When I was growing up everyone I knew looked for the “Made in the U.S.A.” stamp on things. On a lot of things I, as do many others, still do try to do so. But, you know as well as I do that there are a lot of things we just don’t seem to make anymore. Foreign cars have improved over the past 40 years or so and flooded the U.S. market; not to mention elite tech products from Japan. But, it used to be when something said that it was made in China (a toy, pocket knife, appliance, clothing, etc.), it was expected to be cheaper quality and cost. As I have been looking for rod and tackle wholesalers, I am finding otherwise.
I found a few suppliers. The least expensive one I found, I looked at their minimum orders and put a small list together to start. The rod blanks they sell for me to make my own fishing rods were about $50 each. They sell for around $145 on Ebay completed. So I figured that after I bought handles and guides and such, at least I can make $40-50 profit. It might be less than minimum wage considering the hours it takes to assemble a rod, but I’m an at home, disabled veteran, and I’m just looking for something to do.
But, when they send me an invoice of $300 worth of products, they added $135.00 shipping! Are You Kidding Me? That means I’d be building rods for free if I don’t do fancy custom artwork. The thing that I found most poignant is that the same people sell on Ebay with FREE SHIPPING. It may take 30-45 days to get your items but it is free. I suppose that they see more profit that way. They can sell it at retail with free shipping, or wholesale with extreme shipping; either way they get all the profit unless buyer has ability to buy in large quantities.
Most of the people I know like the quality and craftsmanship of the things I build. I can buy quality blanks from U.S. and U.K. dealers, do my artistic custom wraps and stay away from the cheap stuff. I would love to put my “Flies For Life” brand in a lot of hands, but if it means no profits, what can I say. I’m doing this to donate to Project Healing Waters.
So, I can’t get into crafting $100-$150 rods as much; but $150-$300 range is more likely. But, as you see my custom work posted, I promise you will compare them to rods in a much higher range; especially the fly and heavy duty, deep sea rods.
I am working on a beautiful St. Croix 9ft 8wt right now in a deep pearlescent burgundy color. It of course is going to be in the $450 range, but that is about what the same rod sells for without the artwork.
I will definitely have a nice supply of flies of all sorts, hand-made saltwater rigs and lures, hooks etc. On top of that I will probably be making nice handcrafted wooden fly boxes and rod cases.
So, I may have asked China “Are You Kidding Me?” but it is not a road block. It’s not even much of a detour. Things are still moving forward. I just sold a bass rod build yesterday that I will start on as soon as parts get here. I have the St. Croix to build and put up for sale as a finished product; along with a few unbranded blanks.
Please, Just keep me in mind. Bid on that fly for Project Healing Waters, even if you don’t like it. It’s a donation! Most of all, as my friends and family, share my site so that I don’t have to drop even more money into advertising right away.
See "About" page.