The Rise of WOO! Tungsten

Transcribed below from the video found here: https://youtu.be/HQkoM75P-rw

Aaron: What’s going on man?

Jason: Not much, hey so thanks for coming! I’m super pumped for this.  You and I have known each other for a little while, not closely but we did the club thing together, we were part of the Barrie Bassmasters, I think I fished with you once or twice through the club there.

Aaron: Yeah.

Jason: And interestingly enough, I was listening to a few podcasts that actually had you on there and I laughed so hard because you actually told the story of when you and I went fishing and I think it was like, five years ago.

Aaron: Yeah.

Jason: Five years ago and you were fishing Spybaits and you told the story about how I was like, dude is that how you’re bringing your jerk-bait? 

Aaron: [laughs] Is this really jerk-baiting?

Jason: Does this guy not know what he’s doing?  What’s happening? [laughs]

Aaron: That was so good, it’s funny because anybody who fishes knows that there’s those fish that you won’t ever forget and that was one for me because I remember we were kind of plugging around out there and then all of a sudden I made a cast and I was winding a Spybait that was brand new and just carrying it through and one just stopped and you were like, oh god that is a good one, and then we caught a couple more like that and you were like, you just wind your jerk-bait so straight and slow like that?

Jason: I like how you said we, you were the only one catching them.

Aaron: Well you know, I'm just trying to being nice.

Jason: Yeah I know, I know, lets talk a little bit about you, I mean you’re a father of kids, you’re married, you got a dog and a house and of course you’re apart of this WOO Tungsten which is one of the fastest growing fishing brands out there, but on top of that, there’s other stuff that people don’t know about you too, like I mean I’m pretty sure you’re the CEO of another company, there’s stuff about you that we don’t know so for people that don’t know you, can we give them a little synapsis on who Aaron Anders is?

Aaron: Yeah, 100% I mean there’s a lot going on there, it’s 100% right, I’ve got two little boys, right now we have a two-year-old and a three-year-old so things are a little chaotic.  I am incredibly fortunate that my wife can read to them, put them to bed, I don’t have to worry about it, I can sit here and be quiet with you, it’s kind of nice. 

WOO’s been amazing, I have fished all my life and WOO for me honestly is with kids and just like chop your life, it’s been my way to go elbows deep into the industry, like I don’t get to spend as much time on the water and I knew that was coming, so for me this is the way that I get to be in it all the time, like we couldn’t be out on the water right now but we can sit here and we can talk fishing and if it wasn’t for WOO, you and I wouldn’t be sitting here talking fishing right now so that’s been a huge piece of why that’s there. 

 

I run another company called College Pro and most people have heard of College Pro, student window cleaning and painting so I oversee that business for Canada, so for me I’ve always been an entrepreneur, that’s a sexy word right now, but for me when I moved into our house in Barrie when I was like, seven I guess, we were the last sub-division of the new build and they were starting to build new houses and I would sit there and I would see the snack truck go by and time it, like what do they sell?  And they said they were selling Pop and I was like, okay how much? And I was like well wait a sec, they sell it for a buck but it’s like 25 cents in the store so what if I sold it for 50 cents and drag the cooler behind and do it three times a day and my mum would have to go to the store and keep getting Pop and Pop and Pop because I knew if I buy it for three bucks then I can go profit and sell it for seven or eight bucks and I can do this over and over and over again, so it’s always kind of been in me and fishings always been in me so it kind of came together in a really cool way about four years ago and became constant. 

 

So, you and I got a chance to spend time on the water, I love it, that’s what I think about when I’m falling asleep, like if I’m driving to work and I’m like, man the wind is so flat or it smells like the middle of May when you get that smell in the morning, I’m like it’s probably good pike bite, it’s so in me but I’m in the child part of my life right now that I’m really enjoying but is also keeping me off the water, so for me that’s where WOO is, but yeah so that’s a bit about me.  I grew up here, grew up local and I’m super fortunate to be near one of the best fisheries in the world - Simcoe - where I can go try and catch some small mouth, have a manual down rigger at the back in my bass boat, pull it out of a rod locker and go catch a lake trout.

Jason: That’s true, yeah.

Aaron: Like 300 yards from where we just worked so I think it’s just super fortunate coming together with all the different things that I love today and I’m here today so we’ll just see how it goes!

Jason: Awesome, awesome.  I have to ask though, because you’re a fisherman and you have one of the top tungsten and brands in the world, how often is WOO stuff tested in Lake Simcoe before it hits the product shelfs?

Aaron: Well I mean, not very often, I mean the ned was crazy and the balance on that thing had to be perfect.  The swim bait hook actually was in Cooch for a bit right, tungsten swim bait, shallow water making sure it came through true, especially with the smaller hooks and the heavier weights, had to get that one proper.  So definitely for a bit but then there’s again a drop shot weight.

Jason: Sure, sure I’m thinking, I’m the first guy to throw this bait in Lake Simcoe because I got it first so, no sorry, Aaron’s already done it.

Aaron: In the north end, maybe in different parts of the lake but the north end they’ve seen it a few times.

Jason: Nice, nice.  So, let's start it from the very very beginning, let's talk about WOO before it was WOO, so I mean if I understand correct and I could be wrong here, WOO was an existing brand that you had purchased or was this something that came out of nowhere and you just said, I’m going to do a Tungsten brand and this is it?

Aaron: Yeah, it’s the second piece.  So, I was getting really sick of getting bit off by pike in cooch and G Pool and all the lakes up this way right, so you’re flipping and you feel a thunk and you get halfway through setting the hook and there’s nothing there, so it was kind of that but it was about, WOO started in 2016 so Tungsten, I wouldn’t say it was just starting but it had been around for a while but it was just starting to come more mainstream where you could see it and I started flipping with it year before and especially late in the year before where I started to flip a three quarter ounce and one ounce weight and the difference was unbelievable and I was like, woah this is different and still to this day the biggest question that we get asked all the time is why Tungsten, why would I bother spending the extra money on Tungsten, and for me, that summer before, I learned 100% why. 

So, I started looking for a Tungsten sponsor to work with - a Tungsten company and then it kind of clicked, well if I am, I bet a lot of other people are to.  So, we started actually looking for a manufacturing partner and then kind of worked our way through it that way, so really the pike in similar lakes up here are the reason it exists right now, but yeah, we started just straight out and I’ve got a great partner in Chris, the guy I used to do fish tournaments with all the time, he’s in the US right so he’s actually on the west coast.  It works for Canada and the US and a lot of other things that we do but it started out of the frustration of the seven dollar lip ring that a pike would be swimming around with after biting at a Texas Rig.

