Episode 81 – Brandon Quinton, H2O Industries
For the Love of Powersports
Brandon got into free-standing jetskis after having a severe 4-wheeler accident. Having a new family and a new baby he felt the sport was too risky and so he sold his 4-wheelers. He needed an outlet for his energy and turned that toward stand-up jet skiing. Brandon explained that the stand-up jetski is having a resurgence and it's much like motocross freestyle.
After falling in love with the sport he saw that there was room for improvement with some of the products and he began having ideas for solving some of the problems. “Initially I was just riding and it wasn't enough adrenaline so I moved into the aftermarket jetskis and wanted to do more aerial tricks and stuff which then introduced me to the idea that there's no cover options for these guys,” he said.
One idea for improvement was an electric conversion for the jet ski to increase instant power. It was an expensive venture and so he decided to start with something smaller and build up, that's when he began making covers. “Let's take business plan A and change it to business plan B and do the covers,” Brandon says.
Starting out he took his idea to a local canvas shop where they made the first cover and also created a pattern for him to make one on his own. Once they got it right, his wife encouraged him to make the cover and take it to market. His wife, Britney, has been a perfect partner because she has been the brains behind the financial end of things. Brandon relates that she is a good sounding board and has brought forward good ideas that Brandon wouldn't have thought of on his own. They do all this with three small kids, each just about one year apart in age.
“The market in Idaho is budding. You're starting to see more stand up jetskis,” Brandon said. It plays naturally into the backcountry snowmachine riders since they can ride the jet ski in the summer when their sleds are put away.
Brandon admits he doesn't have a problem talking to people and the collaborations he has made have been from reaching out. “I want to see the sport grow. I'm all about helping the sport grow. I've pushed locally getting people to ride jet skis,” Brandon said. Brandon feels that one of the things that has made him successful in the industry is that he has a wide knowledge base and people come to him when they have questions.
In stand up jet skiing, there are competitions where money and prizes are won and there are all ages that compete. H2O Industries even sponsors professional riders that are from Idaho.
Earlier this year they partnered with a company that made the covers but due to COVID-19, they have shut down the business. They notified Brandon while he was driving home from a vacation with his family. “By the time I got home I'd made the decision I was taking my engine out of my jetski, selling it, selling the rest of the covers and buying an industrial sewing machine,” Brandon said. He now owns two industrial sewing machines and just moved into a new space where he sews the covers himself.
“I have a tendency to overcome whatever issues come my way,” he said. Brandon's personal life has provided him with challenges over the years that have also demonstrated his level of tenacity. Growing up he had to navigate his parent's divorce and the challenge of ADHD that caused him challenges in school. He said he had to figure out how to cope with that and found that work is where he's able to focus. “If I set tiny goals for myself. I work until that goal is done and then move on. It's the most efficient way for me to go through life,” he said, but learning that came with time.
When he was 18 he was homeless from Nov-Feb living in his vehicle. Some days he had to retreat to the public bathroom hand dryer for heat. Wrong choices led to Brandon being incarcerated over the course of 7 years. “It was awful, I finished parole term and then worked. Work is what really got me through it all. While I was in there I had a lot of time for self-introspection,” he recalled. He calls this time his catalyst and explained that it changed his core beliefs from failure to success. “It taught me a lot about myself, when I got out I was different,” he said.
The future for H2O Industries is bright and now they aren't just selling jet ski covers. They are launching snowmachine covers and will soon be doing high-end exotic car covers.
When asked about what advice he has for others interested in self-employment Brandon advised to do market research and go for it. “Do it better and show people you can do it better. Just because you're small town doesn't mean you have to stay small town with your ambitions. It's not a small town anymore because everyone's connected,” Brandon said.
To learn more about High Octane Industries (H2O) visit their website at https://h2oindustries.com/. You can also find them on Instagram and Facebook.
Thank you to James at Servant's Heart Entertainment for editing the show and making us sound good. Learn more at https://www.servantsheartent.com/.
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