Flying Fisherman inks exclusive deal with Russian distributor

After 27 years of working together, Russian tackle distributor Lotta-Olt and US-based eyewear manufacturer, Flying Fisherman, have signed an exclusive distribution agreement expanding Lotta-Olt’s territory to all of Russia.

Lotta-Olt is focusing on a renewed marketing strategy to expand brand awareness throughout Russia and increase sales of Flying Fisherman’s quality, affordable fishing products.

As often happens, it all started small. We know this from the history of many different businesses. In our case, it started from a travel bag with several dozen polarised glasses brought as luggage by Americans living in Moscow.

They were mutual acquaintances of the current partners — Pat and Linda Sheldon of Flying Fisherman and Russian fly-fishing enthusiasts Gennady and Elena Zharkov, who had just started their fishing business.

At the time, there was practically no market for fly fishing equipment in Russia. There were a couple of dozen fly fishermen in the whole country who all knew each other and most of the other fishermen had not even heard of the term “fly fishing.”

Not only is the Russian market different from the American market and even the European one but, at the time the sales of Flying Fisherman products began in Russia, local consumers did not know what polarised sunglasses were and why they were needed. We had to start practically everything from scratch.

Let’s not forget about the low ‘solvency’ in those days, either. In this regard, there is an important detail: Flying Fisherman’s sunglass display stands included a small, polarisation demo screen. A shopper without polarised glasses saw only an image of a water surface on the decal screen, until putting on the glasses – which immediately revealed a lot of fish “in the depths”. This made lasting impressions and significantly increased the demand.


Quality and price

The Flying Fisherman brand is now synonymous with very high quality for a fair price among anglers in Russia (and not just anglers). A whole generation of fly fishermen has grown up, for whom Flying Fisherman sunglasses are an integral part of their equipment and often of their fishing success.

So many years have passed and it seems like it was only yesterday. Over the years, the cooperation hasn’t stopped. It went through many economic ups and downs in both countries and changes in markets, distribution models and business structure. It continued through legislative complications and dramatic changes in the policy and relations between the United States and Russia.

A rather amusing fact – representatives of the two closely cooperating companies met for the first time in real life, at the IFTD exhibition, many years after the work had started!

Successful cooperation continues to this day, which indicates a solid foundation of the relationship. As it is the case only in the fishing equipment business, this is more than business; this is more than fishing — this is life itself!