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? For Those Selling Rods in Regards to Decorative Wraps
Posted by: Michael Sutheimer (---.wi.res.rr.com)
Date: May 21, 2021 04:35AM

I have wrapped rods off and on for about 25 years. Always just for myself or family and friends. While I have done some decorative wraps I concentrate more on performance. To be honest I just don't have the patience to really get serious about decorative work. Also I am to critical of my own work. So I agonize over every little detail performance wise and keep to simple wraps with some trim bands. Maybe some type of multi colored thread.

I am to the point where I know I can build a damn good rod. People that know rod performance are impressed by what I build, granted they know me so they might be a little biased. Getting to the point that I can't justify building much more for myself. Thinking about selling a few rods just to keep building. Maybe make a few bucks to finance a build for myself now and then.

For those that build for sale what is the market looking for. Do you encounter people really want something to show off or is performance and quality enough. Granted I know customers will be all types. But is there enough of a market for plain and simple done right? In my area seems like a lot of custom rods are lipstick on a pig. Low end to mid grade quality but lots of flash. Worry that to many people equate the flash with what a custom rod should be. And in turn feel the flash has to be there to justify the price of a custom.

Appreciate any thoughts.

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Re: ? For Those Selling Rods in Regards to Decorative Wraps
Posted by: Kent Griffith (---)
Date: May 21, 2021 07:08AM

"LipStick on a pig!" Never heard that one before for custom rods, but I totally agree.

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Re: ? For Those Selling Rods in Regards to Decorative Wraps
Posted by: Phil Ewanicki (---)
Date: May 21, 2021 07:26AM

There are people who use rods to fish, and people who collect and display fishing tackle.

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Re: ? For Those Selling Rods in Regards to Decorative Wraps
Posted by: Aaron Petersen (12.144.64.---)
Date: May 21, 2021 08:11AM

Michael,

It really depends on your customer base and area. My local market is primarily focused on performance. I live in the South and not near the coast so everything is bass. So most of the time if I add lipstick it is generally for weight savings. I.E: Carbon fiber grips like the AT or the ones from WA that no longer sponsor here. I will always ask if there are certain colors of thread, guides black gun metal or polished, hook keeper... The customer usually knows what they want. Most of the time I end up with a good looking performance rod that has a 2-wrap trim band on each side of the butt guide and one on the hook keeper if it has one.

[www.rodbuilding.org]

This is the fanciest handle I have done. Customer was a local school teacher and coach and wanted school colors of Black and Blue. Rod still only weighed 3.9oz completed. The trim and reel seat accents maybe added a few grams.

Don't forget your 10% excise tax! It is important as it is actually a tax we as outdoor lovers can get behind.

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Re: ? For Those Selling Rods in Regards to Decorative Wraps
Posted by: Mark Brassett (---)
Date: May 21, 2021 09:47AM

You can't build a great custom rod cheaper than you can buy one from a sporting goods store. Is this a true statement?

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Re: ? For Those Selling Rods in Regards to Decorative Wraps
Posted by: Tom Kirkman (Moderator)
Date: May 21, 2021 09:56AM

Most people who do excellent thread work find out in short order that most members of the public won't pay much for it. Unless you include it at no additional charge or for a very slight charge, the average customer won't go for it. Some will, but not many. And you have to remember that the average fisherman isn't going to be able to tell the difference between a multi-axis closed wrap and a simple chevron. Guys that do a lot of decorative wraps have to simply love doing them and hope to build a clientele from the small number of customers who understand and equally love such wraps.

The vast majority of people who buy custom rods are looking for something they can't find on the shelf. A rod with a different length handle, a particular power and/or action, some sort of something that they feel is important for their type of fishing and they just can't find it at the local sporting goods store. A few will be into their University colors or some other personal touch. By and large, however, most don't buy rods because they want a decorative wrap.

..............

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Re: ? For Those Selling Rods in Regards to Decorative Wraps
Posted by: Aaron Petersen (12.144.64.---)
Date: May 21, 2021 11:12AM

Mark Brassett Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> You can't build a great custom rod cheaper than
> you can buy one from a sporting goods store. Is
> this a true statement?


That is a false statement. Custom-ish configurable rods and retail rods that use x-ray blanks sell for $500 and up. With better components and buying during sales you can build for less than either of those depending on what you charge per hour for labor of assembly. In the end I feel my product is better, though I am biased. So making your own rods for yourself when comparing to retail you can for sure match or beat pricing because you aren't looking for profit. Making them to sell adds a lot of other factors including value perception, marketing, client etc.

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Re: ? For Those Selling Rods in Regards to Decorative Wraps
Posted by: Mark Brassett (---)
Date: May 21, 2021 11:27AM

Tom Kirkman Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
> The vast majority of people who buy custom rods
> are looking for something they can't find on the
> shelf. A rod with a different length handle, a
> particular power and/or action, some sort of
> something that they feel is important for their
> type of fishing and they just can't find it at the
> local sporting goods store.