Jason: That’s awesome, awesome.  So, anytime we catch a pike we can just quickly say thank you before we release it.

Aaron: Yeah, just give him a little tap on the head.  Probably needs to be a five, six pound pike right now, but it could’ve been that one.

Jason: That’s awesome, that’s awesome, I didn’t know that.  See I was under the impression it was an existing company that you had purchased so that’s interesting, very cool.  So, from the time that you decided to make it to the time that you were actually in full production, what kind of timeline are we looking at because you said it was 2016 and I think probably that same year right?

Aaron: Yeah, it was the same year, we found our manufacturer and we started with flipping drop shot weights so the manufacturer was the manufacturer, right they were something that had a relatively existing product that we tweaked which doesn’t take very long.  So, adding some things like stamping a size on the side and just adding some tweaks to it made it really really simple, so when we first launched the site that was literally all we had, was flipping weights and drop shot weights and then we added nail weights because that was a relatively easy one to and then we’ve started kind of going down the path of building products which ridiculously takes something along the lines of 18 to 24 months, that was one of the things that just blew my mind because initially it was so easy and that’s the thing that I think the biggest part of the industry as a while now, it’s actually not that challenging to go start a fishing company right now, the world got really small, especially in 2020.  The brand honours, so things like that we get, there’s a lot of smaller Tungsten companies that are popping out which is awesome, like honestly I get asked every once in a while if that is something that bothers me and it’s not, it’s awesome like I hope somebody else is out there being able to get themselves more into fishing like I did as a part of it, like I was into it on the water but I’ve been able to get into it in a different way but things like customer service and dealing with things like USPS right now in the US and all of those things, it’s an inventory company which means if you’re predicting that you’re going to be bigger in eight weeks to twelve weeks from now, you got to bring in inventory more than you currently have which means the cash flow that you’re generating now is all going into future inventory to grow your inventory asset otherwise you’re going to run out.  So, it’s that thing, it’s like you’re going to wanna recite nothing, I shouldn’t say not going to want to, one sku out of stock, but we have 450 sku's total and we’ve got one that we’re out of stock on right now but that type of thing and being able to cash flow it in a way that allows it to carry the inventory predictions and again like I said, customer service, you can imagine the number of DMs that we get, we have a text message platform that’s legitimately me and my thumbs.  So, I’ll send one out tomorrow if anyone’s apart of our text message platform, that's me and I’m going to have four hours an afternoon blocked off because I’m on vacation from my day job.  Right, like to sit there and write back to people and tomorrow we’re just going to wish everybody a merry Christmas and thanks for being a part in 2020.  So, all those extra things, dealing with pros and pro contracts and so on.  He’s someone we work with, a great great dude but it’s not that easy to put together a contract that works for both people, especially when you’re trying to have this cash flow thing that’s happening and we’re moving into retail which is a whole different world, especially the big retailers in the US and just all sorts of different things that come with the business side, so I think it’s been an interesting progression and I’m super fortunate and thankful that I’ve had a lot of other different business experiences to be able to set a foundation, but when we got into it, that first six months was the easiest six months, some people think it’s the hardest six months.

Jason: Really?

Aaron: Woah, by far.  You think of a 17-year-old kid can get into way more trouble than a 17-month-old kid, that’s kind of where we’re at right now, our initial order, like we’d order 1000 pieces as an initial test order to work with our manufacturer and we thought that was insane and we went through, sold 9000 units on black Friday so 30,000 pieces in 36 hours so it’s just a different beast, when you’re dealing with retail, they’re fantastic partners, no issues there, but some of the bigger partners like you’ve got a whole bunch of dollars outstanding and covid rips through and you go bankrupt, you’d have a big problem.

Jason: Hell yeah, yeah.

Aaron: Like that’s different then just selling some weights at your bass club or being a dropshot and flipping weight direct to consumer companies, so again, I say that I was on both sides, like I love it there, I don’t love competition I want to win.

Jason: Sure, of course.

Aaron: But 100%, whoever wants in, come play and then it just takes that time to be able to withstand it and it gets harder not easier, in my experience at least, I don’t know but in my experience, it gets harder as the business gets bigger because you’ve got more stuff to handle, more noise, we get a lot more DMs at 1700,000 followers than we did when we had 170,000 followers.

Jason: I bet.

Aaron: So, we want to get back to that, we don’t want to be a faceless whatever brand.  Yeah, I mean it’s been an interesting, as you said, growth period as to how it kind of has become over the last four years.

Jason: Yeah, that’s pretty huge and I know just from the small business that I have, the experience of just trying to keep sku's in stock for me is so difficult and to hear that you only have one out of stock, I’m a little angry about myself for not keeping up, but so when you first started, did you have anything, you were pushing the brand before you had the products, so were you creating hype?  You know, I see a lot of guys and for the guys listening, this is for people that you say, want to start their own small company or maybe even fishermen trying to create a brand for themselves out there for lets say, sponsors or something like that.  Creating the hype for WOO because, looking back at 2016, what is that, four years if I’m doing my math right.  Like that’s not a long time and for when you hear about companies, they say if understand the saying properly, if you make it five years, you’re good, like that’s you’re starting and you’re good right?  But you’re not just making it in five years, you’ve concord a lot in four years, so I’m curious on what that looks like for you to build that company and I want to look at it from a social media perspective because I think that would really help our guys here, what did you do that maybe could help these guys build that audience?  Like you said, you have 100 and some what thousand people on your Instagram in four years, like that’s huge.

