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Selling Flies

fly tying bass flies bluegill fies trout flies

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58 replies to this topic

#1 David's_Fly_Bench

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Posted 13 December 2018 - 04:37 PM

     Hello everybody! I'm new to this forum; but I've been tying flies for 6 months now. I've quickly gone from beginner to intermediate, then from there to somewhat experienced! I'm open to ANY new advice on places to get cheap materials (such as thread, wire, dubbing, hooks, feathers, everything else). I'm also open to any of you whom tie flies to ask for advice. My question today is: where would I go, either online or offline, to start selling my flies for about $0.75-$1.00 a fly? I'm located near SW Ohio, and there aren't very many fly fishers here. I'm aware of how to ship and what not, but I don't know where to go to get my business started. I also want to know where to go to sell materials as well, if anyone can help me with that. Anyways, I appreciate the time and effort of anyone who helps me out!

 

 

 

 

     Please, feel free to email me at: [email protected]


David Carson


#2 whatfly

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Posted 13 December 2018 - 05:56 PM

Use the search function to do some research on this. Question comes up pretty often, and it is is not as easy a process as you might think, because of the tax laws.

#3 flytire

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Posted 13 December 2018 - 06:41 PM

Beginner to intermediate in 6 months?

Wish I was that good in 6 months

The search function will reveal a few discussions on the subject of selling flies

Most fishermen use the double haul to throw their casting mistakes further - Lefty Kreh


#4 rockworm

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Posted 13 December 2018 - 06:47 PM

In your shoes I'd have a talk with the owners of sporting goods- and fishing shops in your area. Find out what they could use and negotiate terms. Better still- tye for your friends and get free beers. 



#5 David's_Fly_Bench

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Posted 13 December 2018 - 07:23 PM

I appreciate everything guys. It helped a little bit; now I know what websites/stores to look towards. Thanks everyone!


David Carson


#6 Poopdeck

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Posted 13 December 2018 - 08:19 PM

I'll save you the time of searching. Don't bother selling flies. It's a lot of work and not profitable. You will work less hours and make two or three times more working a minimum wage job. That's the reality of selling flies.

#7 cphubert

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Posted 13 December 2018 - 08:22 PM

Start small negotiate terms for a carded display at few shops or convenience stores. You may not get $ .75 a fly and may have to assume risk for stolen merchandise but it will get your name out locally. Attach your flies to a printed card with a on line web address so you can sell direct to customers. It probably will be a custom order/ ship process. DO NOT use your name unless you are 100% sure of your quality and ability to fill orders, easy to get a bad reputation that you will never recover from. 

-If it works sell your fishing rods you will not have time to fish until you can meet your schedules.



#8 Gene L

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Posted 13 December 2018 - 11:37 PM

Not a good career choice.  Thai tiers can tie a pretty good fly for about 1/4 what your cost will be.  It's a hobby.  If you can sell them, you might recover 1/100 of your investment.



#9 mikechell

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Posted 14 December 2018 - 07:03 AM

PM Flatsroamer.  He started out like you ... with the same lack of humility.  Despite that he seems to have landed a "sponsorship" and deal with a fly tying shop.


Barbed hooks rule!
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#10 Capt Bob LeMay

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Posted 14 December 2018 - 07:27 AM

Lots of downsides to "selling flies" - but also some good things... Most of us that worked as commercial tyers (i quit finally about two years ago after starting in 1979....) don't "sell flies" at all - we fill orders for shops, individuals, fishing guides, and ultimately maybe even as contract tyers for some big outfit like Umpqua Feather Merchants.... 

 

First things first, really think about what you're trying to accomplish - generating money through your own labor (long hours at the tying bench and not much fishing....).  At first you simply figure out what shops might want someone to fill a few bins for them.  Then you contact each one and ask whether they want to see your stuff (you do have a selection to show don't you? - and it is your absolutely best work... isn't it?).  Once you have a shop or two showing interest then you set up an appointment - and go see them with your fly samples in hand (and a small pad to write down what you're going to commit to doing for them..). As a rough guide remember that whatever a shop is asking for a given fly - they're doubling their money (a fly selling for $1.50 cost them $.75...).  And of course they'd love to have some young guy (or gal) tying for them for less than they're currently paying...   Pay real close attention to what the shop wants - and learn who it is in the shop that you'll be contacting in future... If they're not willing to pay on delivery for whatever you produce - go somewhere else since there are outfits that aren't exactly honorable (not many -but enough that a beginning tyer can end up on the short end of things...).