This is the main reason why I build rods.

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Re: ? For Those Selling Rods in Regards to Decorative Wraps
Posted by: Jim Upton (---.res6.spectrum.com)
Date: May 21, 2021 12:06PM

Decorative thread work it seems, has always been controversial to some degree. I must agree that a rod is a tool and getting the best tool for the job is the bottom line. That said, there are reasons for the extra embellishments.( Go to my photo page to see some examples.) A special gift , kinda like a gold watch, something different from the rest, to show your appreciation for something, to someone special. Expensive ? yes, but worth it ? Your call.

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Re: ? For Those Selling Rods in Regards to Decorative Wraps
Posted by: Billy Vivona (---.nycmny.fios.verizon.net)
Date: May 21, 2021 02:15PM

The going rate for Dec Wraps in the North East is $250-$400 for a single pattern closed wrap. This is what the top Thread Artists are charging, and there is no shortage of customers willing to pay for it. The market here is different, I've educated the fishermen as to what they are paying for and created a demand, as well as taught the builders how to do high quality work which people are more than willing to pay for.

And every single rod that has inlayed grips, EVA, cork or wood - with high quality Dec Wraps - gets fished. Not a single person I know has ever built a rod for a customer to display, every single one is fished. THe only people who think that are rodbuilders who are unable to do this type of work, and fishermen who are unable or unwilling to afford it, so they have to make negative comments to justify themselves.

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Re: ? For Those Selling Rods in Regards to Decorative Wraps
Posted by: roger wilson (---)
Date: May 21, 2021 02:28PM

I believe that over the past many years, that 90% of the rods that I have sold -- have been black on black with possibly one or two color trim bands on the butt section and the first guide on the rod.

Everyone of the clients have been very happy with the rods and with the thousands of fish that these fish have caught over the years.

Normally a rod like takes about 3 hours total to build and at that amount of time - one can earn a decent living.

It is all about production. Quality blanks, quality guides, quality grips and it all goes into the package to make a wonderful fishing rod that the clients love.

Not many folks in my particular area that are willing to spend extra $$$$$$$$$$$$$$ for bling that does 0 to put the fish of their lifetime in the boat.

Sure, a person can spend 50 hours building a really nice rod. But, if one spends 50 hours on a rod, can one be charging $50 per hour for labor only and sell the decorative rod. This would be $2500 for labor only.

Take care

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Re: ? For Those Selling Rods in Regards to Decorative Wraps
Posted by: Jeffrey D Rennert (---)
Date: May 21, 2021 04:26PM

Thank you for the topic. Tom, you have some very sound theories on the matter, thank you. I've been toying with both sides, mainly due to my enjoyment from doing wraps and weaving. I finally came to this conclusion and would like some feed back please. During my time with golf shop, a client was dissatisfied with the bounce on his wedge and asked if I could grind it. Yes, but we could also purchase a head with the bounce you want and just swap it out. No thank you, I love this wedge. So I put a grind on it for $110, while a new head was @$60. He loved it. I walked @ for a week or so thinking what the hey, when my friend said give the customer what they want, not what you want. Best lesson I got.

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Re: ? For Those Selling Rods in Regards to Decorative Wraps
Posted by: Billy Vivona (---.nycmny.fios.verizon.net)
Date: May 21, 2021 07:01PM

roger wilson Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> Sure, a person can spend 50 hours building a really nice rod. But, if one spends 50 hours on a
> rod, can one be charging $50 per hour for labor only and sell the decorative rod. This would be
> $2500 for labor only.
>

For $250-$400 we spend 4-8 hours on the wrap.

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Re: ? For Those Selling Rods in Regards to Decorative Wraps
Posted by: David Boyle (---.rcmdva.fios.verizon.net)
Date: May 21, 2021 08:41PM

Thread art is not a crime.
Neither is making a plain rod.
How do you sell either? Billy mentioned education which I think is the key.

Just because the rod is not decorated, does that mean it is automatically more functional?

Create your own market. It takes work.

Regards
Dave

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Re: ? For Those Selling Rods in Regards to Decorative Wraps
Posted by: Michael Ward (---)
Date: May 21, 2021 11:24PM

I’m still the new guy here - my first guide wrap was done 8 months ago, my first custom grips were made 11 months ago - but have over 30 rods completed in that time - all with a fair bit of decorative work - from tiger wraps to open and closed wraps to weaves.

I find it interesting that there is such a strong bias on this forum against decorative work / thread art - and so much “performance is everything”. I refuse to believe these are mutually exclusive - or that 99% of anglers could truly tell the difference in a blind test.

Will the average custom rod buyer be willing to pay for what decorative wraps should bear based on the time & skill involved? Perhaps not - or perhaps only in certain markets.... but it’s also not a “crime” nor does decorative work mean a poor performing rod



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/21/2021 11:24PM by Michael Ward.

