. The Imlay stuff started doing better, the photo prints not so much. After three years, Imlay started doing well enough that it could actually pay me, which was good, because I was up to the neck in credit card debt (remember easy credit?). Just in time, the canyoneering community got big enough for me to make a living selling gear. A big thank you to all who assist in this endeavor!
I had two years of true unemployment in there, when I thought I could not justify getting out and doing canyons. As a result, part of my new job description as "Chief Cook and Bottle Washer" at Imlay Canyon Gear is to GET OUT at least 80 days a year. I've been running a little higher than this of late, thanks to super-enthusiastic canyoneering machine, Steve Ramras. And it has been good.
I help folks find Imlay Canyon Gear products who don't know they are looking for it. This is called SEO, or search engine optimization. Most folks in the canyoneering world know about Imlay Canyon Gear and Canyoneering USA, but folks outside our little canyoneering bubble generally don't. But there's actually a huge market for static ropes and backpacks out there, and we will sell to anyone! So I try to pull more of that audience into the ICG loop. When I am not doing design and SEO work for the Canyoneering USA empire, I do other freelance web design work, shoot for my Madison WI photography business, and lead Devils Lake climbing trips.