Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Plea for Integrity

After you read this, please see my follow-up article as well!

I really wish I wasn’t having to write this article. But, as a whipmaker who has been selling whips online since 2001, I think there comes a time when someone has to “call a time-out” and address something that is allegedly going on within our small community.

Dishonesty in Our Midst

It has come to my attention that there’s a whipmaker selling nylon whips that is being less than honest in his product descriptions. This was discovered by someone who’s first experience with nylon was with a whip I made. The customer liked the whip and started ordering other styles from other vendors.

The customer ordered a 7ft nylon bullwhip from someone that advertised it as having 2 plaited bellies. Noticing something was amiss, the customer did what most would not, and opened it up and found that the whip had no plaited bellies at all! In fact, it contained what probably amounted to several rolls of wrapped black electrical tape!

For the record, I do not know who the offender is and I told the customer I didn’t want to know, at least for now.

I also know that the offender is apparently NOT a newbie; he’s part of the “varisity team.” I think this makes the allegations even more disappointing. I expect this sort of thing from the fly-by-nights and hucksters on eBay, but not from among the better known nylon plaiting establishment. Varsity whipmakers should have enough personal integrity to be honest in their descriptions and sell what they claim to sell. I honestly don’t have a problem with someone making whips with tape bellies, but they should describe and sell it as a wrapped tape belly -and price it accordingly! Don’t say it has “2 plaited bellies,” when in reality, it contains a dozen rolls of wrapped electrical tape!

(What I do know for certain, based on the information I received, was that it IS NOT Steve Huntress at Noreast Whips and that the whipmaker is based in the United States) [edited 10/15/2013 @ 3:24pm]

Those of us who have been around for a decade or more selling synthetic whips will recall a time when nylon was somewhat frowned upon in the whip cracking community.  Many of us have worked very hard to produce the best product we can in order to get synthetic whips to the place they are today. And that’s the point, we did our best and we were honest in our dealings: that’s why we’re still around and nylon whips so widely used today!

If there are people within the whipmaking community deceiving their buyers and turning out garbage, it’s inevitably going to hurt those of us who have worked very hard to get where we are.. In fact, the customer who brought this to my attention said that if the tape-bellied bullwhip had been their first experience with nylon, she would have not bought any more synthetic whips! Think about that for a second my fellow synthetic whipmakers!

To the person who is guilty of this charge:

12 of these wrapped ≠ 2 plaited bellies

12 of these wrapped ≠ 2 plaited bellies

I don’t know who you are, but I realize you could be someone I know; maybe even someone I number among my friends in the whipmaking community.  I sincerely hope you will make amends, or at the very least, make your descriptions match what you are really selling. You’re only going to end up hurting your own reputation as people figure out what you’re doing. You have everything to lose and nothing to gain from these deceitful practices.

You’re very lucky this customer is not willing to see you publicly thrashed. I believe you truly deserve to be called into account for this practice. I guarantee that if you continue to do this, it won’t be long before someone else finds out and exposes you. Do yourself a favor and do things right.

You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; you shall not lie to one another.” -Leviticus 19: 11(ESV)

“You shall do no wrong in judgment, in measures of length or weight or quantity. You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin: I am the Lord your God,…”  Leviticus 19: 35-36 (ESV)

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,” -Colossians 3: 23 (ESV)

“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.” -Proverbs 22: 1 (ESV)

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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.


Fall Bullwhip Sale through Oct 5th!

Nylon BullwhipNow through October 5th, all bullwhips with plaited handles are on sale with $25.00 off the base price.

Please note: Standard ordering policies apply to whips ordered during this sale. All orders will placed on my order list to be built on a first come first serve basis.


Dene Williams Leather Splitter on eBay

splitter

Click here to see the 10 day listing.

About 4 years ago, I thought I wanted to get into making leather whips and I started accumulating some things. Having already established my name widely as a maker of nylon whips, I soon found that I would just never have the time to pursue making leather whips because I’m always so backlogged with orders. I am now selling off the remaining supplies I had in order to reinvest the money in my apiary in order to fulfill my plans for moving into beekeeping as my full time profession.

The items I’m selling:

1. Dene Williams Handheld Leather Splitter:

This leather splitter was made in Australia. I bought it directly from Dene Williams himself. These sell new for $165.00 –if you can find them! As I understand, Mr. Williams has not made any in a while and won’t be making any more until sometime after the start of 2014. That means supplies are limited. I used it for probably for a grand total of 30 minutes splitting some lace and I haven’t touched it since. It has been sitting out on my work bench gathering dust in the shed. If you want to get one of these coveted leather splitters now rather than later, this is your chance.

