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A Reply to Robert Dante’s Article

Let me start by pointing to the article in which I am about to reply. It was written by Robert Dante and is entitled When Having Principles Hurt.

There needs to be a few things cleared up and I will allow you to decide what’s the truth as I post my entire OP and comment on it piece by piece. The first part of my OP on my personal Facebook page stated the following:

I have refused to do business with people who said they intended to use my whips on other consenting adults. They kindly took their business elsewhere and didn’t involve lawyers or the government. That’s how free, civilized people handle such things.

Since at least 2002, I have stated on my website publicly that I do not endorse nor condone the use of a whip on another person and do not knowingly make orders for those purposes (other than martial arts perhaps). This should not be news to anyone who’s ever looked at the page on my site where I have my policies posted, especially someone who’s known me since my early days online selling whips.

I have, in the past, refunded orders and not taken orders of those who told me they planned to use the whips for BDSM. I do not recall Robert saying he intended to use my whips for anything like that, and I don’t ask what people plan to do for conscience sake. The few times I have refused to do an order was when I was explicitly told the order was going to be used in a setting with which I am not comfortable being associated.

What people do with the whips I sell is their business, but again, my preference is to make whips for sporting, work, and martial arts purposes. I recall at one time when actually posted with a maker’s link that they did not do BDSM work, and asked everyone to respect that. And for the record, all I have ever received is respect on this matter, until now.

I have never sought after that market. That there are cowboys who go to conventions that do it is of no consequence to me. I’m not into it. Never have been, never will be. Sorry, that’s just me. Robert says he’s surprised I didn’t know what he did with the whips? Well, I’m equally surprised he didn’t know where I stand on this! I’ve never made it a secret.

And now for the rest of that most terrible, offensive, and misunderstood part of my OP:

Here’s the deal: If you use government to force Christian bakers to cater gay weddings against their conscientious objections, then we will have to force gay bakers to cater Westboro Baptist events against their conscience. How about forcing Jews to cater neo-Nazi events? Forcing black folks to cater KKK events? etc.. Think about it. (Not to mention the fact I don’t want someone preparing my food after I’ve taken them to court!)

My only point here is that government forcing people to do business with others against their values is a slippery slope. It may sound like a good idea when it benefits you or people with your shared values, but what happens when that same government force is applied all around equally? Thus, this is my reason for using these other examples.

My comparisons here were never, ever meant to equate gays to Nazis or the KKK, but simply to point out that making Christians/Muslims/others cater weddings against their religious beliefs (recognizing that freedom of religion is historically one of America’s most cherished ideals!), it will open the door to people like Westboro Baptist suing gay bakers to bake them cakes against their will. (And don’t think WBC won’t try!) What is so hard to understand about this? Is this not a legitimate concern? Or can’t we think beyond the most recent media spawned outrage?

Dante writes,

What Rhett has done is the equivalent of saying that because someone likes oral sex, he/she is prone to walk down the sidewalk biting people at random.

No, I wrote nothing of the sort, nor did I imply anything like that! This is just slanderous and makes absolutely no sense to me. It’s not even a logical inference to make from anything I wrote.

Would Robert –now wanting nothing to do with me because of my stance on this issue– want the government forcing him to buy my whips? I doubt it. My guess is he’d rather take his business elsewhere and certainly wouldn’t waste time, or money, trying to drag me into court to make him a new set of whips exclusively for BDSM. And that’s the very point I’m trying to make! Let’s keep people free to make decisions to buy or not buy, sell or not sell, on our own, without dragging the government into it!

Robert, I’m sorry it has come to this. I wish you well.

Update: Robert has replied to this article. Please click here to read it.


Waiting List Update

At current speeds, it appears I will be closer to 12 weeks out on new orders rather than the 14-16 posted on my site. However, I might continue to advertise 14-16 just in case we have any more unexpected events that could slow me down. 2013 was terrible in that regard. I’m trying to get as much done as I can now to get the wait lowered for the usual Spring influx of orders. It’s best to get your orders in sooner rather in later. I expect the normal uptick in order volume as we approach Spring.

Why you need to like the Rhett Kelley Whip Maker page!

I’ve had a Facebook fan/business page for a while now. At this time, it’s approaching 1400 likes! And, quite honestly, that’s astounding to me. I never imagined it would grow so much. I try to update it daily with photos of projects, finished whips, and other things that could be of interest.

I often get friend requests on my personal page from customers or friends of friends in the whip cracking/making community. While I appreciate those requests, I may not approve them because I want to get my personal profile narrowed down to family, personal friends, and former co-workers/classmates I want to keep in touch with.

