2017 - The Prequel
I’m sitting here on the last day of 2017 and find myself looking back on the first year of Mauser Fly Fishing. 2017 was a big year for me as a human being, one of discovery, discipline, growth, joy and anxiety. Launching Mauser Fly Fishing has been one of the hardest and most humbling experiences of my life, and at the same time, one of the most exciting things I’ve ever done.
For those of you who may not be in the inner circle of what’s been happening with the company, I’ll let you in on some info about us and how we came to be. In 2016, 15 years into a career that no longer afforded the growth or fulfilment that it once did, I decided to pursue something that I really loved. I decided to take something that I thought about daily, and grow into a company. It’s really a turning point when you make the call to start a venture as big as this. When you start a company without huge financial backing, you take on the responsibility of the fact that you will work non-stop without paying yourself for a long time before you make a name for yourself. When you start, there’s no crystal ball, or time machine, that you can use to predict the future. Everything you put your heart, soul, blood, sweat and tears into is based on one thing…Faith. In 2016, even if only in the mind’s eye, Mauser Fly Fishing was born. That year was spent researching, testing, researching more, testing even more, and praying a whole lot about this company.
By the new year of 2017, we were ready to roll. Mauser Fly Fishing LLC was legally formed that first month, and the start-up of our company went into effect. There are a lot of fly rod companies in the market, I see a new one pop up every month. In the year before we formed, a decision was made on what type of company we would be, and how we would stand out against the rest. A vast majority of fly rods are made overseas, the most affordable in China, and the mid-priced ones in Korea. The higher priced rods are made here in the USA. Price difference comes down to material and labor costs. I have cast a lot of rods made overseas, most of which are really good. But after researching every avenue, it was a no brainer personally for me that this company would be based off an American made product. I knew we could easily ensure top quality parts and craftsmanship, and support our local economy by building American made rods. It’s not easy coming into the market with a premium fly rod that fetches a higher sales price, but we wanted the company to grow its reputation based on making the best fly rods possible. Our goal was, and is, for someone to pick up and cast one of our products and for them to be completely floored with it’s quality and performance. We could have easily had our rods built overseas and had our logo put on them, but we are extremely proud that every single Mauser rod is built by hand right here in North Carolina.
Having world class rods is just the foundation for what we plan to do, from there we will build our brand based on trust and amazing customer service. We don’t want “customers”, we want “friends” that purchase our products. We don’t want “guides and ambassadors”, we want “family members” that promote our brand.
There’s a whole lot more to running a rod company than producing rods. Marketing, website design, social media, taxes, trade shows, ordering, shipping, website design, blog posts (wink, wink), it never ends. It’s a full-time job-and-a-half just getting started. Speaking of blog posts, our blog came about from our desire to give anglers more value than they are paying for. That didn’t mean discounting the price of products, but it meant giving extra value to the sport and helping grow it. For now, this means educational and entertaining blog posts whether you are a customer of ours or not. Peaking into the future, it will mean fly fishing classes, destination trips, and supporting fly fishing non-profits. Running a company is not for the faint of heart, but this is our obsession and you can trust that we will be here for a long time to come.
Before the first Mauser Waterman rods went into production, we were “doing work” with the final prototypes. It’s not enough to have a great looking and casting rod, it must be able to withstand the constant abuse of harsh environments, big fast fish, and the rigors of fishing guide use. Our Waterman prototypes saw Bonefish in the Florida Keys, monster Largemouth on golf course ponds, tailing Redfish on the spartina flats, Rainbow Trout in the National Parks, and 40mph Albacore in the Atlantic. What we experienced was performance without a hiccup, if it had been anything less, the public would have never seen the rod come to market.
When we designed these rods, we sought out and built relationships with the best and most trusted component manufacturers to have each part built for us. All good things take time, and by the beginning of this past Fall, we were building our first production rods for the public. Many, and I mean many nights, were spent until 2 or 3am working on fly rods or web site updates. Again, it’s not for the faint of heart, but any less dedication and this company would not have come to fruition. We held off on going live with the sales page of our website until we had plenty of rods in stock. We went live with our shopping page the first of December, and the following day, we set up for our first trade show at the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Show.
So now, as I sit and watch the final sunset of 2017, I can’t wait for 2018 and all the work that we are getting ready to put in. I call 2017 the “Prequel”, because although it was our first official year in business, we were just laying the groundwork, the big stuff starts in 2018. We look forward to building great relationships with all of you in the coming year, whether you buy a rod or not. Even if it’s just by you reading our blog, chatting with us at a trade show, or running into us out on the water. We have huge plans for not just growing this company, but for growing the sport of fly fishing. No matter where we go from here, I can promise that we will always be led by the spirit that started this company, and the love we have for serving and growing others!
We wish you all the best in the coming year. Dream big. Live deliberately. Enjoy the adventure.
Owner, Mauser Fly Fishing
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