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Old 03-31-2012, 09:46 AM
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Default Fly Tying for Shops

I began tying my own flies for myself and friends this year. I am actually better at tying than fishing my patterns. I am interested in getting involved with a shop to sell my patterns. Does anyone have experience with this and might be able to provide valuable tips or hints to break into this market? I do not want to make a mint, I just want to get me work out there for others. Thanks for any information you might be able to provide.
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Old 03-31-2012, 10:48 AM
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Default Re: Fly Tying for Shops

Welcome to the forum--

I've never tied commercially-- hopefully others who have will chime in. but here are a few thoughts:

If you have local shops in the area you might try approaching them with a selection of patterns you feel comfortable tying. Keep in mind that many shops buy standard patterns from Umpqua or others that are tied overseas for prices that might be difficult for you to match and still breakeven.

But if you tie patterns that are proven on local waters and are not available from distributors, you may be able to carve out a niche. For example around here there's a fly fishing for striped bass. Fly patterns available in shops around here tend to be typical stuff like clousers and deceivers-- other striper patterns like flatwings, mushmouths, big menhaden or herring imitations etc. For someone that doesn't tie, these can be hard to find. For the shops that do carry them they command a premium and are often tied locally or by a few independent tyers that have established reputations for specific patterns over the years. I imagine this same principle applies in other areas too-- specific patterns for important local hatches, or for less common fly species in local waters like carp or musky flies for example.

The danger, as I'm sure others can tell you, is that if you enjoy tying now for your own use, it might turn into drudgery once you have to meet deadlines or crank out hundreds/thousands of the same pattern.

I'm sure there are other ways to get into it too besides local shops-- ebay and other internet options as well as word of mouth spread by fishing buddies, helped along with business cards etc. Also keep in mind there are tax obligations too, including a 10% Federal Excise Tax on fishing gear which applies to flies.

There's some excellent info written about getting into commercial fly tying written by commercial fly tyers Al and Gretchen Beatty . Google "Tying for Dollars"

Good luck and let us know how things work out.
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Old 03-31-2012, 12:00 PM
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Default Re: Fly Tying for Shops

Hi flytier,

Welcome to the forum, I can't help with the shop tying question but Mark has given some good advice on that. We have a good fly tying forum here and perhaps you'll post some of your flies in the 'Share Patterns' forum threads?

Our members are always interested in seeing the patterns and tying work of others so you'll be a natural fit. I hope you'll continue posting with us here,

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Old 04-01-2012, 02:01 AM
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Default Re: Fly Tying for Shops

I don't tie for shops as there are none in my area but i do tie for 3 different saltwater fly guides in my area. This has some big advantages as they recommend their cutomers to me and i sell to them. I also get the best fishing recon and when they are not busy i fish with them free of charge and we put the flies to the test and also try some of my new creations. I do not do this as a full time job and do not want to, but it does help pay for some of my fishing expenses.
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Old 04-01-2012, 12:31 PM
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Default Re: Fly Tying for Shops

Thanks for the advice. I am in the same boat with no shops in my area. The only small shops were put out of business by two large stores. The large stores buy in such quantity that I cannot compete with their prices. I will contact a few guides in the area. I agree with you, I enjoy tying, but only do it to offset my own expenses. When I say offset, I mean lessen the burder, if you know what I mean. Thanks again.
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Old 04-01-2012, 03:38 PM
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Default Re: Fly Tying for Shops

If you tie and sell comercially you are subject to pay the 10% excise tax,and if you don't you may be visited by the IRS. This has happened to other people on other boards. Plus its really not worth it for what you make on a fly,considering your time and materials. Been there,just my 2c.
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