*Be sure to tune into Flylords Instagram Live on Monday, April 27th at 8:30 ET for the live interview with Rep Your Water’s own Garrison Doctor*
Introducing the Staying Afloat Series, where we take an inside look into the lives of many different fly fishing guides, shops, brands, and lodges across the world in hopes of finding out how the COVID is affecting them, what they are doing to help, and how we can do our part to help them.
For this feature, we interviewed Garrison Doctor Co-founder of Rep Your Water, to see how COVID was impacting business.
Flylords: How has Covid19 affected RYW?
Garrison: We have made it a priority as a brand to distribute primarily to small, independent fly shops, and outdoor stores. Those retailers are historically our largest sales channel by far. Obviously those small specialty shops are hurting right now and for the most part not able to take on new products, so we have taken a huge hit there. However, we are still able to ship and fulfill direct orders and wholesale orders to shops that are able to take new spring products, so that has been a huge help. Overall we feel really lucky, just being able to keep our full time team of three employed is something we are grateful for and no longer take for granted. We also feel that fly fishing as an industry is going to be strong coming out of this crisis.
On a more trivial front, we are a full-time team of three, as I mentioned, Corinne my wife and RYW Co-Founder and then Tanner Smith. Tanner has been working from home since the onset of “stay at home” orders here in CO, so we really miss the office camaraderie. Before COVID we had some pretty epic ping pong battles at the warehouse daily, and some great Friday happy hours, I miss those!
Flylords: I know you guys are based in Colorado have you been able to do any “local fishing”?
Garrison: We have been able to do some local fishing! We are pretty lucky to have a few small trout streams close by and a lot of warm water opportunities. I have mainly been fishing for bass, crappie, and carp as they are very close by!
Flylords: As a company who always seems to be at the forefront of “Giving Back” – tell us about your Shop Share program that you recently launched.
Garrison: I used to guide for one of our local community shops here in Colorado, Rocky Mountain Anglers in Boulder. Rocky Mountain Anglers is one of those great community driven shops that relies entirely on in-person sales since they do not sell online. Our SHOP SHARE program came about as I reached out to Randy the owner/manager of Rocky Mountain Anglers and other small fly shop retailers around the country to bridge that gap and try to help. Basically it allows a customer to shop off of our website and support one of the participating shops!
To participate simply:
- Go to https://www.repyourwater.com/collections/shop-share and a gift card* for one of our participating fly shops to your cart. Value of each is $10, but buy multiple to help even more! You must add the gift card to your order, that is how we know which shop you are supporting with the rest of your purchase.
- Add other RepYourWater products to the same order
- The shop gets the gift card value and the same amount of the sale for the rest of the products as if you bought it in their store!
- Go spend that Shop Share gift card at your local shop when they open back up, or now if they are up and running!
Flylords: As a business, have you had to shift any of your plans around heading into Q2 – Q3 of this year? Any new products on the horizon?
Garrison: Yes, and we are still trying to figure out exactly what that looks like, but we will for sure have some awesome new products for fall and for next spring. Our full spring collection is currently available with many new and innovative products and designs. We just launched our new camp mugs which are sweet for a morning coffee in the home office or you can put them right on the camp fire when the time comes!
Flylords: Being an artist – I’m sure you enjoy your alone time (to a point) – have you been able to finish any artwork recently?
Garrison: I have been spending more time in my studio and I am finishing up some pieces! That is one silver lining of this terrible pandemic. I will say that as the one who heads up marketing and social media over here, those two things have kept me busier than usual! However, I have been making time for my art. I recently finished a series of western native trout illustrations that I am calling the “Western Studs” series. I have a bunch of Giclée prints available of those that I am stoked on.
Garrison Doctor of RepYourWater Live Drawing of “French Creek Brown” from Content Team on Vimeo.
Flylords: Any tips for someone who wants to get into fish art with all this extra time?
Garrison: I guess I would tell people to not stress having certain materials or mediums to work with and instead to dive in with what they have. I love working with a single pen on white paper for example, which is about as simple as it gets. Working on training your eye on how to see shapes within shapes and translate them onto paper is such a fun process that you can do with any old pencil or pen!
Flylords: When this all clears up – where are you looking forward to being the most?
Garrison: That is such a tough question! I guess one of the things I am looking forward to the most is just being able to drive a few hours across state lines and meet a couple of good fishing buddies for some camaraderie, exploration, and a few beers or cocktails shared in person.
Be sure to check out RepYourWater on Instagram.