Mass Production Mk
II - 1991-92
Looking around the ranks of imported lures (which by this time were taking
a hammering from the local cottage industry) we saw that injection moulding
was the way to go. Unit costs could be reduced to support competitive
pricing, though the downside was breathtaking startup capital requirements
for small fish like us.
But the bullet was bit and we went into mortgaged sized debt to
fund moulds and the ancillary equipment needed to bring the manufacturing
back in house. Geoff and Cheryl Reid (Reidy's Lures) influenced
and assisted our transition to injection moulding technology. At the same
time, Downunder Lures Pty Ltd was registered.
Because of tooling costs, we were forced to drop one model from our stable
of three lures. Reluctantly, we let the 40mm MinMin go; a project for
first two moulds were bodies for the 80mm Boomerang
and 65mm Boomerang (lengthened by 5mm from the
old 60mm urethane version).
1992 saw the first hollow (hey, we can rattle now!) moulded Boomerangs
hit the market, sporting pad-printed rather than stencilled patterns,
and the same laser cut polycarbonate bibs introduced in the Lively Lures
era. With injection moulding, we adopted a modular approach to product
development. Using different bibs we launched seven models in quick succession,
based on the 80mm (3) and 65mm (4) Boomerang bodies.
workforce consisted of just the three company directors, all of whom still
had day jobs. Again, manufacturing became a spare time activity, conducted
in 3 locations because we lived in different places (Inverell, Casino
and Elsmore). It wasn't ideal, but the only way to spread the work around.
Result? Like all fishing lure manufacturers, we spent less time fishing
and more time designing, manufacturing and marketing product, and doing
all the other things associated with running a small business.
But...hey!.... we weren't complaining. We knew we were in this game for
the long haul and the early hard yards were a labour of love.
To achieve better market penetration, distributors were neede to cover
all states of Australia. We received enquiries from a number of businesses
because our lures had a ready-made reputation. Today, our products are
represented by an effective and loyal distributor network.
In 1993, we invested in moulds for bibs to lift quality and further reduce
component costs. We were the first Australian manufacturer to use moulded
polycarbonate bibs. These are superior to laser cut bibs and less expensive
on a unit cost basis. The capital expense of moulds is what keeps smaller
manufacturers loyal to laser cut bibs.
radical Jindivik bib was our first, and designed to deliver a speciallised
rock and roll action favoured by barramundi experts. The Jindivik
became the fourth variant of the original 80mm Boomerang body, and remains
a perennial best seller. Funny, that, considering one of our outspoken
competitors declared it would never swim when he first saw the rakish
Introduced with the Jindivik bib was our stainless steel towing plate,
a heavy duty alternative to the Omega clip. Again, this innovation was
copied by local competitors and some overseas manufacturers. What's
that they say about imitation being the sincerest form of flattery?
Restructure corporate buzzword of the 90's touched
small time Downunder as well. The difficulties of geographically dislocated
production, and health issues for one of the Directors led to the consolidation
of all manufacturing activities in Inverell. It was 1994, the year we
launched the 90mm Woomera our first tow-from-the-nose
lure and the dual action Woomera Skitzo.
Nineteen ninety four also marked our first small export order to Sri Lanka.
The business was becoming too much to handle on a part-time basis and
we began employing labour.
in 1995 we built a modest factory in rented space above the Gaukroger
Holden dealership in Inverell. That year we launched two more body styles;
the 140mm Viper; and 85mm Bandit,
which used existing bib designs.