Fishermen are creative folk and bamboo is the trending material of choice. We never tire of encountering stories of our customers who initially needed to resolve an issue or Macgyver a vitally missing tool and then it evolves into a thriving business with a customer base at the ready.
In today’s post, we introduce to you Wissam and his story of how his family business (the only one of its kind in his country) started from simple means mixed with a lot of passion and fortitude.
Orion: Hi Wissam! Can you tell us a little bit about your story?
Wissam: The whole story started in the year 2013 when we thought of why not repair our own fishing equipment. It developed into the idea of differentiating ourselves as individuals by having customized personalized rods and gaffs.
My workshop started in the dining room at my home, the full workshop was a dining table, a dining chair, an old trolling rod of mine, a drier, and some threads. The same applies to Ahmad, he started from the garage of his villa.
Initially, we started repairing our own and friends' rods and reels. After a short period of time, we started receiving requests from our friend's referrals on the same. At a later stage, we thought that we have to differentiate ourselves in the market, accordingly, we researched the market and decided to start our unique customized rod and gaff building.
After some time we started to feel the passion.
We researched the market to find out that there are very few individuals who are working in the fishing tools customization field in the Middle east. Accordingly, we decided to take a step further and educate ourselves in the customization field, with many trials and errors and experiments on the different techniques of coloring, ideas, started developing, but it took us some time to discover that the hobby had transferred to a passion and why not into a business.
We wanted to be the pioneers in this field in UAE and the Arabic world this is our target.
Wissam: During our process of building our own rods we were facing some limitations on finding some specs for specific fishing types in the local market other times, the suppliers were having a limited quantity of the products we needed.
Orion: You customize by using a hydrographic design technique- where did this idea come from?
Wissam: Hydrographic designing is applying a printed design to any three-dimensional material. We are using this technique to add an artistic touch to gaffs, rods, steering, fishing belt, etc.
The idea came out when we visited a car shop to change the wheels and discovered that in the workshop they were doing a complete changeover for the car to include its outer surface of the car and even internal parts and gadgets. We thought why not apply the same technique to fishing gadgets? We started with the reels, belts, and then rods, gaffs, and nets customization to end with even boat parts including the steering, doors, and engine.
Orion: What made you choose bamboo as your material of choice? Wissam: I have chosen bamboo as it is extremely strong and very lightweight in comparison to aluminum and carbon, in addition to its ability to bend like a fishing rod, in fact, the bamboo gaff will always float.
The bamboo tuna spikes are part of the IKEJIMI kit. It has been launched this year for the first time during the Dubai boat show last March and we had positive feedback about it.
Orion: How did fishing become part of your life? Wissam: We started fishing in our early childhood around 6 years old. We were always accompanying our fathers and their friends on their fishing trips. This made us get wide experience in regards to the fishing field as we were not only fishing but also preparing our bates, ..... in addition, we were visiting the tackle shops to choose the blanks, gaffs and all fishing equipment. Nowadays we go fishing on weekly basis depending on the weather forecast and season, during our trips we ensure that we are visiting new spots, trying new equipment, and enjoying our hobby which has always been part of our life; it's a hobby that has been developed into a business.
Orion: What are some of your favorite things about having your own family business?
Wissam: Having our own business makes us feel that we are contributing to the economy of the country that we are living in, supporting in employing skilled staff to conduct the work.
It is challenging as we must always get out with new ideas to stay competitive and maintain the high level of products and services and always meet the expectations of the customers which will enable us to retain current clients and attract new customers.
As the founders of this business, we feel ourselves as the custodians of the business for future generations, we believe that we are putting the base for our kids so we need to build a strong reputation in the market and be always creative to differentiate ourselves from the competitors.
Having a family business is like having an additional member in your family who needs time and care.
Orion: How do you see your customers enjoying your products?
Wissam: What makes us different is that we do experience the enthusiasm of the customer at the ordering stage at which they are describing their dream fishing tool and their reaction after receiving their orders.
Our customers usually show satisfaction through tagging us and sharing pics and comments directly to us or through social media.
We do our best to understand the customer's needs and thoughts and manifested it through our customization techniques to achieve whatever is required by the customer.
We work hard on building trust and long-term relationships with the customers and ensure that they are fully satisfied with the product received.
Orion: Do you have any cool fish story to tell us about anything caught using one of your bamboo products?
Wissam: One of our loyal customers who is one of the biggest charters in the middle east has landed a 116 kg yellowfin using our customized trolling rod and bamboo gaff. This made us really proud of the product that we are providing.
Orion: What would you like future customers to know about your brand and business?
Wissam: Customers' expectations are higher than ever before, they are always expecting the best service and quality, accordingly, we will never compromise when it comes to both as we want to build a long-lasting relationship with our customers based on trust. Moreover, we will always work on developing our techniques and come out with new ideas to always meet and exceed their expectations.
Orion: What are all your business social media accounts so that we can follow your story?