Semperfli is flying high after key award and show

Fly tying materials supplier Semperfli is winning both global friends and prestigious trade awards. TTW caught up with founders Ann and Andy Kitchener during the IFTD show to find out the secrets of its success.

TTW: Firstly, how was IFTD for you and the Semperfli team, especially as this was your first time exhibiting there?

Semperfli: IFTD was fantastic. There is a lot of love for Semperfli in the USA and we had the warmest welcome. Our stand was made up of people from the UK head office, our Semperfli US team and Pro Team members doing non-stop tying demonstrations, so our stand was very engaging and well supported. We worked hard to create an enticing space with a good mix of materials that shone so beautifully under the UV lights. It was a great opportunity to meet existing partners and meet many new customers. We have never been ‘papped’ so much!

Whilst some people said the show had fewer visitors through the door than expected, for us we were busy no- stop with very focused business owners coming to the stand.  To date, at the time of this interview, every fly business that came to the stand and interested in being a Semperfli partner has agreed to join us.

We produce our own tying materials. We carry huge inventory and at the same time our machines never stop working so we keep producing to maintain those stock levels. Our US team carries massive inventory too to be able to supply US stores quickly.

Time and time again we heard from fly businesses and factories that they are struggling to get materials these days from other manufacturers, but they know they can get good products from us so stores and factories are signing up to Semperfli for a good reliable and speedy delivery of materials. We joked that we should have had a banner at the show that said, “we produce wires, we have inventory, we can ship!”

So, we are all very happy with our first visit, exhibiting at IFTD!


TTW: Winning the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade 2022 which you found out about during IFTD, is a massive feather in your cap. How are you feeling?

Semperfli: To be honest we got quite emotional when we received notification of this prestigious award. We felt on top of the world, elated, and oh so proud. It was very hard not to be able to tell our colleagues and family as we had to stick to the embargo of the news but we did that show with the biggest smiles on our faces.

Having built Semperfli from the ground up to receive such an accolade means so much to us. We are still on a high and will be proudly showcasing our award and all that it means for many years to come.


TTW: You were also able to announce a key distribution deal with Tiemco hooks for the Japanese market. What will that do for your business?

Semperfli: Life is good for Semperfli with the immense positivity for our brand and products so to have announced our agreement with Tiemco at the show too was the icing on the cake. So many people had received the news and came up to the stand at IFTD to congratulate us. Word got out quickly!

Tiemco is such a well-regarded and respected company in the world of fly fishing and fly tying, we are very happy to be working with them and hope it reassures businesses and tyers worldwide of the calibre of our offering.  We are very excited about the future for our materials in Japan in Tiemco’s hands.


TTW: What would you say are the key ingredients of Semperfli’s impressive growth in recent years?

Semperfli: Thank you, we are indeed proud of our growth and we have worked hard to achieve this. There are a number of factors that we concentrate on. These are basically our four cornerstones:

Quality. We provide not only the highest quality materials for tyers but also the very best presentation of our products. This is all about the spooling, the packaging and more.

Take our spooling – there are no knots/tangles or ‘birds nests’ with a Semperfli spool of thread as our ultra-modern cutting edge spooling machinery ensures that with touching turns of wire/thread tyers will receive a beautifully spooled product that they can rely on. In terms of colour consistency, we dye to a pantone reference so tyers can be assured of dependable colour of their favourite material time and time again

Innovation. We do provide traditional materials that every tyer needs but we are absolute innovators. We bring out new materials each year that have key differentiators and will always be innovative.

Passion. Fly tying is all we do and we are obsessive about it. We concentrate on providing specialist products for the fly-tying world and do not hybridise others’ products or products from other markets. As our name says ‘Semperfli – always faithful, always fly’.

Customer service. We try our very best to look after our customers around the world.  Whilst we are a strictly trade only company, we absolutely value and want to support fly tyers around the world too who share a passion for fly tying and our materials. So our customers may be a major distributor, a fly shop or ultimately a fly tyer that we connect with on social media. We engage regularly with all our customers and use technology to its very best.  Zoom and our social media pages are kept very busy with us and our client meetings, Pro Team conferences or live demonstrations. We absolutely welcome all engagement with our friends, colleagues and followers. 


TTW: With all this success – and after many years of hard work – it must feel like you have finally come of age?

Semperfli: Yes, we do feel we have come of age to be honest and to be a supplier to so many major international respected brands, we feel we can hold our heads up high. This became really clear with the amazing Queen’s Award (the memory of that day when we heard will never leave us), recognition of the calibre of clients that we work with and then at the show when so many companies said so many wonderful things about us, our innovation, our materials (and that we have stock of course!)


TTW: What’s next for Semperfli?

Semperfli: We will continue to do what we do best, to be honest. We are often asked if we will diversify into other areas but we will stick to specialist tying materials of the highest quality. We will focus on growing our company and our customer base with an eye absolutely on product excellence and innovation.