Starting up a new business is not easy. Sonja Ray can attest to that when, a couple years ago, she started putting the pieces together for her new business. Despite the adversity and it taking a couple years, she and her business partner, Lisa Wyrick, are now in business.
Their business name, “Cast A Lot,” has been trademarked, along with another slogan they are using, “Hooked on Life.” Both appear on the clothing line and specialty ground coffee they now sell.
Their business name, Cast A Lot comes from a time in Sonja’s life when she would go fishing with her grandmother.
“I used to say to my grandma, ‘it sure seems like I cast a lot and catch a little.’ And she would respond, if you never put your line in the water, you will never catch a fish. So, I continued to cast a lot,” she reminisced.
When Sonja and Lisa Wyrick started talking about developing a new business, with the first thought being a line of clothing for women who like to fish, Sonja remembered the conversation she had with her grandma and Cast A Lot seemed like a perfect name for their new business.
Lisa drew up the colorful fishing fly design and a short time later, “Hooked on Life” was added.
To make sure no one else would use either of those names or brands, they decided to pursue a trademark for both.
After 14 months, they were granted a serial number and then two months later, found their trademark names listed in the United States Trademark Office publication.
Now, with the names legally secured, they went to the Glacier County Port Authority and with the help of Brenda Schilling, they were given an opportunity to make a presentation to the Port Authority Board of Directors in the hopes of receiving a grant from that organization.
The Board did exactly that, granting them $2,000 for the start-up of their new business. “That money is being used to get production started on our products, the apparel and the newest addition, our very own coffee blend,” said Sonja.
She added, “One of the best things about fishing is having a good cup of coffee. So, to go with our fishing apparel for Cast A Lot, we started thinking about developing our own coffee blend. I found a coffee place in Seattle and spoke with them and they were really excited to help us create our very own blend.”
The coffee shop is Joe’s Coffee Garage and according to Sonja, “they blend coffee for a lot of companies, ones much bigger than we are, and yet they were very excited to help us. So, after some back and forth with them on what we wanted, they gave us some different samples and we finally decided on the perfect blend. It is a true, good coffee and you seriously do not need any creamer, it is that wonderful.”
The label depicts a woman fishing, which as Sonja said, “shows the bigger picture for us, about women empowering women to be the best they can be. It is about breaking out of your comfort zone, to rise above some difficult times and find something more.”
Whether you want apparel, in different styles and colors, handkerchiefs, camping blankets or coffee, or one of each, you can order all of those items on the Cast A Lot website at www.hookedonlife406.com.
You can also find the clothing, blankets and handkerchiefs at 2B Design here in Cut Bank and the coffee is on the shelves at Rose Petal.
“We are so grateful for all the local support and the stores for agreeing to help us get our start. And thanks to my kids for being a part of this and supporting this from the very broken beginning,” said Sonja. “It has never been about buying a shirt, it is about supporting our journey and helping us empower women along the way.”
They may be starting small, but this business has big ideas to take this business as far as they want it to go and to take it anywhere they want it to be.
“We have some future goals, like holding fly fishing retreats for women where they learn not only to fly fish but learn some other things about themselves too. We hope to make it a place where cell phones can be unplugged and there is good fellowship, good food and good times.”