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Starting a business


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16 replies to this topic

#1 revgnat

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Posted 14 October 2006 - 12:47 AM

I was wondering how many out there have fly shops they own, if so store front or Internet? How long have you been at it? Fulltime or part-time? Start up cost? How does one know what to inventory?

My idea is to have a small shop handling high quality flies, materials and equipment, with friendly and knowledgeable staff. I would tie some and then also farm out some work to other tiers I know.

I am located in the Midwest, not a lot of shops - besides big chains. Thoughts and/or ideas?

Thanks,
Gnat


#2 Alex C.

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Posted 14 October 2006 - 08:45 AM

If you're not doing it online, the first thing you need to worry about is building a good reputation for it. And if you open up a real shop, try and do it as close to the most popular fishing spot in the area. You might even want to consider carrying things like spinning lures, gear as well till you're more established.

#3 flymaker1

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Posted 14 October 2006 - 08:48 AM

Hey Rev, Iowa is not the place to have a flyshop. I frequent the half @#! shop in DSM, and they are baarely getting by. I have tried to figue if a shop would be feasable in Iowa, the answer is no, just not enough interest. This just my opinion.

#4 Nick N

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Posted 14 October 2006 - 09:04 AM

Ok, I have been at it for about 2 years. I dont have a store, but I do have a website. I made it on Freeservers.com, and it has worked out great. I started out with a few patterns, then I expanded into more flies, and leaders, and on occasion I have a custom rod available. You can start out with a free site, but there will be all sorts of banners and it will not appear on searchengines. You can buy search engine spots and if you pay the 3 dollars a month all your banners will disapear.
I agree with putting it near a popular fishing spot. And, make a hatch chart, for each 2 week period of the fishing season, then sell the chart with a sampler pack of flies, for that week. I did this, for some local fly shops, and it has worked out great. Also check out J stockards fly mart.
Thanks Nick N
"Different strokes for different folks.....Different Flies for different Guys"
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#5 day5

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Posted 14 October 2006 - 11:59 AM

I have been selling flies son the Internet for a year and a half. It is a good deal but can become life consuming at times. You need to be ready to give up your nights in order to fill a big order that is needed for a weekend fishing trip.. I make enough to pay for family trip and vacations. I am planning on adding tying supplies to the site this fall/winter. I do not think a store is in my future but the Internet is a great way to do business. As far as inventory goes I mostly tie on a as needed basis. You need to be very aware of how long each fly takes and only sell the ones that you can do fast. Also the cost of hooks can make profit go bye bye very fast so finding cheap high quality hooks is very necessary. I wrote my web site on front page I still have some kinks to iron out but I just flat out need more time to get to it. help.gif
Genesis1:20
Click the picture below to visit www.streamersflyshop.com

I filled up two shopping carts late last night
The one was full of fishing gear, the other newcastle ale
The checkout-lady laughed and said 'You think you got enough'
And I said 'Yeah, You're probably right', and filled another two carts up
Gonna catch all the fish, Gonna drink all the beer, Gonna head outta town, We're not staying here
Might take all day, might take all year, Till we catch all the fish, Till we drink all the beer

Brad Paisley


Join me on facebook search: streamers fly shop

#6 steeldrifter

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Posted 14 October 2006 - 12:04 PM

I dont own a fly shop, but I run my own sideline business on the internet for building custom fly rods, and I was very good friends with a fly shop owner for about 11 years, so I will tell you this....If you enjoy fishing and want to keep doing it...then dont open a brick&mortor fly shop. Thats one thing my friend told me numerous times about his business was the fact that he never got a chance to get out fishing himself because he was always working in the shop. And you might say "I could hire someone to work there so I could fish"- then you have to ask yourself, are you gonna make enough money to cover paying an employee to run the shop for a weekend while your fishing?

An Actual brick&mortor fly shop survies 100% on REPEAT business! I'll give you an example. My friends that owned the shop was in business for 11 yrs and did very well for himself after the first couple years. Then last year he had to move the shops location. It was only about 20 miles away from his original location, but that was enough to lose 90% of his "regular customers"....long story short-he went out of business not even 2 months after he moved.