Aaron: I mean I wish it was easy, one, I mean it was funny that you said four years, like yeah it doesn’t sound like long, so a lot of people, if they’re on there for four months and they haven’t hit 10,000 followers, it’s like game over and you lose interest, so I think that’s a big thing, that’s number one.  It’s like consistent, also if we stopped engaging with our community now, it would go backwards, it’s like going to the gym, you got to stay with it, you don’t just get fit and you’re good.  The other thing that I think about a lot, that I’m thinking about a lot right now is what if Instagram goes away, like I don’t know.  What if our account gets hacked?  It can go away, so for us, one of the biggest things that we’ve tried to do is create a community and I think we did that from the beginning, we started actually building the WOO Instagram before we introduced a product, that’s what I kind of thought we had to do, I was like, if we can’t build a community, I didn’t want to be just like, and again I don’t mean this in any negative way but I didn’t just want to be a guy selling Tungsten weights out of my trunk at clubbies.  There was no point, I would of just rather bought them at that point.  So, if we want to build a business I was like, we’ve got to build a community, that’s what was in my head, so we did and we did it by featuring other people.  Some people call it a repost account, that was a big thing and sure but I think that people think that we took that super seriously, so what it taught me really really quickly is that I was like, woah it’s like social media, right, like it’s not posting your highlight reel, it’s social media meaning that it’s media, so everyone needs an understanding of a media company that’s what you do.  Right, you and I are in content right now in the media so like that means it has to be good or no one’s going to care so to me it’s either educational or it’s entertaining and if it can be both, amazing.  But for us right now I don’t know where we fit, maybe it’s a little educational, hopefully it’s a little entertaining, I don’t, you’re at least a good-looking guy you know, see how it goes.  But like we took it super seriously that we were a media company and we weren’t just like screenshotting and posting, we wanted to give credit, we gave our thoughts on the post, it was very intentionally, it still is very intentional.  We use our stories a lot right now because we can’t use our feed so that was a big transition for us was that our feed is basically our marketing right now so we get DMd a ton of pictures, I mean like 1000’s, and we can’t put them in, you couldn’t put any picture in a magazine, you’ve got to know what’s going to work right, a TV network for better, you can’t just throw any show on, you got to put something that people are going to watch but with the feed, we use the feed to feature people all the time, as much as we possibly can, so like for us when I say media, we’re really intentional with the media but the social side was not just posting, it was reposting theirs, giving our genuine thoughts, not just, I’m going to put it out there a little bit, but then we were going to engage in other stuff because I actually care, our Instagram is on my phone and my partner Chris, it’s on his phone, that’s who runs our stuff, we do have a few other people that help us with DMs because it was important for us to continue to get back to people, but it’s the media side, so you’re content has to be good, it’s the social side which means it’s not about you, it’s about the people that are watching it, that’s all that matters.  So, I think that that’s a huge distinction right, so I actually separate it like I have my personal, it’s me Aaron Andrews and if you look at that, that’s just from me, that’s me.  So, they can scroll through it in 10 years with pictures of my kids and those things that you remember like whatever, I don’t expect anything from that.  When I’m in our business, it’s about everyone else, it does have to like I said, I do think about it like us, the post can’t underperform because it will hurt us, but what it needs to do is it needs to be something that’s entertaining to you, that’s the filter it goes through.

Jason: Sure, sure.

Aaron: That’s what has to happen and so when there’s pictures of our products, we’re actually trying to showcase our products in a way that’s entertaining to someone else or educational to someone else versus just an advertisement for ourselves and we do it all day, every day for four years,

Jason: And that’s hard, that’s hard.

Aaron: It is, it’s tuff and it’s work and as I said, we do have a couple of other people that we’ve brought in but they’re people we know that love fishing that’ll sometimes help us with some posts or some thoughts or if they see some stuff, they’re kind of like our extra eyes because again, we have a whole bunch of other stuff, we’ve got the same thing, so our pro staff, our director pro staff was me for two years, every pro staff application that came through, I read it, I dealt with it, I either accepted or rejected but then at that point as I was saying, customer service and some of these other things with inventory were taking up a ton of my time to try and predict it out, so we brought our boy Ed in.

Jason: Love Ed.

Aaron: You know Ed, Ed’s a huge part of what we’re able to because we had to put some body in to support the foundation so again, I’m telling you when you ask me, how do you consider specifically with their social media growing, that is a part you can get to, you might need to get to a point, there is a point where you can’t - we write back to everybody, someone out there, test it, send a DM, you’ll probably get a response, I shouldn’t say that now but I’m going to be in there later looking to get through it so unless someone gets missed or something gets missed, whether it’s somebody that tagged us in a story and we’re going to repost it, whether it’s somebody sending a DM and asking a question, like we are in it and we get, you can only image some of the things that we get asked.

Jason: Well, that’s what I’m trying to get because I spend a lot of time on Instagram, like a lot of time and I do the same thing that you do, I comment on posts and I share other people's posts and I get DMs myself, probably nowhere near what you’re getting, but you know, I try to reply to every single one of those and I’m doing that with a full time job, probably just like you are, but I’m probably on my phone four hours a day doing all that and you’ve already said that you block four hours off just to reply to people, is that the only amount of time that you spend on there or are you kind of off and on as well as blocking off that time?

Aaron: Both, I mean tomorrow I have it blocked out and this is what I mean like it’s actually me because I’m probably going to send a text out late morning because I’m thinking of people on the west coast in the US, I don’t want to send them a text at like 5am, that’s not right.  Even if it is just a happy text, it’s still a text at 5am.

Jason: I totally forgot about that, oh my god, so you have the Instagram thing going on as well as this text messaging thing?

Aaron: Yeah.

Jason: Wow.

Aaron: So I’ll send the text around 11, I don’t know, 11, 11:30 to see what’s going on and then from there for about the next four hours I’m probably going to let it sit for 30 minutes and let a bunch come in and then I’m going to get in there and write back to people and get back and forth, so we got to that point of volume where we did have to bring somebody in, but Instagram I’m in and out throughout the day, just like normal, I don’t have notifications on my phone, like I can’t it’ll just -

Jason: Just that constant sound.

Aaron: Just constant right, but like with still between Shopify and Instagram, all of that stuff is off, I have to be able to go in, but if I’ve got 15 minutes, I’ll go in and look, I’m in my own as much as I am probably WOO, but my own I follow everything, it’s my own Instagram right, so I follow and I see stuff and I’m like that’s interesting or I see our guys, so if I’m in my own and I see somebody that’s in WOO, I’m going to go in and comment on their stuff and sometimes I don’t even know which account I’m in, that’s kind of what I mean, it’s social, like you want to be that guy at the party that someone was like, you’re not like a celebrity going around the party but someone was like, that guy was a nice guy remember that guy?  That WOO camo hat, like we was a nice guy, I’ve seen him a few times actually right, that’s what you need to be, not the guy who's like the equivalent of the exact example of what I would say and be like how do people do that, most people would be that guy or that girl at the party that just is obnoxiously talking about themselves constantly.