 

Now for the hard part... you actually have to produce what they've ordered and within a reasonable amount of time... Remember that whether you tie ten flies or one hundred of the same pattern - then all need to look just like some machine tied them  -no variations (and when you get a re-order they're going to want the exact same colors, etc).  Fill a few orders and you're on your way (a path that will take a few years to sort out if you're willing to work hard...).  After filling an order or two... now it's time to get licensed.  You're going to need a business license and  tax numbers (both federal and state).  You're going to have to pay federal excise tax (form 720... I pay quarterly), etc.  The good news in all of this is that your business license and tax numbers are the key to buying at wholesale - a must if you're seriously planning on tying commercially...

 

All of this is just a glimpse of what's involved.  Different states will have different requirements to keep you legal.

 

And as you've already figured out  - none of this has anything to do with "selling flies"....


Tight lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666

#11 mikechell

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Posted 14 December 2018 - 09:55 AM

In other words, what Capt. Bob is saying is ...

If you think tying flies for money is going to be fun ... you're not thinking about it correctly.

 

On the other hand ... if you have some really great and unique flies, you can advertise them on Facebook, E-bay or other sites.  Like Pat Cohen, who I believe started out selling his "Punk Rocker" and other Deer hair flies.  Now he's full time retailer of tying materials and flies.

To read his stories ... he put in 10 and 12 hour days to get where he is.


Barbed hooks rule!
My definition of work: Doing something in which effort exceeds gain.
Ex-Marine ... quondam fidelis
 


#12 tjm

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Posted 14 December 2018 - 09:57 AM

Google "wholesale fly tying materials" should turn up all the major players and then you contact each to see how many pounds/bushels  of feathers or what dollar amount you have to buy to qualify for their wholesale program. It will be different for each wholesaler, it may be that you have to be a "distributor" or have a retail outlet. What ever is required you need that wholesale purchasing ability- not just where is a cheap place that we all can buy from.

If you strike a deal with. say the Dayton fly shop, they might or should be able to reduce your costs on materials purchased through them, but you might get a better deal direct from a wholesale house.



#13 Capt Bob LeMay

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Posted 14 December 2018 - 10:59 AM

Most wholesalers wont deal with you unless youre in the trade. They will have specific licensing requirements as well -just to get your foot in the door.... Each one will be slightly different. All will have minimums youll have to meet as youre getting established.
Tight lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666

#14 salmobytes

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Posted 14 December 2018 - 11:23 AM

I made wood/fiberglass drift boats for sale in the early 1980s.  I made and sold about 30 boats before I realized I should just write a check for $500 dollars to every new customer who came into my shop.  That way the financial transaction would stay about the same but I wouldn't have to actually build the boat.  I suspect it's a similar deal in fly tying, especially so at the prices you mentioned.

 

To make it at all as a fly tier I think you have to establish a reputation that allows you to charge more per fly instead of less, and to sell at retail only, directly to customers, rather than at wholesale to the shops.  That's what Al Troth did.  

 

.........I'm 70. I started tying at 12.  I missed a few years during the late 60s when I  lived in a tipi, at 8200 feet in the Colorado mountains.  But other than those 4 years I've tied every year, every week for almost 60 years now.   The one thing I've learned about fly tying is this: any thought about tying in order to save money is...fake news. 

 

There are other very good reasons to tie.  Lots of them. But saving money isn't one of them.

 

:=))


/* Colin (Sandy) Pittendrigh >--oO0>
** http://montana-riverboats.com */


#15 chugbug27

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Posted 14 December 2018 - 12:08 PM

Capn Bob that's some great info.

I've never sold anything fly fishing related, but I do have something to add to the fray here...

At 19 I say just start doing what you want to do, save whatever money you can, and keep an open mind to the other doors that end up opening to you on the way.

The only real regrets in business I have are not the choices I started with but with not paying better attention to the other doors that opened on the way.
cb27





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