Letter From Dave
Dave Smith |Co-Owner of DSD
I’ll bet ya didn’t think this would be our most intensive project in 20 years of making decoys! Neither did we lol. There have been other projects that were very close. The two-piece honker and one-piece honker come to mind, but this snowie takes the cake and here’s some important details. As many of you know, it all started with our friend Alex Russo wanting to place an order for 5000 snows; “for starters”, as he put it, but he wanted a percentage of them painted as blues. In the past, for snows, we’ve painted our lesser canada’s, and painted our cacklers to make Ross’s geese. Now, the Cackler makes a REALLY nice Ross, but the Lesser Canada makes a “meh” snow. People love them because they have our finish, but they don’t win any awards for nailed snow goose anatomy (that’s a real award- we didn’t win it lol).
So the thought of making 5,000 or more snows and blues out of our lesser Canada molds didn’t sit well with us at all. The snows would look decent, but it was the blues we worried about. Snow geese have their signature elongated greater wing coverts. We don’t notice them as much on the white geese, but on the dark morph, these feathers are black with white edges; a cool trademark of the blue goose, and we can’t be making blue geese without them!
So we work and work on the sculptures and all the details and Brad, Greg, and Scott poll our customers, and even non-customers to learn what features would be needed to make them as good as we could possibly make them. We got tons and tons of great feedback and THANK YOU! Roughly in order of importance, according to all of you, unanimously, they needed to be:
1- DSD quality, DSD finish (shaped and colored accurately, molded legs, deep textured, pass the spectrometer test, no blueish, pure bright whites, yada yada).
2- Affordable (Everyone said they need LOT’S of decoys. 600 to 700 dollars a dozen wasn’t going to be all that useful to very many hunters. Ours will be priced at 369.99 per 10-pack of snows, 399.99 per 10 pack of blues (quantity discounts will be available, too).
3- Not just affordable, but also AVAILABLE (the sheer number of order requests already, and the size of each requested order, is astonishing- we need inventory!).
4- User-friendly (These will go out and pick-up faster and easier than any full-body snow) (you’re welcome! Lol ) (awesome motion system, huge motion cone similar to our short run of lessers in 2002 where we used the plastic funnels)
No one requested good customer service, but I’m adding that. We know that’s HUGE; you’re all just thinking about hunting and the decoys ha ha so I’m thinking of that for you. As much as we miss Robyn, and she will never be “replaced”, after her retirement, we now have Heather answering the phones and eager to help with customer service. Also, Scott Sprecher and Brad are hard at that, too, and the whole crew is an integral part of good customer service.
So obviously, there’s no way we can make the kinds of numbers of snow goose decoys needed. Even if we halted all goose and deer production for the next few years, we would never be able to keep up. Neither could we get the price down to an acceptable, useful point. Easy solution, send them to China, right? Literally the decoy-making capital of the world! Hold on! It’s not NEARLY that easy! Yes, in China, they will make you a decoy, and they make some decoys very well, but if you simply send them a sample decoy and ask them to make it, you’ll end up with- who knows what. Well, you’ll end up with a snow goose that’s very much like all the other snow goose decoys currently available. What has been an extensive, exhausting, but exciting, wildly interesting, and even fun project, has been carefully overseeing every minute detail of the entire process to make sure all of the fine points that make a decoy not just a decoy, but truly a DSD.
There are dozens of aspects of the production where you have the option to cut corners and save money. Some on materials, some on labor or molds. We were amazed the standard method
in China is for them to remake your decoy in a special kind of clay that can withstand the heat of molding. Like, literally look at your decoy, and they re-sculpture it on the spot. I freaked!! Run like the wind; turn and burn! Through lots of communication and search/research, we found a way to use our sculptures directly. We of course decided to not cut any corners. They have the “ability” to make PREMIUM decoys, they just don’t really get that request. None of the USA companies that have decoys made in China have ever made decoys themselves, so they don’t have any guidance, standards, or methods to offer. The majority of their orders are to cut, cut, cut costs to meet tight price points. So many decoy companies ship a decoy model over or just send drawings of what they want, and then wait and hope; not what we’ve been doing even remotely. I think they are fully tired of us and our strict production standards at this point lol. Since we can’t be there overseeing, we have giant-screen 4k video conferencing, plus a hired, full-time quality-control specialist working on behalf of DSD.
Will we ever go through this again for one decoy model? The world needs USA-made decoys and that’s been working for us and filling a niche. This project will be filling a niche that our customers have asked for: a super high quality, affordable, Full body Snow Goose: The DSD SNOW GOOSE!! Coming late summer/early Fall of 2019!