Jason: And you’re not that, you’re not that though. 

Aaron: We try not to be.

Jason: You know what, when I posted that we were doing this interview, you wouldn’t believe the messages that I got, I got think RD Fishing’s on here, I think he messaged me on Instagram, I mean the constant messages there was like, oh man I love WOO, oh I love Aaron and he’s such a down to earth guy and he’s amazing and when I used to fish with Ed we used to talk about you all time because you – not in a bad way like, that damn Aaron’s catching all the fish but we used to talk about just the individual that you are and how, I don’t understand how you are so calm and put together when you’re running two companies on top of your Instagram and all the stuff, what you’re presenting is honestly what I think people are getting and it is exactly what you’re intending to put out there so just a little congrats to put out there, that’s amazing, it’s kind of like and I listen to a lot of Gary V and he’s always talking about being the nice guy, right?  He wants to prove that being the nice guy pays off, you don’t have to be a jerk in business, and you’re just another example of that which is amazing so I mean it’s not even just the brand WOO that’s so good, it really is the people that are behind WOO.

Aaron: I appreciate it and I think about it’s actually like the business, you and I have been in the boat together man, before WOO started, I’m an angler so I get it, the amount of crap I have in the room next-door, because I live in Canada and I know what it’s like to order from Tackle Warehouses and what a piss off that is, so we have some of these things here and we’re trying to do things with retailers here and we’re trying to do things because I can 100% understand what it’s like to be there because I’m there, like the first classic I ever went to, the first time I ever went to the Bassmaster Classic was three years ago after the first year of WOO, that was the first time I ever went and it was incredible so for me to go there and be there with Ed and Blair and Tom, like I’m as blown away as everyone else is because I love it that much and I’m super fortunate that we’ve been able to make some cool connections along the way to create that experience, but when I think about it like again, this is I think why – that's where I think when business people aren’t in it because they’re a fan of it if you will, I mean if I was selling soap right now it would just be dollars and numbers and a spreadsheet, for me last year we did a really cool prize at the Classic where we did a chance to ride through the Bassmaster Classic final day weigh in.

Jason: Oh my god, that would be amazing

Aaron: So basically, because we’re able to do it because we’ve got Seth and a few other people to work with, we get back stage and do a bunch of those different things and be in the boat yard and I’m checking out a guy's boat, I’m that way but we drew the winner and it was the boat of a 12-year-old kid that was able to win which was the best part.  We get him and his family in a little early to set them, make sure he gets the boat yard, we go out and grab him and his dad, go out, see a bunch of basically the top guys I mean Hank Cherry was in the boat yard who ended up winning, so they’re hanging out with Hank Cherry and whatever and talking to Seth and hanging in his boat and we got him the [UNKNOWN], I haven’t seen the [UNKNOWN] that we’ve done, he’s got a [UNKNOWN], he’s in the boat, he’s got the [UNKNOWN] rolling right and then he jumps in the back seat of Seth’s truck and rolls through weigh in and man, that was my favourite part of the Classic.

Jason: That would’ve been mine to, that’s amazing because 11 years old, he’s going to remember that for life.  That’s going to be amazing.

Aaron: But that’s the whole point of it, you know, I understand what you’re saying,  So I think you can’t manufacturer that in business, like for me, you and I were in the boat prior, like I love to fish, I love other people, I love all this stuff and it kind of has manifested its self into business where like when I think about the Classic, like we were literally a foot and a half away from Hank Cherry just after he won the Classic, he does his lap, like the video and stuff on my phone is unbelievable, it was just so cool.

Jason: I bet.

Aaron: But like what I remember is the look on that guys face and the picture that he’ll have with his dad and the fact that we were able to make that happen.

Jason: That’s amazing.

Aaron: I mean it’s a big piece of it but it comes back to as I said, the genuine love and care for the sport allows you to take joy in some of those things versus it being like a good brand moment.

Jason: Just want to make money kind of thing, yeah.

Aaron: Yeah, I appreciate you saying these kinds of things.

Jason: You don’t have to thank me, it’s all the other guys that are saying it man, I mean I do love you and the company as well but it just shocked me because I mean I talk to a lot of people online and I don’t think I’ve seen that type of love for a company before so just congrats.

Aaron: I appreciate that and a lot of people don’t realise that I’m from Canada, a lot of people don’t realise that it is an American company but I’m from here, we’re an American company again because 98% of fishing dollars happen in the US, so all the feels that we just had if you will, it is still though running a big business and running business so we set it up in the US, but I’m from here, the other thing that we hear every once in a while is the connection to Ben Woo, there is no connection to Ben Woo, on the record like absolutely none other than his last name unfortunately finds himself attached somehow to our brand.

Jason: We’ve talked a lot about Ben Woo in the past on this podcast, we will get into that again.

Aaron: As I said, I’m sure you have right, so those are the two things that I think a lot of people don’t realise I’m from here and sometimes think that our brand is connected and I understand why someone would think that.

Jason: Sure.  You’re not.

Aaron: But on the record we have no connection with the aforementioned individual.

Jason: Perfect.  We do have a question; RD Fishing is hoping that he can get a glimpse of possibly what might be planned for 2021 for WOO.  Are you able to divulge anything?

Aaron: For sure, world domination, no I mean we’ve got a lot of stuff, things that would matter to them would be, so I imagine new products so right now we have a Tokyo Rig that’s done, so that Tokyo Rig should be out probably in the first 30 days.   There is a couple things with the Tokyo Rig, so one, we did a double reinforced split ring instead of the welded o ring so that if you catch a bunch of fish, you don’t need to throw it out you can actually change the hook, it comes with a [UNKNOWN] hook, I know guys are particular about their hooks, I’m an angler I am.  So, if you want to swap out the hook, no offence, it is a [UNKNOWN] though, but if you want to swap it out you can but if you bend it out or whatever, you don’t need to just chuck the whole thing out but it’s a 50-pound test wire instead of a 25-pound test wire that would typically be in that size when ordering so it’s kind of a cool little extra bit, I’ll share it, we made a longer one as well so you have the standard two and a half, we’re going with a four and a quarter as well just like you want to change the litre length of your dropshot, we’re going to go 4 and a quarter, I say it because if another company wants to go grab that, we’re probably still going to beat them to market with that but yeah, we’re trying a bit of a longer one.  A [UNKNOWN] rig, so a [UNKNOWN] rig is getting more and more popular and I know you can assemble them, but a lot of anglers just want to open a package and use it.

