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The lure brand making radical changes to its business: ‘We call our new approach eco-design’


French lure specialist Fiiish is putting the environment first by radically changing its approach to design, materials and sales. “It works,” says Project Manager Louis Leveuf.

What is the key priority for Fiiish right now?

LL: New product development is always the top priority of course. It is what the company exists for. But how we behave in making those products is equally important. We call it eco-design. There are many ways to create products in an eco-friendly manner. For example, a year ago we decided our sales people would do less travelling. This meant that we not only had to provide a new range of services for retailers, but also undergo a complete reorganisation of communication tools within our online network.

The decision was reinforced by the COVID health crisis, but it was above all an ethical and strategic direction before becoming a forced choice. There is also work in progress on the relocation of part of our production to countries less distant than Asia. Most of our hooks are already made by VMC in France.

So how does this influence the product itself?

We are looking at all aspects of the environmental footprint of the product. That is to say, where it is manufactured, where the raw materials come from and how the product is made. As I said, work is already underway on the possibilities available to us in Europe. Regarding raw materials, there are two main families – minerals such as lead, metal and tungsten, and organic materials such as bio-plastic, wood etc. Bio-plastics can be soft or hard. In the case of the latter we are currently working on a surface lure made of a bio-sourced plastic and are testing its biodegradable qualities in seawater.

We are also working on the GwalennDu project (Angling International April 2020 issue), which involves the development and creation of recyclable fishing rods. This will be a world first if we succeed.

What are the obstacles to this eco-led strategy?

Custom and habits slow things down. For example, we want to have our sales people in the office rather than on the road, but there are still many retailers who absolutely want to see a sales person. The relationship with those people must therefore be even stronger and more regular.

Manufacturing offshore is the current reality, but raises various questions, the most important of which surrounds the workforce. It plays a big part in the price of a finished product and a skilled workforce with Asian experience is essential in creating quality lures.

There is also the important point of user experience and being able to offer consumers the most ethical product possible, without paint, toxic substances, plastic eyes and so on. The sum of all this is that we have to completely rethink the process to get as close as possible to an environmentally-friendly product.

So where are you now in the process?

From a business department perspective, we have reduced sales staff trips by nearly 90%. There are still some left, but by adapting our sales tools and being in more regular contact with our retailers, our efforts have reduced our ecological footprint and are undeniably an economic gain. The GwalennDu project is ongoing and we are about to take delivery of the first protoype rods. This is one of the most important missions in the history of the company.

In terms of lures, we have, for more than three years now, been very actively working on lures designed to be biodegradable. The most advanced of these is a hard surface lure for which biodegradability tests are being verified. As already mentioned we are already actively seeking to relocate part of our production to fit in with all our other eco-friendly plans.


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