It’s time for Fencing.Net to evolve again.
We’re officially closing our warehouse on December 30, 2014 and migrating all equipment sales to our partners.
Why is this happening? There are a lot of reasons, but primarily because my kids are getting older and I want to spend my evenings and weekends with them – be it as a spectator, coach, or child sports Uber driver. I’ve also found another professional outlet that lets me focus on what I do well and doesn’t demand I spend my time on those things I’ve found I’m not as good at.
Running an equipment business is a tough job – even tougher given the competitive landscape and need to travel to large events. When not at the store, or on the road, there’s a flood of email, supply chain, and other issues to deal with. Some of the businesses are great at managing all of that; I was quickly getting burned out and losing my love for fencing.
A second reason is that the equipment business was built as a way to support the mission of creating a good editorial web site in Fencing.Net. For a while that worked, but at some point the focus had to become equipment sales and developing content took a back seat to the activities that needed to happen to fund the site.
I’m thankful for the time I’ve had running this business. The community around Fencing.Net has been great and many people in fencing have provided support and advice through the years. I started Fencing.Net in 1995 and then the equipment business started in 2005, so we’ve had a great run so far.
I’m also thankful that all of my former employees grew out of their jobs at Fencing.Net and moved on to bigger and better things. They’ve all grown personally and professionally – some staying in fencing and some moving on to other industries.
My intention is to return to focus on good content. That also takes time, but with the stress of running the equipment side removed I can focus on the content side.
I’ll still be running an online store, but instead of shipping our own items out, 99% of it will ship through partner vendors. My plan is for any of the earnings from equipment sales (or other sponsorships/advertising) to be spent on developing content (paying writers) or improving the site in other ways – a good, robust product review system is something I’ve wanted to invest in for a while now.
I have one thing to ask of you all – Fencing is a community and is only as good as we make it. Fencing provided me a place to grow as a person and the love of the sport and community led me to create this site. For all of you, make your clubs great communities. Don’t put up with the political in-fighting, ref-blaming, and club vs. club hatreds that have popped up. We’re still a small, niche sport, and are misunderstood enough by others. We don’t need to be tearing ourselves down.
Support your local fencing clubs. Go to the local events, buy their t-shirts (as long as the art doesn’t suck), and congratulate your opponents on hard-fought bouts – win or lose.
It’s been an honor serving you these past 10 years. I hope to continue to do so in the future.