So unless you are in an area that has ALOT of fly fisherman and there is a real need for a fly shop, then you might be better off just doing the internet sales thing for awhile till you can honestly look at your target customer and see if there is a need for your shop in an area where there are alot of potential customers.

Whatever you deceide on I hope it works for you!

Steve

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Owner- Steve Clark
Midwestcustomflyrods.com


Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doin, than a long life spent in a miserable way- Alan Watts
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#7 CapeBSalar

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Posted 14 October 2006 - 12:15 PM

Not to keep discouraging, but I agree with staying away from Brick and Mortar type business. I opened a small fly shop on a very small river as a hobby business, I invested approx. 15, 000.00 in it and didn't make a cent profit. Mind you I wasn't full time, I did build a good customer base, but the return was very small.

you can make a shop work, not a question, but there is alot to take under consideration.

I started out big and flopped, Then 10 years later, after learning from my mistakes, I started selling on Ebay and actually turned a profit. No overhead, small expenses, and a good profit margin.

start small, home based, build up, and there's no telling where it can take you. Fill a niche!

Good luck, and don't give up, just do alot alot of homework and market analysis.

All the Best!
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#8 revgnat

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Posted 14 October 2006 - 12:54 PM

Thanks for the comments, I do not think of it as discouraging, but as reality checks. I was thinking of a more of a small store front that had a nice selction of rods and reels, gear and fly tying materials. We will see what happens. I live in a larger city with a nice selection of streams near by.

Thanks,
Gnat

#9 billb

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Posted 14 October 2006 - 01:56 PM

Gnat:

Best wishes on however you decide to go. Good shops are treasures, but there certainly is a lot of risk involved in opening a new one.

Bill
BEHOLD THE FISHERMAN
He riseth up Early in the Morning And Disturbeth the whole Household.
Mighty Are His Preparations.
He goeth forth full of Hope, and when the Day is Far Spent He returneth,
Smelling of Strong Drink and the Truth is not in Him.

#10 Blackotter

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Posted 14 October 2006 - 02:04 PM

The thought has crossed my mind a couple of times too, but with the internet, it's so easy for everyone else to do the same thing.

I was going buy flies wholesale, but I found the inexpensive ones were crap and the good ones were more wholesale than a lot of people are selling for retail online.

It's somewhat discouraging, but if you can find your niche, market it well, no reason it can't work though. The trick is finding that niche and not spend a bundle marketing it.

#11 J. R. Caddick

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Posted 14 October 2006 - 04:04 PM

Gnat,

Before i opened my own brick & mortar shop i talked to a lot of folks who had tackle shops or fly shops open and picked their brain about a lot of things. The one thing that kept coming up was not to expect to make any profit at all for about the first two years, that means that you need deep pockets or good financial backers to really succeed in opening a full scale shop.

The cost to open even a small shop will probably astound you, it is nothing to have up to $5,000 tied up in lines, leaders, tippet material and backing. Count on about $10,000 as a minimum for fly tying materials, another $1000 for fly boxes, $500 for floatant and assorted dressings, $500 in misc. things like nippers, knot tying tools, etc. When it comes to rods and reels it depends on what manufacturers you want to deal with. Most have a certain dollar amount you have to buy each year to keep your authorized status as well as demanding that you carry a minimum quantity of rods from each series they produce in certain line weights. Depending on the rod company you could end up carrying about 40% of your rod stock in things with very little turnover for your specific location.

If you do open a shop be prepared to put in long hours for very little pay for the first few years and you also better forget about going fishing, it will cut into your time for doing all of the required paperwork, restocking of shelves, cleaning, re-ordering, etc, etc...

If you have never tied commercially before i suggest you find out if you can stomach it before making the leap. Make up a list of the flies you would want to carry and then start tying up about 4 dozen of each size of each fly and see how you like it. When i used to just tie commercially before opening my shop my worst order was just shy of 1000 flies of one pattern and one size.

Long story short, do lots of homework and really think hard about what it is you are proposing. It is a big responsibility time wise.

