Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Are women changing the chicken farming world?

For those of you that have been living under a rock the past six months or so, I wanted to fill you in on a little phenomenon that has been spreading across the country…fly shops…and the fly tying world.  It’s “Hackle Hair”. For some reason feather crazed women all over the country have decided that the use of high quality hackle makes for the ultimate hair accessory.
What ever floats your boat I guess...

In the past two months, I’ve had the opportunity to talk to and or visit nearly 60 fly shops all across the country and all have said the same thing…”Women are crazy!!” Hackle seeking ladies seem to be doing whatever it takes to get some premium grizzly in their hair…and paying top dollar in every shop on the planet.   
Rumors have been flying all over the place about the owners of Metz, Whiting and all the others trying to hide for days on end, just to get away from the out of control salon owners trying to place orders of ungodly amounts of our favorite dry fly feathers, and stopping at nothing to do so. I’ve talked to shops that have taken the prices off all their floor merch, so they can charge the ladies double or more. And they pay it! No questions asked. Guys are even breaking into their old boxes of unused hackle, and tying up small bundles of 5 or 6 feathers, and letting the ladies get into bidding wars on ebay as the price goes up and up!
The new variety pack?

Are you kidding me!!

Here is a good write up from the boys over at Angling Trade, and some of their thoughts on this recent trend, and a few quotes form the lady who started it….
Not being a shop employee, or doing any retail, I was a bit out of the loop with what was going on in person with the ladies, until recently. I was at work the other day when my (non-fly fishing) phone rang. I answered sayin “Hi this is Matt…”, she replied with “Do you have any grizzly hackle you can sell me?”. I laughed a little on the phone and very politely told her I didn’t and that I don’t do any retail. I then asked how she got my (work) number and she replied that she looked me up online. When I started to ask her details about if they were for a salon, or personal use, and told her that I knew a little bit about the background of the hackle craze…I soon realized that she had hung up on me! Haha.
Run while you still can!!

Found this nice little nugget over at Hatches Magazine...

So let’s see if we can sum this up a little….
-Shops are selling more hackle products that ever thought possible. At extremely high the ladies anyway… Great for fly shops all around.
-There may be a new market for the everyday chicken farmer?
The future?

-If the huge hackle manufactures can’t keep up with demand, how can shops? If shops can’t keep up with demand, where will get our premium hackle? If we can’t get our premium hackle, how will we tie dries? If we can’t tie dries…well you get the point.
Although it’s too soon to tell the long term ramifications of this (hopefully) trend, we can only hope that shops continue to make a few extra bucks, and that we’ll still be seeing our premium hackle down the road.

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