Jason: Of course.

Aaron: So we’ve got our trout and dropshot weights, again a double reinforced but a much smaller split rig because we got them custom made so it’s a 20-pound but it’s really small, what you’d normally have like an eight-pound or you bend that thing open, so we’ve got the [UNKNOWN] rig, we got the [UNKNOWN] hook, that’s worth at a few different sizes so [UNKNOWN] and Tokyo probably first 60 days.

Jason: Nice.

Aaron: We’ve got a two jig, that is pretty damn close as well so I’m really hoping, really pushing to see if we can get that by May, if not May June because our window is like May, June, July, August and then it goes down.  We will launch stuff late in the year, but it kind of sucks.

Jason: Yeah, you’re not going to see the sales.

Aaron: Yeah, it just doesn’t have thing.  So [UNKNOWN] and Tokyo for sure, like literally in quarter one, really hoping we can get the two jig out for May if not, June, same thing with the swing head, so swing head we’ve been working on for a long time, that’s wicked.  It got shelfed for a while but it’s pretty close, the biggest hand up on that is the wire, so we’re having a hard time finding a smaller wire, so they’re using like a one-ounce lead, that wire into a one ounce or even a half ounce swing head, it just looks terrible, like I wouldn’t fish it so I can’t finish it so that’s kind of what’s there but once we finish the swing head, we can do a football head really easy with the same shape.

Jason: Nice.

Aaron: So, really hoping those are the ones, we’ve got an EWG ned coming, that hook took forever to get perfect because i said the weight and it’s about a nine-month manufacturer on the hook, so on the hook itself so the head will be ready when the hook’s ready but we’re probably like fall of next year on the EWG assuming things go well but fall, maybe early 2020 so Tokyo for sure [UNKNOWN] for sure, swing or two jig, I mean two jig should be unless something happens, the two jig should be fine, it’s more of a front weighted head, more like a [UNKNOWN] than it is like the [UNKNOWN] but we can get away with that with Tongsten, like its smaller when it’s round like that, it’s tough to do with lead because you can only get so much in a tube.  So even those small tubes, so the simple secret of not having the like the smaller two and a half inch.  So sorry everybody if anybody if I blew your, blew your cover on that. You should be able to still get like three eighth ounce bag in a small tube with Tungsten. So, that’s the plan, and then, what did I say, swing head, football head EWG, but the EWG is contingent on that hook being done.

Jason: Right.

Aaron: And the football head is contingent on the swing head design being done because it will use the same football, we’ll just put a hook in it.

Jason: I’m excited about those ones because those are what we drag in the fall for smallies so I’m excited about those swing head, football ones.

Aaron: Try them in July.

Jason: Yeah, okay, alright.

Aaron: Super shallow quarter ounce [INAUDIBLE] with the swing head.

Jason: There you go, there you go, tips to, fishing tips to, that’s awesome.  We’ve got a question here from KlassickJ, back to the kind of business part of it, to get yourself started what kind of and again if this is too personal, you just tell us you’re not going to answer it, but he asked, how much debt do you have to go into to make it happen?

Aaron: Not a lot, so I say that again, super open with it because there’s nothing wrong with it, it just matters how big you want to go and how fast you want to go, those are the variables, if you want to big and you want to go faster, it takes a lot more.  So, I mean we’re four years in, I don’t take money out of the company, like I don’t pull any money out of the company, period.

Jason: That’s very good.

Aaron: Like I don’t take a pay check, I don’t take anything, it’s still, I just rhymed off new products, each new product at this point to bring in the volume that we have to and do molding is about 12 to 15 grand US roughly.  So that’s a new product if I’m trying to go four or five sizes with it and bring in enough inventory to be able to withstand a first run and then a second run, that’s roughly what it is on a new product, but as I said, we were like biting our lip at bringing in 1000 pieces, so it depends on the size and all the other stuff that you’re playing with but.

Jason: So, if you brought in 1000 of them when you first started, bring in 1000 of them, let's just say you wanted to start out with – because I imagine you probably had a whole, did you have a whole arsenal of, let's say bullet heads, so we’re going to do 1000 bullet heads, 1000 quarter ounce, 1000 whatever, like is that kind of where you started?

Aaron: Yeah, yeah.

Jason: Where would that go?

Aaron: Put them into packs, like again I think it depends.  So, for us to start our business was around 10,000 Canadian, that is inventory, that is like, again, we had to build a website which I know it sounds simple but I don’t know how to do it.  I probably should’ve got you to do it but like we ended up doing the Shopify store, but I used a lot of freelancers through Upwork, like that’s how we pieced together some of the stuff that we don’t know how to do.  Like our graphics guy, Terrance, he’s an amazing guy but he’s connected to us through Upwork and we have him on our monthly retainer now and we’ve been doing whatever images and some weeks or months we don’t use him at all and then black Friday we like abuse him.  We have a great relationship with some of those things so we brought in more, I don’t know that I would go and necessarily do it any differently, but I’ve learned at this point flipping weights, eight-ounce, quarter-ounce, three-eighths and half are going to be by far the biggest sellers, I thought it would be the opposite, we thought we were going to sell a ton of ounce, ounce and a quarter, ounce and a half, two-ounce weights because we could get them cheaper, like it becomes a margin was way higher because on a Tungsten weight, if they can cut it because they come in giant bricks right, so we can melt them down into bigger pieces, it’s actually cheaper because if you think of a 16th-ounce or a two-ounces, think a two-ounce weight, they have to break that into 32 16th-ounce weights.

Jason: Interesting.

Aaron: Which is significantly more labour intensive for them, they also then need to be packaged, ours are a five pack, so they put them in six different packs so they have to put a two-ounce weight makes six packs of 16th-ounce weights, so there’s that element to it, but we thought we were going to sell way more big weights so we bought more and they’re more expensive capital wise to bring in to because of what I just said right.  You think of a two-ounce weight, now again that’s not exactly like apples to apples but like you think a two-ounce weight makes six packs of 16th-ounce weights so if we’re bringing in 50 packs of two-ounce weights, it’s the equivalent of us having brought in 300 16th-ounce weights.

Jason: Interesting.

