Category Archives: admin

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

“Rhett is hard to Get on the Phone…”

I recently saw a comment on Facebook similar to the title of this post, so I thought I should post a quick note about why that seems to be the case…Sunset_2007-1

During my career with Walmart Logistics, we had what was known as the “Sundown Rule,” meaning we were supposed to follow up with every request or question before the sun went down that business day. Now as a small business owner, I still try to hold to that rule, though sometimes I am unable to do so. With that, let me just say that if you’ve ever attempted to contact me and not received a timely reply, I apologize. Rest assured, such cases are the exception and not the rule.

Even friends and family members who have my cell number will tell you I’m hard to get on the phone. That’s normally because I’ve left my cell phone in the truck, it’s turned off, or the battery is dead.  For some reason, the last place they think to call me is the house phone, even though that’s where I am 95% of the time these days.

Some whipmakers don’t have a phone number listed for customers to call, but I have a business number that has been listed on my website for a long time. I want to be accessible. If you call during my normal business hours, I may or may not be able to pick up the phone depending on what’s going on. I could be in town getting supplies, or I may be outside turning something on the lathe. My answering machine is an el’ cheapo and it will simply pick up and say “please leave a message,” if you do and I can understand your number, I’ll do my level best to call you back as soon as possible.

Also, please understand that my business line gets a lot of  junk solicitation calls, so I don’t always answer it even if I’m here simply because I don’t want to deal with the scammers trying to get money out of me for some made-up charity for which they allege to be working.

It’s not as if I’m some recluse who doesn’t like to talk to strangers. Trust me, those who do get me on the phone will tell you that I’ll talk your arm off! In fact, I probably spend too much time on the phone. I’d probably increase my productivity by 20% if I didn’t allow phone calls.

What are the best ways to contact me?

  1. The absolute best way to contact me is to fill out the form on the Contact Page of That will “automagically” send me an email with your request and I am normally very prompt in replying to these. I prefer this method.
  2. Phone: Calling during normal business hours. You may or may not get me, but I will return your call as soon as possible.

What are the not-so-best ways to contact me?

  1. Facebook is the worst! Though I spend too much time on Facebook, if you are not already “friends” with me on Facebook andsend a message to my personal account, I may or may not see it if Facebook sticks it in the “other” folder. Even on my Rhett Kelley Whipmaker page, it’s easy for me to miss it. Please avoid this method if at all possible.
  2. My Rhettswhips at Yahoo dot com email account: Though I’ve had it for over a decade, Yahoo still has a bad habit of thinking initial order inquiries are spam, and it sends them to the junk folder. I’ve found customer emails in that folder that were several weeks old. So at least for the initial attempt to reach me by email, this is not the best option.
  3. Snail Mail: Sometimes I go for a week or two without checking my PO box, so this is the really, really bad way to contact me.

I hope this somewhat helps to clear the air on why I am sometimes difficult to reach. I assure you that I’m not really trying to hide from my customers. This is basically a one man operation and I can’t afford to hire a secretary at this time.

[Late edit: I recently got a message from a customer asking me to fix a whip after he tried in vain for weeks to get a response from the whipmaker who originally made the whip. Yet, believe it or not, the whipmaker’s phone number and contact info is listed on his website. I’m doing my best to see that such is never said of me.]

[Another, even later edit: Another not-so-great way to contact me is by leaving a comment on my blog or on my Youtube videos. Please try one of the better methods listed above before posting a comment to get in touch with me as I may not see the blog comment right away]

Guided Tour of the New has a new look, new products, and a new way to order!

The first new tab you’ll notice on the navigation tab is the new online store. There you will find all of the nylon whips and other products that are available. Under the store tab you will find a FAQ page where I have attempted to post most of the common questions people ask me as well as a few hypothetical questions I think may arise from time to time.

As far as products, we have a few new additions to the site:

  1. The FCE stockwhip.
  2. 12 plait nylon bullwhips.
  3. Nylon Indiana Jones bullwhips.
  4. Paracord Survival Bracelets.
  5. Whip Basics DVDs.
  6. Whipmaking Kits.
  7. Rhett Kelley Whips t-shirts.
  8. Coreless Nylon Paracord
  9. How to Make Whips, by Ron Edwards


The 2nd tab is all “About,” there you will find a drop down that contains lots of information about myself and the business.

The 3rd tab is the Gallery. There you can find lots if pictures of whips I’ve made. I intend to keep this updated with new pictures on a regular basis.
The 4th is the Contact page. Please note the new business hours and email address.

The final tab is a link back to this blog.

And that’s about it for the tour. I hope it helps.
Rhett Kelley

Rhett Kelley Whips, LLC Relaunch

Stop by and see the newly remodeled!
New look, new products, and new lower prices on standard 16 plait bullwhips!