Josué Vega, Marketing & Communications Intern
Fair Flies is changing the world, one fishing fly at a time. By making their products eco-friendly and by sourcing from ethical companies that pay their workers a living wage, the company fights against human trafficking and pollution. We talked to them to learn more about their mission and how their products are made.
1) Tell us about Fair Flies and your mission.
Fair Flies is a subsidiary of Zoe Angling Group, a company that is focused on innovating and distributing fishing products that serve our environment and the people who make them. We believe that by providing trade instead of aid, we can work to solve human trafficking through our fair wage policies and healthy work environments in third world countries.
2) Tell us about Fly Tying and how Fair Flies is making it fun.
Our fly materials are some of the most innovative in the industry. Not only do we get to work with industry leading technology, and use eco-friendly materials and make a difference in people’s lives, we also get to catch big fish in the process. In 2017, our fly brushes won Best of Show at iCast, the premiere fishing trade show, based in Orlando, Florida. Our products make fly tying accessible to the majority by simplifying the tying process – a fly that would originally take someone fifteen minutes to tie, instead takes two and catches more fish.
3) Chattanooga has a rich outdoor scene. How has Fair Flies fit into Chattanooga's outdoor/fishing culture?
The fishing scene is the reason we moved here. We love testing our up and coming products on the numerous lakes and rivers, and have found many connections here in Chattanooga that have proved beneficial to the development of the company. We love the rich culture around being outdoors and involved in the wildlife.
4) How did Fair Flies originate in Chattanooga?
We actually originated on the West coast, but moved here last year during the pandemic in November. We found that the culture, community, and environment was the best place for our company to grow. And we were right. Not only have we found incredibly valuable team members right here in the city, the opportunities for business growth here are endless, especially for outdoor related companies.
5) You were quoted saying that Fair Flies “works with tyers, co-ops, and not-for-profits around the world to provide superior quality flies by purchasing from organizations that are committed to providing fair working conditions and livable wages for everyone involved.” Tell us a bit more about your ethical practices?
To us, our ethical practices backlight everything we do. In Nepal, for an example, we have helped to create hundreds of jobs for women and men in vulnerable situations. Sometimes, they come from the red light district and find rehabilitation with our partners. We pay twice the livable wage so that our employees can send their kids to a good school, have savings, and have some left over at the end of the day for gifts and emergencies. This is unheard of in a country where many live day-to-day.
By giving people a job that pays well, instead of sending money, we provide dignity. This is a sustainable effort to lift people out of poverty and put them on solid ground again—all of this, out of a fly fishing product.