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Photography contributed by Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce

Fair Flies is changing the world, one fishing fly at a time. By making their products eco-friendly and sourcing from ethical companies that pay their workers a living wage, the company is working to combat human trafficking and pollution all while keeping customers at the top of their fishing game. We talked to them to learn more about their mission and how their products are made.

TREND: Tell us about Fair Flies —what do you bring to the market and why are customers hooked on your products?

FAIR FLIES: Fair Flies is a subsidiary of Zoe Angling Group, a company focused on developing and distributing fishing products that serve our environment and the people who make them. 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.

TREND: What's the mission behind your company's work, and why is making a difference so important to Fair Flies?

FAIR FLIES: To us, our ethical practices backlight everything we do. 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.

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.

TREND: You've been quoted as saying Fair Flies "works with tyers, co-ops, and not-for-profits around the world committed to providing fair working conditions and livable wages for everyone involved." Tell us a bit more about your ethical practices.

FAIR FLIES: In Nepal, for 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.

TREND: How did Fair Flies get its start in Chattanooga?

FAIR FLIES: We actually originated on the West coast, but moved here last year during the pandemic in November. The fishing scene is what really attracted us to the Chattanooga area. We love testing our up-and-coming products on the numerous lakes and rivers, and we've found many connections here that have been beneficial to the development of the company.

TREND: What are some fun ways Chattanoogans can use your products out on the water? I hear Fair Flies knows a thing or two about fly tying.

FAIR FLIES: 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 15 minutes to tie instead takes two and catches more fish.

TREND: That sounds like a great time, and I'm sure a good many fishing/outdoors enthusiasts in town would agree. Chattanooga's rich outdoor recreation scene sounds like the perfect fit for Fair Flies—would you agree?

FAIR FLIES: We love the outdoor culture here. Early on, we found that Chattanooga's 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 as well—especially for outdoor related companies like ours.

To learn more about Fair Flies, its products, and its work, visit fairflies.com.

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