If you like my whip page, I can assure you I will be just as active and approachable as I am on my personal page. You’ll get to see all the newest whips before anyone else and have the most up to date information about what’s going on at Rhett Kelley Whips, LLC. I promise, you won’t miss anything. In fact, my personal page activity has little to do with whips or whipmaking so you’ll probably get bored  anyway.

So, once again, I appreciate those who want to connect with me on Facebook, so please visit and like Rhett Kelley -Whip Maker!

Of Refunds and Charge Backs

For a whipmaker, having  a long list of orders to make is a good problem to have. It means you’ve got plenty of work to do and your name is out there and your work is in demand. Since going full time, I’ve had as many as 75 orders to make and seldom less than 40.

At times it can be a bit overwhelming. The bad part is having to tell people that you don’t have any whips in stock and they will have to wait. Worse than that is having to tell people who have been waiting that they will have to wait longer because 2013 has been so bad for your family with multiple deaths, illnesses, and hospitalizations.

Whereas I once waited to receive payment until I started making the whip, in 2012 I moved to be more in line with most other whipmakers and started requiring payment for orders up front.  This move eliminated the trend I had noticed for many years in how people would order whips and then forget about it, or disappear when it was time to pay.

With that change, I made sure to update my policies to reflect that a prepaid customer is free to change or cancel their order at any time while they wait and that the customer would receive a full refund. That change has worked very well. So far, not a single prepaid customer has forgotten about their order or disappeared. I have many to change their order, and less than 5 actual cancellations.

Last night I checked my email before I went to bed, I had an email from Paypal with something I never expected: A customer who had only been on the waiting list for one month went through to credit card company for a “charge back.” He claimed his order was “unauthorized charge.” Frankly, I was quite taken aback. I saw nothing weird about the order on my end when it was placed. He even emailed me asking how long the wait would be for the whip. After that, there was no communication whatsoever. I never saw this coming.

While I suppose it is possible someone used his card to make an unauthorized charge, it certainly wasn’t me! If this guy desired to cancel the order, he was free to do so and I would have cheerfully obliged. Unless this was a legitimate case of ID theft, the way this was handled was tantamount to a landlord sending the police to collect the rent from a tenant who wasn’t even late -without ever having attempted to collect it first himself.

If the buyer in this case was legitimately defrauded by someone, he has my sympathy. If he was simply lacking in tact and common decency, I’d rather not do business with him anyway.

August Waiting List Update

I’m still running behind, but I can now see some light at the end of the tunnel. Barring any major distractions, I believe I should be back on track some time this month. I’m working as hard as I can to make it happen. See the July update for more details.


4 foot Whips Available Again

4ft whip in the rain.

4ft nylon bullwhip in the rain.

I haven’t offered bullwhips or snakewhips shorter than 5 feet for a number of years now. Yesterday I decided to begin offering bullwhips and snakewhips 4 feet in length because I’ve had special requests from stage performers saying that the shorter length be better for staged where space was limited. I updated my website, to reflect this change of direction.


To see all the current kinds of whips I offer at this time, please visit my online store.

Waiting list update July 2013

I’ve made no secret of the fact I’m running behind schedule. I’m currently working orders from mid-March. I should be working on orders from early April.

Because of this, I’m getting emails daily asking about the status of orders. This is understandable and I don’t really mind it, but here’s two things I’d ask everyone to note before emailing or calling:

  1. All the orders on my list now were ordered when the estimated wait time was at 12 weeks. If it has been less than 12 weeks since you ordered, there’s no need to worry. Your order is still within the initial estimate. I just haven’t gotten to your order yet. Please hang in there.
  2. If your order is over 12 weeks old, it is solely because of the deaths we had in my family in May which put me behind schedule. I’m sorry that you’re still waiting. Please know that I am doing all I can to get caught up to where I need to be. I’m starting to see light at the end of the tunnel. Rest assured, you’ll get your whip. It’s just taking me time to recoup from the production time lost in May.

I realize when you buy something online from someone you’ve never met, there’s always that fear the guy could take your money and run. Some whipmakers have done just that. I think I detect this fear in some of the emails I have gotten. The fact is, I’ve never ripped off a customer and I don’t plan to start now. I’m here to do honest business.

Life has thrown us some curve balls lately. After I explain the situation, most people have been very considerate. Sadly, others have been so impatient and lacking in compassion that I’ve been tempted just to cancel their order and send their money back. It’s sad really.

To those of you waiting patiently, I want to say thank you. I really appreciate it. It’s folks like you who have made this stressful time more bearable

To everyone else, I’m still taking orders! Even though I’m currently running behind, I still believe I can hold new orders to 12 weeks or less. I’d like to have an even shorter waiting list, but my whips have been selling well and I have lots of whips to make. For a whipmaker, it’s a good problem to have.

I’m really hoping and praying that in 2 weeks, I’ll be back on track.


Rhett Kelley