#12 Chase Creek

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Posted 15 October 2006 - 05:09 PM

Gnat,
I've never been in the Fly Shop bizz, but did own and operate a commercial driving school for 15 years, and have been a full partner (2 of us) in a small structural steel drafting outfit since '90.
Never worked so hard and for so many hours in my life. But - I have learned a few things about small bizz. If you do decide to go ahead with the store, try to run it yourself - no employees, at least for a while. You would be amazed at the extra paperwork involved if you have employees. Get a CPA to keep your books that is a little aggressive; there are a lot of tax areas that an agressive (I did NOT say "creative") book keeper can use to your advantage without getting you into gray areas. This is really important.
That said, I wish you the absolute best, however you approch this.
"A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and
beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise"
Aldo Leopold

#13 longears

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Posted 16 October 2006 - 12:30 AM

J.R. That was really good advice. I'm finding how how much that inventory is costing as we speak. You just never know what it is people want either when it comes to materials. I had a guy who insisted on "fish Hair" gotta have the stuff. so I went out and got it in several colors and a quantity of the stuff so I could get a better deal and then the guy comes in a buys 1 package of black and I haven't seen him in months. I can't fiqure it out...
What I've started to do is give classes and offer a 10% discount to all of the students.That seems to be working.
www.tyingsupplies.com

#14 day5

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Posted 16 October 2006 - 05:00 AM

1000 flies in the same size ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Genesis1:20
Click the picture below to visit www.streamersflyshop.com

I filled up two shopping carts late last night
The one was full of fishing gear, the other newcastle ale
The checkout-lady laughed and said 'You think you got enough'
And I said 'Yeah, You're probably right', and filled another two carts up
Gonna catch all the fish, Gonna drink all the beer, Gonna head outta town, We're not staying here
Might take all day, might take all year, Till we catch all the fish, Till we drink all the beer

Brad Paisley


Join me on facebook search: streamers fly shop

#15 Ephemerella

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Posted 16 October 2006 - 05:40 PM

I'd think you'd have to turn over a lot of inventory to make any money. Basic fixed expenses got to get covered like rent, paying yourself (you DO have to eat), utilities. So check on local rents. And the lease is often a year or more...I'd guess $15K-$30K or more a year. Then add display cases, and store furnishings, renovating the rental space for say $10K (one time).

Then pay yourself for a year, say you live in a trailer on a backwoods lot, and drive a beater to work, no kids, and you don't eat much...$30K

Then variable expenses like advertising. Got to advertise if you want to sell anything. Check ad rates in magazines, web hosting providers, plus shows (~1K per table per show). Say $10K/year.

Then inventory. Assuming materials are low margin like 25%, ask yourself how many $50 necks will you sell a day? The mark up on a spool of thread might be 25c. Inventory is just really a cash flow problem. Hard goods like rods & reels probably have more mark-up but require the cash outlay. Better sell them before they become last year's model...

Materials at $10K (remember that's only 150 dry fly necks...), hard goods at $20K (only 50 rods and 50 reels), $10K for othe stuff (waders, vests, boots, etc.), $10K for books, widgets, etc. and $10K in flies ( 50 each of 50 patterns in 4 sizes each), you're "only" fronting $60K in inventory. No exotic Argus feathers or Tragopan skins, or macaw tails. Just a couple of JC necks.

OK so maybe $140K up front.... And you need to bring in $55-70K to cover annual expenses (rent/ad/salary), from margin on whatever you sell. At 25% margin (33% markup) that's $220K-$280K gross. Can you turn over $4K a week? That's 8 nice rod/reel combos at full price, plus 20 Bronze dry fly necks, and a hand full of flies. OK, flies have a bigger margin, at $1 markup over wholesale.

So what is it about your expertise, experience, price, selection, and/or location, that makes folks turn to you for fly fishing and fly tying stuff? [By the way, forget about selection unless you front up more than $60K.] If you can't answer that in less than 10 words right now, stop.

This is the key. You need to fill a real niche in the market. You need to be SURE you can fill it. Then, if you can fill the niche, the questions is can you do enough business to make money, or is the market you are satisfying just not big enough. Hard questions, but your talking REAL money here. Unless a rich uncle named you in his will, that money your putting up is YOUR money, so spend/invest wisely. Then decide if you can fill the niche and make money.
-E