By Steve Wall
How did you start the company?
I have had a bow since I was a little kid but in the rural area where we live archery resources were very limited. Years later when I started hunting the bows were heavy with cast risers and steel control cables. I was working for a machinist and heard about a company who was making archery components for a variety of companies such as Martin, Tenpoint and more. I applied and started working there within a couple of months. Risers were then starting to be made in CNC machines instead of molds. We were making risers, cams and many other machined archery components. They also had an extrusion line that was producing vanes. I was asked to give the extrusion line a go.
For the next 8 years I ran the extruded vanes for them, during that time we made vanes of softer materials that had great adhesion properties but lacked stiffness and tore easily. The company was a bit resistant to change even though a need for a stiffer stronger vanes was there. The urethane I wanted to use required more specialized equipment to process. Sometime around April of 2002 I left the company. Wanting to stay in the area with a declining economy ( lack of logging) I teamed up with one of my last employers previous owners and we wrote up a business plan. Shortly after we started building machinery to produce a stiffer, tougher and more consistent vane. Our process allowed us to process the urethane without any plasticizers or mold release that could affect adhesion.
What do your customers say about your products?
Without a large advertising budget it was hard to convince people of our quality so for the next few years we offered free samples to anyone who requested them. Word of mouth worked well for us. We are not typical salesmen, the products we wanted to offer were products that we would be proud to have in our quiver.
With 12 sizes , 5 profiles and 13 colors we now have a product for any style of shooting. All made with the same size and weight consistency as the next. Our customers expect the vanes to be quiet, durable and extremely accurate while keeping weight to a minimum. The efficiency of our process also allows us to keep our prices comparably low.
What are your most popular products and who is your target audience?
Our most popular vane changes almost every year. In the past 4-5” vanes were very popular. With the stiffer materials now the most popular sizes typically range from 2-3”. Everything in archery has become more accurate and streamlined to allow these smaller sizes of vanes to achieve the same or better flight than the longer heavier vanes.
We have vanes for everyone but we really enjoy feedback from the most critical archers, hardcore bowhunters to top level pros. These archers tend to pick apart every aspect of the vane and if we can meet their needs we know that every other archer will be satisfied.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
I like a lot about what we do here, there is a lot of satisfaction building a product you truly believe in but I have to say our favorite thing is product testing. Our very first prototypes killed an elk before they were sent to any customers. The Urethane 3” I shot was quiet enough for a 75 yard shot on an unsuspecting animal and I was able to use the arrow, vanes included-again.
What is your favorite hunting or fishing memory?
As far as my favorite hunting and fishing memories…Very tough. That is primarily what we do. Watching the twins shoot their first bear, or land their first salmon would be up there. Packing a toddler to a downed bull elk and watching their expression as you approached is pretty priceless too. We are a family run company, all of us are dedicated to archery and the outdoors. This used to be very common throughout the sport, but unfortunately less and less all the time.
Facebook: Vanetec Inc.
Comments from Wisconsin Outdoor Pursuits:
When looking at archery equipment, vanes can sometimes be overlooked as one of the most critical components. Strong, durable vanes will improve your shooting consistency. If you are interested in some of the best vanes on the market be sure you check out VaneTec!
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