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Re: ? For Those Selling Rods in Regards to Decorative Wraps
Posted by: Michael Sutheimer (---.wi.res.rr.com)
Date: May 22, 2021 02:29AM

Wow never expected so many replies. Sounds like the market exists but I may have to search for it and cultivate it. Just to give you a little more background on my comments. I have not done a lot of searching for other builders in my area. Just what I have come across at shops and various outdoor shows and searching the internet. This is what the market breaks down to in my area.

First option is highly decorated but not very complex. Simple diamond wraps lots of multicolor trim bands. Fish decals sport teams decals you name on the rod in a decal etc. Lots of bright colored EVA grips. Not my cup of tea and a lot of it looks like a grade schoolers art project. Very little is said about the actual components. If you ask they either say they don't know or they won't tell you. Hence my lipstick on a pig comment.

Next we have the guy who is just a simple mix and match guy. Hes got a group of blanks a group of grips couple guide options and thread color. You pick and choose what you want but in the end every rod will be built the same. Don't expect any thought going into the build. I would call this guy a rod assembler. Quality is usually middle of the road. Plays the angle of you can get a "custom rod" for the same price as a store bought rod.

Then we have the next step up rod assembler. Uses very good components. But don't ask to have anything built to your needs. He's got a walleye model a bass model a panfish model a musky model etc. If your lucky he might let you change the thread color. Again they will try and play the angle of how your getting a "custom rod" and in this case for only a bit more than a store bought rod.

Now what seems to be lacking is the how can I make you a rod that fits your needs as close as possible with available components. Question is does that guy not exist because no one thinks there is a demand. Or has it been tried and not enough people sought out their services.

Seems like a lot of people want a custom rod to say they have a custom rod. However what they consider a custom is far from it. So they are more than happy with the first three options.

I got to do some thinking on this. All the replies have helped. I know a market can be created for the type of rods I build. Just wonder if I can do it in my area or if it is even worth the trouble.

Finally I am in no way knocking decorative wraps. I have a to of respect for those that take the time to do decorative wraps. I am amazed by some of the work I have seen. However I am of the mindset of if it does not enhance performance way do it. Just my preference is all. Kinda of like setting your truck up with all the performance parts and offroad equipment to get back in the the middle of nowhere. Then you put a fancy paint job on it.

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Re: ? For Those Selling Rods in Regards to Decorative Wraps
Posted by: Billy Vivona (---.nycmny.fios.verizon.net)
Date: May 22, 2021 06:52AM

Michael Sutheimer Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> . Kinda of like setting your truck up with all the performance parts and offroad equipment to get back in the the
> middle of nowhere. Then you put a fancy paint job on it.

DO you know why people do this? People they like it, and they can afford to. Most rodbuilders are cheap and narrow-minded, and they assume the rest of the world thinks like they do. SO they are incapable of reaching customers outside of what there own preferences.

A "performance" based rod is the easiest thing to build. The manufacturers have put a lot of effort into making it as easy as possible for a newb to build a high performance rod on their first attempt. Buy the parts, put the guides here and assemble it, then sell it for less than a comparable factory rod.

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Re: ? For Those Selling Rods in Regards to Decorative Wraps
Posted by: David Boyle (---.rcmdva.fios.verizon.net)
Date: May 22, 2021 08:10AM

Does it have to be all or nothing? And where is your comfort zone?
Maybe a strategy is to start selling and see what works. You might be surprised and find a niche that is not currently filled.
Personally I like the “build it and they will come” approach.

Dave

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Re: ? For Those Selling Rods in Regards to Decorative Wraps
Posted by: Russell Brunt (---.lightspeed.miamfl.sbcglobal.net)
Date: May 22, 2021 08:13AM

Billy, I'm curious. Do you think you would have the same level of customer demand if you lived in the middle of the country and could only reach a fresh water bass market?

In many areas the term custom implies "made to fit". It could be shoes, or a suit. It could be golf clubs or the fit of the stock/grips on a firearm. I would be interested to know if any of you do any "measuring" of the customer. What about ways to meet the needs of someone with a physical limitation?

Tom's comments have me thinking. There are some rod blanks that I like for my waters that an angler would never see at the local tackle store. I also agree that if one were to buy a finished rod built on said blanks the grips, and perhaps hardware, wouldn't be optimum for my waters.

Russ in Hollywood, FL.

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Re: ? For Those Selling Rods in Regards to Decorative Wraps
Posted by: Billy Vivona (---.nycmny.fios.verizon.net)
Date: May 22, 2021 08:25AM

20 years ago was there a demand for $100 swimbaits and handpainted Japanese lures to catch Bass? There is always a makrket out there for high quality artwork (not just fishign rods). As a builder you first have to be at a level where your work is truly high quality, not fanny patting internet buddy high quality. And second you have to have a platform to reach that market and effectively prmote and market yourself to it. THere was no demand here until I created one, and it has taken a very loing time for it to blossom.

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