In the spring of 2006, my 16-year-old son Michael and I learned about “ecommerce” (called online marketing at the time) at a half-day seminar in a local hotel where they served us a free breakfast. Pretty sure Michael came for the breakfast, but that seminar (and breakfast) opened our eyes to the potential of being in business for ourselves and provided a path to accomplish it.
On July 31 of that same year, JDK & Associates, LLC was formed.
“J” = Jim (me!)
“D” = Diann (my wife)
“K” = Kids (Michael, Lena, Shelly, Brandon)
“Associates” = Our partners and clients (you!!)
Though “D” and “K” aren’t actively involved with the business at this time, everything “J” does is meant to provide peace and comfort to these 5 special souls (plus 2 more)!!
Now that we were officially in business and started learning how to become “internet marketing experts”, we needed a product or service to offer our clients. We built our first website marketing home ottomans. I had no passion for them and had a hard time finding suppliers. We never made a sale. I decided to go find a new product to market but wanted to find something I could get excited about.
I grew up in Upstate NY and dreamed of being a professional golfer for much of my young and young adult life. That is what led me to the warm sunny skies of Florida when I was 18! My golf talent never developed into the skills needed to earn a living, but I have always loved the game of golf and continue to follow it with great passion and enthusiasm. This love for the game of golf led me to the PGA Merchandise Show at the Orange County Convention Center in January 2007 and changed the direction of JDK forever…
Focused on finding a new product to market, I headed out to the PGA Show with NO concept of what that new niche product would be. Before I ever made it into the event and as I walked across the walkway from the parking lot into the convention center, I instantly knew I had found what I was looking for! On this walkway I could look over the massive floor of vendors and got an aerial view of the show and some products. Almost immediately, as I gazed out into the vast arena, my eyes caught site of this huge booth with beautiful, colorful rain umbrellas! I knew instantly that I had found my new product! This huge booth with tons of people mingling around belonged to Gustbuster Umbrellas and as I had practiced, told the owner I was an “internet marketing expert”. I proceeded to ask if he would drop ship his product for me and he quickly said yes!! I was back in business with a fun new quality product and supportive vendor to work with. As I wandered the show floor that day, I met other top-quality umbrella suppliers who also said they would drop ship their product for us. I had found our new niche and 5 months later www.UmbrellasAndBeyond.com was born!
Being married with 4 kids, a home to care for, many church responsibilities, and a dog, I was unable to do this business full-time. However, I consistently worked at this umbrella niche finding quality products and ways to make buying a blank or custom made umbrella fast and easy. JDK has successfully sold over a million dollars’ worth of umbrellas and have picked up many more suppliers through the years who have partnered with me to serve thousands of happy customers! Though unable to leave the security of my “paying” job and work this business full-time, I have remained dedicated to serving our clients, remaining profitable, and able to help our clients find those “Beyond” items (promotional products) like pens, mugs, shirts, hats and signage.
I really appreciate you as a customer or potential customer visiting my site and trusting us to serve your umbrella and other promotional product needs to help YOU be known and make others aware of what YOU do, so you too can take care of your loved ones!
Enjoy the Journey!
Jim Rowland (The Umbrella Guy) - Owner
JDK & Associates, LLC
2785 Orchid Lane, Kissimmee, FL 34744