JIM SULLIVAN // Founder & Mr. Filthy
You’ve said there isn’t another company out there doing what FA is doing—what do you mean by that?
I truly believe it, we are a different brand. We connect with our customers, whether it’s in person or on social media, we will always go out of our way to have a meaningful conversation/connection with anyone who has interest in our brand. We were built by our customers/supporters and from day 1 I promised we wouldn’t change that aspect of this company. Many of our first customers have become life-long friends that I/we talk to weekly. I owe a lot to those who believed in me and believed in this brand; I want to make sure I never lose sight of how we got to this point as I am extremely grateful.
How did you come up with the FILTHY ANGLERS name?
I get asked that all the time! I knew I wanted to start an Instagram page that was a little different, so I needed a name that stuck out, something a little edgy that would catch someones attention. It was December, early morning. I was driving to work listening to sports radio in Boston. I’m racking my head trying to be creative with a name with no luck, however not knowing to myself that moment that the stars were about to align perfectly. For some reason, they were playing the sound clip of a scene from Home Alone. The main character, Kevin McCallister, set up the VCR to play the movie of an old time mafia guy shooting his tommy gun so that he could scare away the pizza delivery kid from Little Nero pizza (yes I remember that.) I remember hearing the phrase “keep the change ya Filthy Animal!” --the direct quote from that movie. Something in my head clicked, and said “Filthy Anglers”, I like the sound of that. I then frantically did a trademark/copyright search, checked urls and it was available thankfully! So I am forever grateful to 98.5 the Sportshub in Boston; little do they know they named my brand that morning.
As the founder of the company, what is your role on a day-to-day basis?
My role has changed a lot since the beginning. Initially (the first 3 yrs) I was a one man show. From running social media, warehouse manager (parents basement), shipping manager, customer service, inventory control, running the finances and marketing. I would work 8hrs a day at my fulltime job, go home be a dad and put the kids to bed, then put in another 5hrs running Filthy Anglers wake up and do it again. I was burned out, but always saw the potential. After a few long years of doing this, I became a bit burned out and it was having an impact on my life. Today, things have changed completely, 2 years ago I was at the point where I needed help and I truly believe I caught lightning in a bottle and had a lot of luck on my side when I partnered up with an existing business, that was capable of handing the workflow. Not only were they capable, they took it to a new level. I am fortunate now to have a great team from top to bottom that are truly amazing at what they do. We have our own Office/Warehouse in Carlsbad, California (crazy!) We staff a number of amazing employees who are experts at what they do! I mean, I went to school to be a Physical Education Teacher, so I am extremely grateful for our team and the knowledge they bring to the table from the aspect of running a business. As far as my role now, I am in charge of running the social media end of things, posts, responding to messages and comments etc, sometimes a fulltime job in itself. I am also involved with providing input on product designs, shows and special events. I truly enjoy interacting with the public at the shows, meeting other businesses owners and sharing stories. I have never travelled so much in my life, I think I have visited over 25 US states at this point in my life, 5 years ago, I think I may have visited 6! Most importantly my role with the company has allowed me to be more present with my kids and I am extremely grateful for that.
Why do you fish?
I started fishing at an early age for fun with my dad. I took a break during my college years and focused on my studies/baseball. After college, when life got real I used it as an escape from the stresses of every day left, it was my time, a time to decompress and relax. It wasn’t always about catching fish, it was being on the water, a place with no distractions or worries. Fishing can be a challenge, and I am extremely competitive with everything I do in life, to a fault. I love the challenge the sport brings, but in all honesty, fishing is my escape where I can just turn off for a bit.
Filthy gets to travel anywhere…all expenses paid. Where do you go and what does the trip look like?
Hmmm, tough question. Don’t think I’ll have that exciting of an answer!! I think I’m staying in North America for sure, I’ve never left the country and really don’t have a desire to. The one thing about me, I am very simple, somewhat boring not much of a risk taker. I’d say I’m headed to Florida, I know it seems like a typical answer but makes sense for me. First I’m taking my kids to Disney for a few days, I’ll bring my friends/family and probably plan a few days where I can head out on the water and do some fishing. I’d want to fish Lake Okeechobee with a Professional Angler, the angler I’m asking first Brandon Palaniuk (one of the most down to earth anglers you will ever meet.) I’d then want to get out and do some saltwater fishing and go for some tarpon, maybe have Peter Miller take me out for that one. Outside of fishing were eating, eating a lot, but not Seafood, I don’t eat seafood/fish (Odd I know, who runs a fishing company and doesn’t eat fish? This guy!) I can crush some Crab Rangoons with the best of em’ though. (I know its not really crab meat.) Again very simple/boring. After that, I’m relaxing at a pool or on a beach with my friends and family. Simple right?