Wild River Flies
Da Li is a member the Bai Yi (White Yi) tribe and, along with her family, she lives in a village adjacent to our Fly-tying Center in Southwest China. She was also among the first ladies our Montana-native fly tying expert trained to tie flies for the U.S. fly-fishing market and has now been working with us for nine years. Da Li stood in the room that houses our fly-tying project and, with a big smile, declared, “My daughter is attending University. We couldn’t have dreamed of this opportunity if it were not for my work here.”
Her words touched me. I thought back to the beginnings of our fly-tying project and remembered how we had established the program almost a decade ago. We faced many obstacles in those early days. We needed to build trust with the villagers, who wondered what these “big noses” were doing in rural China. In spite of the challenges, through the years we have seen this project benefit all who are involved, both the American entrepreneurs and our Chinese workers. Since most of the materials used to make Wild River Flies come from the United States and all of our flies are sold in the U.S. (we do hope to sell in the U.K. and New Zealand as well), this business clearly benefits the U.S. economy. The key investors in this enterprise are also all Americans. However, all of our skilled workers, like Da Li, are Chinese ladies from rural villages.
Da Li’s experience is not unique. I have heard other similar comments from our workers in our Center in Yi Liang, another rural community that specializes in the production of Wild River Flies. Clearly, Wild River Flies is also blessing members of the local community with opportunities to enhance their standard of living. As Da Li indicated, it is opening new possibilities for this industrious and gifted group of people. In short, this enterprise is a “Win, Win.” It benefits the economies and people of American and China.
With a big grin, I told Da Li, “You are an excellent worker. We feel privileged to be able to work together with you. We are thrilled that we can pay you a good wage and, in this way, help your daughter pursue her university studies.” Of course, Da Li, with her skills, training, and excellent materials imported from the U.S., also produces some of the finest flies available on the U.S. market. And so do the other village ladies. Clearly, Wild River Flies is a “Win, Win.”