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Vodkaman

Mass Production

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I am posting this in ‘hard baits’ because that is what I do, and the production processes are a lot more involved than for softies. I don’t recall a post on this subject for cranks in the past, and this is certainly not based on personal experience, purely hypothetical.

You invent a new lure and Wallmart or some other outlet like it, and want 10,000 units per month.

What would you do?

Have you ever thought about it?

What numbers could you achieve as a one man operation?

How many employees for a BIG order.

Personally, yes I have thought about it, although I have never sold a single lure in my life, and I have a plan. I am just interested about what others think, and perhaps personal experiences. This could be an interesting topic, as we all have thought about the BIG time at some point in our lure building endeavors.

Dave

Edited by Vodkaman

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I have sold lures and flies on a small word of mouth level for a long time to small tackle shops or guides. My hard baits have been kept amongst friends and family. I have debated on stepping it up a little but never put much thought into mass production 

Presently I don’t have a plan for mass production but I have business experience and some interesting friends to call on if I find myself on that path 

Right now I am more focused on perfecting a few designs 

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I grew up in a small business family.  As an adult, I chose a different career, mostly because of the hard business lessons I learned at my Dad’s knee.  Some guys are interested in building baits as a business.  Some of them can build great baits consistently in single or small batches. But very few are able to scale up their production, keep the quality as good as it was as a hobby, and most importantly, run the operation as a profitable business.  And if they manage to do it, many find that being an 80 hour a week slave to production schedules and dealing with feckless suppliers and irrational customers is not the dream they envisioned.  If you can cheerfully do that, I salute your guts and initiative and wish you the best of luck.

Edited by BobP
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Like Bob said, making baits for sale is a really hard hustle, and I wouldn't want to invest my time and money in learning the large scale ropes.

If I had a firm order for 10,000 a month from Walmart, I would approach several large commercial bait makers, and see if they would buy me out.  I would keep my ability to make that bait for myself only, or as gifts to friends.

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29 minutes ago, BobP said:

I grew up in a small business family.  As an adult, I chose a different career, mostly because of the hard business lessons I learned at my Dad’s knee.  Some guys are interested in building baits as a business.  Some of them can build great baits consistently in single or small batches. But very few are able to scale up their production, keep the quality as good as it was as a hobby, and most importantly, run the operation as a profitable business.  And if they manage to do it, many find that being an 80 hour a week slave to production schedules and dealing with feckless suppliers and irrational customers is not the dream they envisioned.  If you can cheerfully do that, I salute your guts and initiative and wish you the best of luck.

I agree with your statement and would add that many would have a hard time making it profitable if they had to add employees. There is a lot more to it than being able to produce a good lure.

Marketing is the next biggest issue just below production and it is a make or break to success. I actually watched a Canadian lure launch under the designer and fall. He sold out the design/business years later to a man with good marketing skills and its now a success and expanded into a brand 

In my honest opinion most of the lures on the commercial market are OK at best but between cost effective production and good marketing to make fishermen think their lures are revolutionary must have to catch fish 

 

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Yes, HUGE problems to be encountered. But, I am tackling some of these problems right now, before I even have a lure in my hand. As you probably know, I am working on a twelve year old project, trying to recreate something that I saw but was never able to reproduce.

Just in case the lure works and becomes popular, I have decided to prototype using injection techniques. The chosen material is polyester resin. Not an ideal material in itself, but it does have a density very close to polycarbonate. So, the hollow injection design should flawlessly transfer over to a high production situation, which I can get done locally.

Initially, I have worked out that I could actually produce 40 units per day just by myself, that is 800 per month based on 20 days. I can train a small team, paying them above average salary, and easily hit the 10Kpm target, and this is just using home made injection techniques.

Of course, I fall flat on my face when it comes to marketing and all the rest of the problems given my remote location.

First I need the lure. If it works how I expect it to then anglers are going to want to see this beast. I have taken delivery of the first prototype mold master. There are a lot of problems with it; the vents failed to print. Also, modeling on the computer looks a lot different when you get the results in your hand. I am already working on No2 before I have even poured No1.

Dave

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Wayne - correct, HUGE difference. The average published salary is US$280 per month. This would support a family of children and parents. I can pay US$500 in a kampung (village) environment were even $100 would be considered good money.

I love this country and love the people. I have lived here for 22 years, and it would be marvelous to introduce a cottage industry in the kampung. My brother in law is often out of work, and even when he has employment, it usually involves having to travel to Jakarta for the job, 4 hours away, and then he is lucky to clear $150 for his efforts, for his wife and two kids.