Aaron: So, we made that mistake on the front end so quarter ounce, by far the most popular size, it doesn’t matter if it’s a flipping weight, it’s a dropshot weight, that is by far the most popular, but at this point what we’ve started at, like we have 16th, eighth, three 16ths, quarter, five 16ths, three-eight, like we’re in every vertical.  So, if someone wanted to go start something cheap, they’d bring in more popular sizes and spread them out like you can get away with eighth, quarter, three-eights, half, three quarters, one ounce, our one-ounce pack is also a two pack, if I could change it it would be a one pack but we have it set and it’s in tackle wear, it’s everywhere, for us to go from a two pack to a one pack would just be impossible.

Jason: Everybody would revolt.

Aaron: We just have so much inventory out there right now, it would just be so painful to do, but like that’s another good example where it’s like that’s our lowest margin item because if someone sees us in Tackle Warehouse as a one-ounce and we’re $14.99, someone else is $11.99, but we’re a two-pack and they’re a one-pack, we’re still a better deal, they’re not buying ours.  So, there’s that element to it, so again, call it 10 grand, like this is going to be fricken crazy debt right.  I’d say the bigger thing than money is time, do you have the time to go deal with it? and it’s again how big you want to go and how fast you want to go?  We’re eighth, quarter, three eighths and half ounce dropshots, quarter ounce is the most popular, you don’t even need eighth if you’re just starting, like people buy eighth, eighth is a good size but it’s a nice to have not a need to have.  So, you could probably get away with quarter, three eighth and half, we just bought way more half ounce because I was used to throwing it in 30 ft on Simcoe and I thought people would buy It.

Jason: Everybody would use it.

Aaron: And now so we made some mistakes, we could’ve shaved it down, but like that’s roughly it now weights are pretty simple, one sixteenth and I’ll say one sixteenth and three thirty second but also one thirty second, those three sizes you can get away with them but when you start bringing out more sizes you’ve got to bring out more inventory which creates more cash up front and cash flow as you grow but I don’t know, that would be my advice, and as I said, the bigger thing is not going to be the dollars, it’s going to be the time.

Jason: The time, the time.

Aaron: It’s going to be like the Instagram, we just talked about all that other stuff.  

Jason: Lots of time.

Aaron: Like that’s it and I guess that’s what I went back to in the beginning, I’m like that’s no secret you know what I mean, anyone can go start it, that’s why I say nothing’s off the table because I don’t think that’s the biggest issue to it, someone being, the person, I don’t remember their name but like them.  The person we’re talking about, they can go start it, I’d love to see them go do well.  Right,they're not going to impact our world I don't think and if they do that's on me.

Jason: That's actually a nice way to look at it.

Aaron: That's on me not on them, I'm not going to do anything to get in their way, the market is massive, the fishing market is fricken massive.

Jason: Oh, oh I agree.

Aaron: There's so much room for so many people but usually what happens is they'll get capped out, at can they handle the volume?  Like we get a lot of people that start to try to move to our brand and some of our pro staff stuff because of the responsory and some of the other companies are straight up running out of inventory, like it sucks to be quote on quote, sponsored by a company, that you can't get product for, you can't get ahold of.

Jason: For sure.

Aaron: So that's going to be the biggest hurdle I would think for somebody and they can get over that hurdle and for me I used to get emails that would be like, I just want thank everybody at WOO and it's literally my wife and I sitting on the couch in Orillia Ontario getting back to emails after our day jobs at 9:30pm to finish out what we need to, right?  So that's just reality, so dollars wise, 10 grand you can get your self set up really well, really really well.  Shipping in Canada sucks.

Jason: Yup.

Aaron: So you're going to have a really hard time giving free shipping in Canada so don't copy that in the US, so just disclaimer, don't copy that.

Jason: Yeah, I did that by accident to.

Aaron: Well there you go, but you wouldn't know it right, like you would just go, I don't know.  Like shipping something small in Canada is like 10 bucks, like I don't know how you ship anything, I can't figure out how to ship something in Canada.

Jason: I know.

Aaron: And in the US it's like $4 and you can ship like a fricken brick from Florida to California, like that's insane.

Jason: Yeah, it's horrible.  I think it was last Christmas I did free shipping on everything and I cried every time I got an order because I made nothing.

Aaron: Yeah, but it's learning right?
Jason: It is.

Aaron: It's all it is is learning.

Jason: 100%.

Aaron: And again, these are the things that again I know should be sharing because if I can fast track somebody to being in a place where they can make some money and be more in the industry then they are right now is fantastic.

Jason: And going back to, because you had talked about sitting on the couch, and I do this to, you're sitting on the couch with your wife and you're reading through emails and IMs and stuff like that and I know there's been a couple of times even on my side where I've kind of picked up the phone and been like, oh honey you've got to read this you know and it's just a super nice email from a customer who - like for an example from me, when I send an order, I handwrite a little note for every person that orders from me just you know, hey thanks for ordering I hope you have a ton of fun with these [UNKNOWN] or whatever, right?  And it's funny how that impacts somebody so much and I kind of want to jump back with that to kind of when you were building up your social media because I think social media will really help guys here, when you talked about creating that environment, that group of people, can you dig into a little bit about how you built that group of people, because obviously I mean you're just not - yes of course posting content is important and I've seen it myself, just before we started doing the interview here I went back on your stuff, I think a couple of months, I went all the way back to the beginning and I actually have to share the screen, I hope you guys can see it, this is your instagram from day one, day one and so we've got 44 likes and two comments, 27 likes and no comments you know, these are all just.

Aaron: This is unreal.

Jason: That's crazy aye.  So like we have all this and -

Aaron: I can't see it but I'd love to see a screenshot of that man, I'd love to see it, I have done that a long time ago.

Jason: I will send it to you and then if you jump back to the very very beginning, this is just a picture of a simple Tungsten weight, you have 862 likes and 23 comments on a simple Tungsten weight and so it kind of goes back and I'm not sharing my screen, I just realised, I'm horrible for this by the way, I talk and share my screen and it's not actually on the screen but so what did you do?  What did you do to change it from 42 likes all the way up to the second one you did which looks like yesterday which has almost 2000 likes, what did you do to build your following?

Aaron: I mean, again I think I wish there was an easy answer, right like I think it's just consistent little things.  I think sometimes you don't even really know what it is but it's time in the community, so again, reposting stuff, people like it and then when they get reposted, people reciprocate that.

Jason: Absolutely.

