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Discussion Starter #1
So as a starving college student attempting to make some cash on the side, I was thinking about strings the other day. At my local range, it seems like everyone is needing a new string at some point or another. Our range does not make strings (recurve or compound) in house so they order them from somewhere else. I personally have a jig and have been making my own strings for years, and I feel I have become very proficient at it. My current string is almost 4 months old and still looks as good as it did the day I made it.

I was wondering how profitable it would actually be to advertise and sell strings in my area. I know its hard to estimate unless you live in my area and know the demand but certainly I'm not the first person to try this and someone has some experience. If I were to buy and an extensive supply of materials in different colors and sizes, would it be a loss on my part or would it likely pay for itself at some point? How good is the custom string market? I thought about having a buddy of mine who's a website designer put up a basic page for me to advertise, but even then, how much demand would I be likely to see? I would be willing to ship nationwide too. Not like mailing a string in an envelope is that hard.

Of course there's also the risk of gaining too much popularity and orders exceeding my capacity as a single person making strings between my classes...

I'm just throwing the idea around. I'm wondering if this is something worth trying or if it will end up being a hole I just threw money down. Thoughts anyone?
 

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Desert Island Trading Co.
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back about 10 years ago, there were two college students who did just that. They made a website, made custom strings. Their strings were awesome. top of the line. Everyone placed orders. Their business grew so much that they got way behind in the orders, and it cut into their school time. Probably personal time too.

HNL Strings was the company and Leighton and Anson were the college students. I dont know what happened to Leighton or Anson, i havent seen them on the archery circuit since 2006 or 2007.
They closed the website and business. Finished all the orders they had and stopped completely. I still miss those strings. Best strings i ever shot.

http://www.archerytalk.com/vb/showthread.php?t=489760


be careful what you wish for.


Chris
 

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Discussion Starter #4
back about 10 years ago, there were two college students who did just that. They made a website, made custom strings. Their strings were awesome. top of the line. Everyone placed orders. Their business grew so much that they got way behind in the orders, and it cut into their school time. Probably personal time too.

HNL Strings was the company and Leighton and Anson were the college students. I dont know what happened to Leighton or Anson, i havent seen them on the archery circuit since 2006 or 2007.
They closed the website and business. Finished all the orders they had and stopped completely. I still miss those strings. Best strings i ever shot.

http://www.archerytalk.com/vb/showthread.php?t=489760


be careful what you wish for.


Chris
As one person, that is my fear. I have friends who are also good at making strings but I dont want to rely on another college student who may or may not be available due to their classes and/or job. I could hire someone but how would that even work? Give someone a key to my house so they can build strings on my jig when I'm not around??? Lol. And this is assuming the business becomes explosively successful.
 

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If you're going to sell strings and especially if you're going to advertise, you better get insurance and a FET tax number. https://www.archerytrade.org/news/d...-tax-apply-to-bowstrings-yes-just-ask-the-irs

If you've been building for years, you should know what materials cost and how long it takes to make a string/set so you should be able to calculate what it costs per set. If you can swing the taxes, the insurance, the advertising cost and the cost to run the business (taxes, licences, warranty work, fees etc), as well as the time it'll take from your schooling and shooting, then maybe it'd be worth it. Personally, I doubt it'd be worth it. It wasn't for me when I was in school so I just stuck to building occasionally for friends and family. I got a part time job at an archery shop instead. Less headache and you just show up and get paid. No real expenses except driving time and gas.

Not trying to discourage you from doing it, just pointing out things that most don't consider.
 

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Genesis 21:20
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back about 10 years ago, there were two college students who did just that. They made a website, made custom strings. Their strings were awesome. top of the line. Everyone placed orders. Their business grew so much that they got way behind in the orders, and it cut into their school time. Probably personal time too.

HNL Strings was the company and Leighton and Anson were the college students. I dont know what happened to Leighton or Anson, i havent seen them on the archery circuit since 2006 or 2007.
They closed the website and business. Finished all the orders they had and stopped completely. I still miss those strings. Best strings i ever shot.

http://www.archerytalk.com/vb/showthread.php?t=489760


be careful what you wish for.


Chris
This.

I got some strings from Leighton back in those days, and they were fantastic. Wish he still posted here.
 

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Ready Aim Pluck
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As a recently graduated uni student, the things that come to mind after reading your post is this:
- How long does it take for you to make the string? / how much will you charge? / Is your net profit after everything worth your time?
- I would start small and get a few popular colors in popular materials. Get your feet wet and see how you can balance your time - that way if you don't like it, you don't end up 500 in the hole with a ton of material.
- Be wary that people over the internet are hard to please, they may claim that you got the string length wrong or the string snapped and demand another one and put you in a bad spot or something like that. From my experience, its usually user-error but of course archers are always too proud to admit it. ;p
- Remember that your first priority is classes, and that if your GPA or classes suffer, then you miss the real point.

These thoughts come from LOTS of reflection after co-founding the current UC Davis archery club and competitive team with an kick-butt partner. We poured thousands of hours into the club to get it off the ground. Both our GPAs suffered (I think my co-founder's more so than me) and if I were to do it again, I would hesitate and juggle my time more carefully since a stronger GPA would've given me a much easier time after college and applying for professional schools.

I think stringmaking is a cool side-hustle as long as the money you make from it is worth your time. Best of luck on your adventures!
 

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You can get a decent string shipped to your door for under $15 in less than a week. You simply can't hand build them for that cheap.
 

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Trouble is like others said tax insurance etc you have to have every colour & string combo as people will want every colour under the sun. Also making compound much harder / longer than recurve & to do buy hand ( serving ) it takes time. Also when you make a set & some one screws up putting them or or installing a peep on a compound they will complain that it was your fault.
When I made strings ( which I dont do now ) it was only for me & my son
 

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As noted above, you would know the basic math - material costs and time requirements per unit, plus the cost of your equipment which you can amortize over its useful life. Add to this the business costs noted above, such as insurance, license, tax, etc. I think you will find that the margins are small and production would have to be at very significant scale to make it worthwhile. Unless you have a groundbreaking idea for automation (patent that thing and consider that time/cost too!) and plan to produce using that in order to reduce your own manual labor, I would think this stringmaking gig would only be something you would offer to students, friends, and personal referrals and pretty much just cover your costs plus a couple bucks for snacks and music while you are making the strings. Anything else would seem to have great potential for devouring your life with low wage manual work that would suck the fun right out of archery. Oh, and if you hire people, be prepared for all kinds of tax, liability, and occupational health/safety issues.

In any case, you would want to build a really solid business model and consider if it is worth your time. Good luck!
 
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