In late September 2011 I took a trip back to Minnesota for a wedding and later that week I was invited to a party being thrown by an old college friend. At this party I ran into my old roommate Nick and started talking about what I have been up to out west etc. etc. Later on in the night I showed him and his wife Amanda a picture on my phone of the Goldfish Garden™ prototype and his wife immediately said she wanted one. After some contact negotiation and signing on napkins I was commissioned to make the second Goldfish Garden™ for use in their home. I threw something together using an old brownie container and some expanded clay pellets known as hydroton which are used to grow plants hydroponically. I buried some cuttings off an apple mint plant in the hydroton and delivered the completed product to them a week later.
Over the next few months I worked full time on developing this product, making prototypes in a makeshift lab in the extra room of my apartment. Nick and I talked on and off about the Goldfish Garden™ idea and then I flew back to Minnesota for a ‘small business retreat’ at Nick’s house to see if he and I would be able to work together in a small business setting. During this time we set up a production facility in his garage and registered the name Effortless Aquaponics LLC as the business for producing the Goldfish Garden™. In this production facility we built around 20 initial prototypes and sold some of them to family and friends.
At the end of the retreat we decided that we were willing to work together to make this business happen. I flew back to Oregon and set up a lab in my apartment in which I built new and better Goldfish Garden™ designs and tested the new configurations. Over the next couple months work went well and progress was being made with the Goldfish Garden™ design, but all was not well with the partnership. Long story short, Nick and I had different ideas about Effortless Aquaponics LLC as a company and where we should go with the Goldfish Garden so we decided to dissolve our partnership in April of this year.