Aaron: Like that became a thing for us and we do it hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of times and our pro staff are just flipping phenomenal right, like they're a huge huge piece of what it is, we call them our pro staff family, like I guess I'm going to take time out of my day to send messages and go back and forth with literally thousands of people through text messages because I want to because I am genuinely thankful, it's that reciprocation so I think that to me is the way I would describe it, like the reciprocation over time, over and over and over and over and over, another big thing for us to be able to gain, fast track that a bit was give aways, give aways are really big for us and again four years ago they might've been a bit different, they're not much different right now, but giveaways were huge, we're partnered with another giveaway group right now called big fish giveaways Instagram account and basically we try to work with them and to do ourselves is to create something where it's like marketing for your Instagram account like gaining real fishing followers versus just BS, like BS makes my skin crawl like the marketing BS, but I think the reciprocation and what did we do, like I don't know the exact post that you're talking about but I bet they're not much, I mean from what I understand, it's probably a fish and a guy and whatever, the whether would be just a fishing way but our posts right now are not that much different than they were at the very beginning.

Jason: There it is, so there it is.  I mean it's the same posts you're doing today, so for people that can see that this is -.

Aaron: Similar posts. 

Jason: Yeah, they're all the same.
Aaron: I remember, it's so funny, I remember posting, again, raw fish because I know them because they're from here but I love the picture of the dude and his dog, so he posts himself like that.  So again, Coup is on there, like this is where it came from but like I don't think our content right now is much different, we just built a bigger community over time so that when you do, you have that buddy that posts something that's kind of dumb put you like it anyways because he's your buddy?
Jason: Yeah, yeah yeah yeah.

Aaron: That's what we had, that's why people liked the the pictures.  It's the same idea.

Jason: It's funny you say that though and again I'm going back to Gary V, I listen to him a lot, I don't really follow his advice very well but I like to listen to him and you know, he says the same thing right, he'll just throw it out, he throws out wine library and I mean the guy's a social media guy, he talks about how to grow your social media channel but he's out there telling people about wine that he likes and the funny part about is he says is, you never know, and that's where changed mine just throw it out kind of computer nerdy I am because it turns out, after I did that, there's other fisher guys that are completely nerdy just like me and it's interesting like you say, what may fancy one person may not fancy another and just kind of throw it all out there.

Aaron: Well it's funny because it's like the more, and again we're not talking about just pictures of weights and just different stuff.  The more you're yourself, the easier it is.  You get more content because you're not trying to navigate around something, so it's easier and people get afraid of that but like it's easier and on top of that you have a more relatable genuine set of content which means that people are going to up take it a bit more, you can smell when somebody's full of it.

Jason: Oh yeah yeah and I think to get back to your previous point where you're talking about okay, I'm Aaron Andrews who loves fishing, I made this WOO Tungsten brand because it was something that I wanted to do and I felt that there was a market need for it and I put the two together and you can really get the feels, as you said earlier from it all and I think that that's huge because I feel like I see a lot of people out there trying to sell and I don't disagree that you have to sell, you have product pictures on yours as well but the far majority of your content is more just hanging our with guys, showing off fish, talking about fishing and a genuine love for the sport so if I'm hearing you correctly, if people want to start doing their own company or their own fishing brand or something like that, 100% content, you're going to put in a ton of content, but make sure it's stuff that you love, make sure that it's you, make sure it's honest and you might be the next WOO.

Aaron: And give it a ton of time.

Jason: Yeah.

Aaron: Like give it a ton of time right, it can't be a six month thing and again, I think like especially in Canada like it's interesting, talking about fishing but like seasonality is coming up, if you're a carp or a bass guy, if that's all you do, you're going to have a really hard time with content for the next six months.  That's going to be really tuff, but if you flip, if you are multi-species, you're not when you post a picture, like for me I'm just not, it's just nothing for me, we just talk about that we love lake trip fishing but like, oh hard core bass guy.  That's just who I am so I scroll past pictures of pike and perch, I have nothing against them [INAUDIBLE] but it's not going to catch my interest the same.  So, like it's different then in the US you almost need to have this, if you want to have a bigger following, you need to have a more global or hyper-regional, like your Orillia fishing is awesome, it's hyper-regional and it's a great thing and it's also going to probably cap you into getting to like - and I don't think that's your goal and I put you on the spot for that with it but I mean a guy in Texas is going to have way more content but if someone in Texas only wants to be from Lake Conroe area, they're also going to be capped, but if they want to be across the nation and develop relationships and be part of communities and all sorts of different things in California and in Tennessee and in Florida, they're going to have a way bigger audience to grow from so if you're a hard core bass guy, again you're kind of up against it here but you've got to have a US following, there's no other way around it.

Jason: I agree.

Aaron: And if you are a multi-species guy up here, fantastic, you're going to limit yourself because not everybody - like I have a ton of respect for the river that I used to fish in a lot, I haven't had space to so in the fall when there's unreal steel head photos and all sorts of content around Salmon, I just can't.

Jason: Scroll past right?

Aaron: I scroll past, it's another thing, you know what I mean?  If I don't have interest in it, I just scroll past so we kind of have this dual thing for people that are up here, as long as you recognise it, that's cool and you're going to have to put a crap-load of time into it for a long time to be able to see it but it can be there and then giveaways and colabs are huge.

Jason: Nice.
Aaron: They're just huge because you've gotta have good content but you'll be able to do both so.

Jason: Nice, good tips, I appreciated that, last question here, this is from my buddy Brian he saying, hey Aaron when are you breaking into the hard water game?  And I'm assuming from the last thing you just said is never.

Aaron: You know what, it's not never, we've debated it hard for the last two, three years.

Jason: I'm just saying Ed came out, Ed came out I mean you've got to go out, you've got to catch a bigger white fish.

Aaron: You know what, I love white fish, they're so fricken tasty man, I smoke white fish and they taste so good but so I definitely won't say never because we talk about it every fall, they way we've talked about it has always been, is it another brand?  Not necessarily is it not WOO Tungsten, but is WOO Tungsten that lives in a slightly different place.  My genuine concern is that does it hurt our Texas anglers that just don't care, so everything we just talked about with scrolling past and creating that, does it create internal brand conflict?  And the answer is like directly is absolutely it does.  So, you know, you can almost hear it, it's there, it's not a never, it's definitely not a never but if it is, I think it needs to be its own brand, not it's own company but it's got to be almost like it's WOO Tungsten Ice and it's its own massive local northern US, Canada following.