I am not trying to lay a sob story on you, but to me it would be very cool to help a few families like this one.

Dave

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Here is a story, but not of the sob kind:

About 5 years ago I hit hard times. My UK rent income stopped just as my rent was due here and I lost my house. I had to move into MIL's house, and I was no longer the 'golden boy' and she treated me badly, despite the fact that I actually built the house.

At my absolute lowest point in my life, brother in law came over, dug up a few roots from the garden and made me some soup.

A year later when my situation had recovered, I placed a stack of 50,000,000Rp on his roofless kitchen table. He was struggling to build his house with his meager income and only had the walls half built on his plot of land. Three months later the house was completed. Just because he made me a bowl of soup - that felt good :)

Dave

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Production costs in western Canada are brutal. Truth of the matter is I would also need to switch to more productive methods as well. Myself when it comes to selling lures or flies that I do I focus on building/tying for fish species that command highest prices/profit per sale.  There is lures/flies that I can make but the profit margins the market will allow are too low so I don’t 

Completely respect where you’re coming from with wanting to provide something positive to your community.

As for marketing it is easier issue than it might seem but it takes the right personality and good connection help. There is certain markets I just would not attempt myself 

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I am hoping to ride TU's reputation as the biggest gathering of lure building knowledge and expertise, but that is a long shot for sure.

Perhaps I should offer up the cottage industry to aspiring lure builders, as an alternative to China for production :)

Dave

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Need to find away to get fishermen talking is the trick. I played a bit of a roll in the lure that was re launched that I mentioned in my earlier post. I actually had to get the fish to bite the lure for underwater footage because he sucked as a fisherman :lolhuh:

If you reach the point of marketing and considering Canada I can offer the small amount of knowledge I have 

As for your cottage industry if I ever reach the point on needing real production I will keep you in mind. Right now I would be happy enough if I could step things up beyond extra pocket change 

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Long before production becomes an issue, I will be sending out lures for testing. I will obviously test fish extensively here, but there are no LMB in Indonesia.

Dave

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I am no help with the bass market. We do have them in western Canada and nice ones but they are often viewed as an invasive pest. I will fish them at times in southern BC but it’s not popular. 

Bass tackle is a huge market but also the most competitive. Will be a tough go hear in my opinion but if you pull it off it could be good 

 

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Voodoo - So, what do you need. Are you thinking esox?

I can do that. But at the end of the day, this is a shallow swimmer only. You are not going to be bashing rocks 20' down with this lure.

Dave

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BC best potential market for lure style you are working on would be Lake trout, bull trout, and large predatory rainbows. Depth is really not an issue because it is common to use down riggers, trolling weights, and other tricks to get down to the depths between 50-200ft. Nothing dives to the depths these fish are targeted without help. Crankbaits are harder to break into the market because the fishing culture is more prone to spoons or plugs like Tomics and flatfish but some crankbaits are taking hold 

Alberta you now add pike, walleye, and brown trout to the species I listed for BC. Alberta’s fishing culture already commonly uses crankbaits.

This is the part of the country I know best

In Canada lake trout, pike, and walleye are found across the country and popular species. Different trout species as well but popularity varies. Bass are still popular in eastern Canada where they are more common 

With the rough idea I have on the lure your working on potential beyond bass is possible just by adjusting the size and popular colours. 

Don’t mind my overthinking it’s a bad habit of mine :?

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Dave,

 

The original question was what would you do if a big company wanted 10k baits a month. Nice problem to have I guess, but the only option for most of us would be either:

 

A) Outsource to someplace with cheap labor like China, Vietnam or in your case Indonesia. Your plan sounds like essentially you are outsourcing to yourself. Nice thing about that would be you would be there for quality control.

B ) Sell your bait to an established company.

 

I believe RAD lures actually did both with the Chatterbait. They got more orders than they could handle, so outsourced to Vietnam (GLC if I remember correctly), then eventually sold out to Z Man. Of course they had a patent which helped.

 

The marketing, etc. issues are very real, as is distribution, etc. but the premise was you already have a 10k/Month order.

 

Now if one were independently wealthy, or slowly built up the business, one might ramp up production and tooling. But this wouldn’t help with sudden large orders like if your bait won a major tournament.

 

Craig

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Clemmy - that is about what I thought.