2. David Morgan lace cutter.

These are readily available from David Morgan. This was a gift from another whipmaker and I hate to sell it just because of that, but I have no need of it and I’m tossing it in…

3. R.M. Williams Lace Cutter:

This is a very common lace cutter in most leather whip shops. I cannot remember where I got it, but it was lightly used as well. Will need new blades. Tossing it in too.

4. Kip hide from the UK

This piece of kip came from the UK. It’s about 1.7mm thick and I put the yard stick in the photo to give you an idea of the size. I cut a good bit off of it in a circular fashion to make some lace for a cow whip I was making so this is mostly the center part of the hide.It has some stains and such, but I’m not a “leather guy” so that’s about all I know.

5. Black Deer Leather from Australia

I got this piece from Simon Martin. It’s roughly 1.7mm or so thick (estimated) and Simon said the shoulders had been cut off and sold before I got it from him. All I really know for sure is that it’s black, deer, and it came from Oz. Again, not a “leather guy” so that’s about all I can say. Selling it as-is and the yard stick is in the picture to give you an idea of how large it is.

So there you have it. Win this auction and you will have purchased what remains of Rhett Kelley’s short lived experiment in making leather whips.

Rest assured, your purchase price (after eBay and Paypal fees) will go to support a good cause: Supporting the bees of Kelley Honeybee Farm!


“Is there a discount for matched pairs?”

FCE stockwhips

FCE stockwhip Pair

The title of this post is a question I’ve gotten a few times lately, so I figure it was about time to address it here on the blog.

The fact is, I do not offer a discount on matched sets, there’s actually a fee associated with it. At first glance it seems odd because it is common practice for sellers to offer discounts for multiple purchases. Such is the case with many of the beekeeping supply companies I deal with where the more of an item I buy, the less per item I pay. So in light of that, I realize it may seem counterintuitive to people that I would charge more for a pair of whips.

The reason why I charge more for matching a pair of whips is simple: it takes much more time and focus to make a matching set of whips.  I’m not sure how others do them, but for me, making a set of whips match is not as simple as just making two whips back to back. When I make a matched set, I spend much more time on it and it is more painstaking because I really try to get the whips to be as matched as possible. This means I’m constantly going back and worth between the two, repeating every step as closely as possible. Every step is worked, compared, and sometimes reworked. It’s lots of work… Or, maybe I just stress out about it more than some.

Here’s an example: Right now I have a matched set of 8ft, 16 plait bullwhips on my waiting list. I can make one 8ft, 16 plait bullwhip in a day; two of them in two days, but because it’s a matched set, I’m pretty sure that this order could end up taking me three days. To me, it is only logical to charge a little more for doing a job that will require even more time, skill, and focus to accomplish. I try to keep it reasonable; the most I charge extra is $75.00 for most types of whips and just $25.00 extra on a set of FCE stockwhips because the handles are prefab and I only have to handcraft and match the thongs.

Again, I realize that some may disagree with this policy and that’s okay. I hope that this article will give folks some incite as to why I do charge more on matched pairs. It has nothing to do with being greedy or wanting to discourage two-handed whip cracking.

Thankfully the online whip market is still very much a free market, so no one is forced to buy anything. Those who see the value in what I do will have no problem paying what I ask, those who do not see the value will go elsewhere. Either way, no one is being defrauded.

-Rhett

http://cowwhips.com


Whip Making Tutorial Introduction Free on Youtube

I’ve just made the first section of my whip making tutorial available publicly on Youtube for the first time.  It’s my introduction all the way through making a keeper and adding weight for the belly.  The rest of the tutorial is available on DVD, for sale at http://www.cowwhips.com/whip-making-dvds/


USPS adding to wait time

post officeI’ve used USPS Priority mail service almost exclusively for all the years I have been shipping whips. Except for a few minor issues here and there, I have always found the service to be reliable. I never had a whip lost or damaged. USPS provides free boxes that fit most of my whips and the prices are lower than other services. Overall, I’ve found it to be a great value and have come to rely upon it.

Lots of changes have been made recently with the U.S. Postal Service and their website is touting improvements to Priority Mail. Some of the changes and realignments to their sorting centers have actually had a negative impact on the quality of service based upon my experience. Those who receive USPS shipping notifications from me should be aware that this recent decline in service could add a few days to your waiting time. Packages that are supposed to take from 1 to 3 days are now taking from 4 to 12 days. International transit times for my packages are equally abysmal.

I recently spoke with a manager from their consumer affairs division about the lagging transit times and he said that, overall, their transit times are largely within their goals, but that the recent changes USPS made are directly impacting me. He assured me that they are doing all they can to work out the bugs. I could switch to other shippers, but I want to keep prices low.

For now, I guess I just happen to be shipping from a location that’s 4 to 12 days from everywhere. Just keep that in mind when you receive your shipping notification.

everitt mcgill