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Old 06-20-2006, 12:13 PM
Cliffisher Cliffisher is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Essex, MA
Posts: 270
Commercial Fly Tying - Any work out there?

I thought I overheard a few guides chatting about how hard it is to find tyers to make salt water bugs for commercial re-sale - as if there is a market demand for clousers and deceivers that can't be met? Anyone know of any shops or guide services that need commercial tyers? Curious what or if it pays.
ALCOHOL. TOBACCO. FIREARMS. (so who's bringing the chips?)
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Old 06-20-2006, 01:39 PM
Chad Skinner Chad Skinner is offline
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From what I have gathered you have to find a way to get the retail price for the fly. Generally you can get a 60/40 split if you sell to a shop. So working backwards Clousers, and Decievers are going to be tough to make money with. If you can twist up some of the more difficult/time consuming patterns you might make it work. Of course now your spending more time money and effort. The other side of that coin is that we have some very good tyers in this area that would not appreciate your selling their patterns. I was out with a local guide the other day who bought 60 decent flys for $60.00 at that rate your paying them to take the flies. Now if you can find a buch of little old ladies and small children who would work for a buck a day, and turn out quality flies, your golden.

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Old 06-20-2006, 03:05 PM
StriperflyRye StriperflyRye is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Central NH
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I did production tying in a former life. Yes, usually 60% of retail. If you can get your materials at wholesale that helps, but in any case if you do the math it's never big $ to you. I think my most lucrative (if you can use that word) patterns were tarpon flies. Made $20/hr or so tying those. Tying for fun is fun. Tying to fill an order can become a chore. Not sure I'd go there if I were you.

Last edited by StriperflyRye; 06-20-2006 at 06:30 PM..
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Old 06-20-2006, 03:05 PM
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Jim Miller Jim Miller is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Adirondacks
Posts: 1,388
Yup.... what Chad said!
Either you have to buy materials in bulk & cheaply and be VERY fast in tieing.
or Job Shop to someone willing to work for rice.
I really can't see it being a profitable endeavor....
Jim Miller
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Old 06-20-2006, 06:41 PM
sturgeon crazy sturgeon crazy is offline
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I tied comercially on the west coast for 17 years and its a tough buisness.If you want to make a living at it,expect long hours at the vice.I would get 50 percent of retail from fly shops until I purchased and ran my own shop for a while.Another hard buisness!My expierience as a comercial tier was 10 years ago so prices might have gone up on the wholesale end.Typically a fly shop is tough to make money on because they dont give you enough quantity.2 doz. of this 2 doz. of that,its hard to get into a rythm and you must keep a large supply of different materials.I did this for a few years until I landed a comercial account with an alaskan supplier.I would get orders of 2000-5000 flies per style and size.with this,I could buy my materials by the pound,set up for a weeks worth of tying and crank them out,much more profitable.I handled 90 percent of their flies and would do 50-70,000 flies a year and did ok even on the cheap ones.If you can set up for a large quantity,you can do upto 4-5 doz. an hour,atleast by my expierience.Fly selection is also important,your in buisness,pick a company that needs quick tied and low material usage flies(such as alaska patterns).If you are a comercial tier,you can get materials at wholesale from most wholesale company's(I useds hareline in oregon)you just need proof from your accounts that your tying comercially or some might want a picture of your shop(have a sign made and hang it on your garage and some pictures of your tying area)Remember, you might not end up tying your favorite flies all the time.This is not a get rich industry,at my peek I might have made 50k a year and worked alot,you must love tying and fly fishing.When I quit I didnt tie a fly for 6 years and have just recently started again and am now enjoying what I first loved about it,the creativity and anticipation of catching a fish on something you have created.My best abvice if you want to make it a buisness is to think big,theres only money in volume.Look to companies like cabela's,bass pro, or other web based companies that can move flies,and then try to get your own web site running so you can get some retail income even if it is still a little less than the shop's so you can compete.I wish you the best of luck and if you have any question's,feel free to pm me.
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