Outsourcing would have a significant ramp-up time, and of course, the chances of the outsourced injection bait matching your original's action are remote. Your comment on quality control is spot on, and one of the BIG reasons that I would not go to China.

By assembling units with my own team, I control the incentives. The China company incentives will be based on speed and NOT quality. Of course, I am in a very fortunate position to be able to assemble a team and train them myself at do-able costs, and keep a tight control on quality.

The problem with the China bait; is that the wood prototype has to be redesigned in a hollow plastic form. BUT, to get it to work the same, the COG has to be in the same place. It is this step that the manufacturer will skip. You may just get lucky.

Dave

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Dave

Living in Indonesia your labor will be very competitive with China. Stick with your town,  better control of product. Its all in the marketing of the product. My best to you.

Wayne

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What would you do?

I would not be able to keep up with that demand so I would either have to decline the order or look for ways to ramp up production.

Have you ever thought about it?

I have not thought about it enough to have a plan.

What numbers could you achieve as a one man operation?

I am not sure yet. I am always trying to be more efficient and keep quality where I want it. Right now it is only my wife and I working on our lure business part time since we both have full time jobs. I haven't really did a time study that is accurate yet.

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On 7/2/2019 at 12:02 AM, Vodkaman said:

Clemmy - that is about what I thought.

Outsourcing would have a significant ramp-up time, and of course, the chances of the outsourced injection bait matching your original's action are remote. Your comment on quality control is spot on, and one of the BIG reasons that I would not go to China.

By assembling units with my own team, I control the incentives. The China company incentives will be based on speed and NOT quality. Of course, I am in a very fortunate position to be able to assemble a team and train them myself at do-able costs, and keep a tight control on quality.

The problem with the China bait; is that the wood prototype has to be redesigned in a hollow plastic form. BUT, to get it to work the same, the COG has to be in the same place. It is this step that the manufacturer will skip. You may just get lucky.

Dave

Dave,

 

Don’t forget it’s not just the COG, but the distribution. 20 grams at each end of a bait (or in whatever axis) would be a lot different than 40 grams near the COG.

 

Craig

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Clemmy - indeed. This is the problem of digitizing from a wood prototype to a hollow plastic model.

It can be done, but all the Chinese designer is going to do is reproduce the externals; lip, body, eye positions and everything visible, and will call it job done.

Personally, I would model the internals and externals in the same materials, calculate the buoyancy and COG and COF positions. I would then duplicate the model using the plastic materials, hollow it out, keeping the ballast locations, and adjust the air pocket(s) until I can closely mimic the COG, COF and buoyancy.

However, this is not easy and can take a lot of time, way longer than starting from scratch.

I have worked for three of car companies that wanted us to 'reverse engineer' an existing vehicle. The first time here in Indonesia were they bought 50 cars to cut up, the second time in Malaysia were Toyota gave us a set of bad microfilms to model from. The third time was in China and I left the job, refusing to go down that road again.

I have worked on cars from scratch, a blank screen, and it is way easier and quicker. It is the same with lure design, which is why I am designing a hollow lure from scratch. No reverse engineering required if successful.

I have given this a lot of thought; if this project is successful, I will offer a reverse engineering and mass production service, and put it in the classifieds, but don't expect $1 blanks, ain't going to happen :)

Dave

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There have been a lot of great concerns expressed here, and great answers.  What has impressed me is that no one has over promised anything.

I think Larry Dahlberg could be asked about outsourcing lures. 

His Wopper Plopper is copied by almost every company now, and the common thread is China.  Even if you get a design that they make right, it likley will be copied, altered slightly, then sold at half the cost.

His Wide Glide was so inconsistent from the lure maker that it is no longer in production.  I still have two that were right, and they catch everything from Brown Trout, to Large and Small Mouth Bass, to Pike and Muskie.  I hope I never loose one or I will be "reverse engineering" them myself.

His Mr. Wiggly is another fantastic lure, even easy to make your own version of, but somehow China could not get it right/consistent.

On a side note, I am actually the Fishing Manager of a store for a US Chain of outdoor stores.  I know that if we can't get a commitment, and follow through, for sufficient product, we drop the manufacture.  It seems harsh, but having empty shelves cost money.  So, what if you tool up and then can't supply the "X" items per month/year?

I made up a batch of one of mine, for myself, family, friends, and my wife saw them when I was out of town.  She sold them on Ebay for $50 a piece.  She said, see, you can make money on them.  Perhaps, but if she reads this thread, she will think twice about it.

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