Jason: Seperate Instagram page, everything?
Aaron: It's got to be seperate, it's got to be seperate I think and sometimes we use some pretty cool ice jigs for bass fishing or whatever not that there would be a huge crossover but I could see there being a bit of stuff there.  I saw some guys, was it last year or the year before, last year or the year before the [UNKNOWN] were actually using the [UNKNOWN] ice jig that moves in circles.

Jason: Yeah.

Aaron: On some of the vertical [INAUDIBLE] which is kind of cool to see.

Jason: I saw that to.
Aaron: So, there is some crossover, not that we're going to try and go crazy with crossover but like if we do it, you know talking about [INAUDIBLE] I'd love to do that as a colab in Tungsten.

Jason: Well, I'll tell you right now, if you could get a [UNKNOWN] in Tungsten, now you're dropping down from the giant bait down to something a lot more smaller and with the pressure that's currently on Simcoe with the [UNKNOWN] jig, people are already dropping down to the quarter-ounce [UNKNOWN] jig to get a bite because the half-ounce isn't working.

Aaron: That half-ounce would be the size of a quarter if you could get up to an ounce within a half.  I don't mean to call out but you know, with the stuff you're mentioning but our guys in California, they're going to be like what the hell are you talking about.

Jason: Yeah.

Aaron: Unless we put it in a tube jig and then they're may be something there but we're not going to force it right?
Jason: Right.

Aaron: Like so our focus right now is retail and the US is trying to deal with some retail, to be very honest, it's not fun.

Jason: I bet.

Aaron: It's not fun but I feel like we're getting forced into it which is fine, I also think it's our best way to service Canada a little bit better with what we just talked about with shipping is to actually be available in different places so that's kind of our focus for 2021 but you know if [UNKNOWN] came, it was like do you want to and we'd be interested in doing something like that, I think about something like there's some pretty cool crappy jigs that we could make better there but I wouldn't want to just off the shelf them, I'd want to do a bit of design and get a bit of a better hook in there then you typically can, which now we're into again, I image it's like 18 to 24 months to design something out.

Jason: Sure.

Aaron: We could probably fast track it in certain places with the hook, like the hook sitting in that, like you can't just make the mold and put the hook in and pour it because the Tungsten has a higher melting point than steel, it just melts the hook.

Jason: Oh.

Aaron: Right, so there's a lot of different design in having to get a cavity there, a lot of - if you see a hook in a Tungsten jig it's usually welded in with tin usually.  So it's usually got some sort of flipping jig would usually have the eye where it is, you'd probably go underneath almost like a cavity, like a little tunnel.  So the eye will go through and be there and so there's like a little cross bar so that it's not going to pull out typically.

Jason: Interesting.

Aaron: But it's going to get welded in place with the tin because the hook always has to get put in seperate so part of those things create a lot of the extra cost in Tungsten.

Jason: I bet.

Aaron: And it's just a trade off as to like, does it make sense so those tiny jigs are tuff but as I said, we talk about it every year, when I say every year, the last two years we've talked about it, usually in July we start talking about it and we get guys that ask for it but if we do it it'll be like a seperate internal brand, still the same company but like we'll spin it off because it's marketing we just have to relevance people and all that other stuff like we do 90% of our business in the US but I'd say 80% comes from five states.  Like so 80% of our people, the only ice that they want is in their drink.

Jason: Sure.

Aaron: So we have to spin it out a bit but I don't know, if someones interested.

Jason: I'm seeing some interest in the chat.  I'm seeing guys asking for ice rods and well I hope James Bing is watching this.

Aaron: Well as I said, that's not a callout on him at all, he's done an awesome job with this.

Jason: 100%.

Aaron: Who does bad boys like, I worked for him when I was twelve, when I talk about love and fishing, my summer job was at a worm counter, like I take those giant crates of worms.

Jason: I did that to.

Aaron: Like you know what I mean, so they've done it.  And I loved it, it was a crap job, you're right, but I fricken loved it.

Jason: Oh yeah, no, it was great!  If I could go back there, that would be the one job that I'd love to do for the rest of my life, that's a great job.

Aaron: I wish it could just pay a little better.  If it could pay my mortgage I might do it to.  Yeah as I said, I don't know all that stuff, like ice would be interesting to me, it just carries all those other issues.

Jason: True.

Aaron: But it's probably got space in the category and the thing that I would have on that to is I'd probably need or want somebody who's genuinely an amazing ice angler because I'm not.

Jason: With that existing WOO brand, I don't think it would be hard to find anybody

Aaron: Yeah, I think you're right, it's just that that's a genuine thing.  I can't, it's just like I'm not a fan of classical music, like I can be like that's kind of cool but I have no idea if it's actually good.

Jason: I hear you.

Aaron: I can't do that to the level that I can with a ned, that was a huge thing for us, alright, like the amount of time I was knocking those off ledges and into a bucket in my kitchen to see if they could go in water and sit straight up, like you know what I mean.  That's really important, I just can't do that with those jigs the same way.

Jason: Sure.

Aaron: I just don't have the time on the water.

Jason: Sure.

Aaron: Or the hard water I guess in that space but.

Jason: Well man I would love to keep chatting some hard water with you and trying to talk you into it but we've hit the hour and I'm unfortunately limited by the hour, I wanted to say thank you so much for taking the time to do this.  I thought it would turn a little bit different but the questions kind of brought us into where people wanted to I'm happy with that.  Yeah man, I hope we meet up on the water again, I know I haven't been at the club for a while but if covid finishes next year man, I'd love to get back in the boat with you as a non-boater.

Aaron: You know what, I haven't been to the club in a while either, when I say that like obviously with covid and whatever but the club had an awesome year, right like just as a quick blog on the Barrie club.

Jason: Yep.

Aaron: Like the tournaments on the water were awesome this year, they've really done well, we'd have to do everything zoom right so that's not a push at you or anybody else but like I think there's people like right now with covid that you want to engage with it in a safe where, there's a lot of ways that you can engage in a lot of different things right now and yeah man I hope we can meet up on the water and I'd be pumped to do this with you again any time man.

Jason: That's awesome.

Aaron: It's just fun for me.  So thanks for chopping it up and shooting back and forth through texts and getting me the link and everything else you need to do so have an awesome holidays.

Jason: Awesome thanks you to and say the best to the family there.


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