“I can’t say that I know much about the whole man-jewelry market,” I said.
Edgar Diaz laughed at my hesitance. “I get that a lot,” he said. “But some really manly men have picked up a cuff or two and wear it all the time.”
And here I am, about a month later, wearing mine all the time.
You can’t help but be drawn in to the style of a piece from Sight Line Provisions. The cuffs (that is the gender-neutral, acceptable to manly men term for bracelet) feature rugged leather, industrial rivets, and metallic outdoor images. The word artisanal comes to mind. More than that, the cuffs immediately take your mind to thoughts about fish, fishing, and nature.
Diaz, the artist and entrepreneur behind Sight Line, sees that as the purpose of his cuffs. “Sight Line is all about what you are looking at, or maybe even just what you are thinking about,” he says. The name for the company came about when he was taking a trip out west with his family. “Like so many of us, my kids were looking down at their screens when there was just so much amazing scenery going by. I started asking them ‘what is in your sight line’ incessantly; just to get them thinking about what they could be seeing. It became kind of a running joke, but it stuck. I like the idea of really focusing on what you’re thinking about or actually looking at.”
Where does a bracelet come in?
For years, Diaz has been creating and selling leather and metal jewelry. His growing love for fly fishing flowed over into that business, and Sight Line was born.
What sets Sight Line apart from so many fly fishing or outdoor lifestyle brands is the handmade, almost boutique nature of the products. What Diaz produces is all that is available. Limited runs are actually limited. He runs an online store, and supplies a growing number of retailers with a selection of his goods. “I really want to focus on quality, handmade products,” he says. With any modicum of success, the allure of expansion is present. But a significant shift in operations would really be counter-intuitive to the philosophy of the Sight Line brand.
Even though the fly fishing market is miniscule in the outdoor (and even within the fishing) space, there are countless examples of small-time companies making it big. Generally, this results in a change to production, operations, or even ownership. While trying to make a profit or provide to the largest consumer base possible is perfectly fine, there are some who will lament losing the personal touch of a mom-and-pop fly fishing establishment.
Whether it be fly rods, drift boats, or bracelets, the consumer has to make decisions. First is usually: What kind of product do I want? Then, the question may very well be: To what kind of company do I want to give my dollar?
The traditional powers in the fly fishing industry are taking notice that the vast majority of anglers, particularly those of the sub-40 age demographic, appreciate the artisanal offerings of smaller brands. Top-names have released marketing that touts handmade, created in the USA, and we’re just fly fishers – just like you references. The quality and personal nature of products like those of Sight Line, be they gear or apparel, has real appeal.
Diaz’ genuine humility makes the whole thing even more appealing. “Bottom line is that people like the look. Then, they are really impressed when they pick it up.” The cuffs, wallets, and beverage holsters that Sight Line produces are popping up all over social media. It all goes back to the passionate nature of fly fishers wanting a little bit of their sport, their pastime, the other part of their life infused into their everyday life.
Honestly, I wanted a picture of me cradling a big trout at the top of this article. I’d be wearing my Sight Line Provisions Trout 2.0, and there would be this cool image of my fish alongside the metal fish on the cuff. I even joked with Edgar that getting a cuff would give me an excuse to go fishing for photographic purposes. But even though I got out a few times nothing really worked out for that picture. Thinking about it this past week, I realized that wearing my cuff to work, to church, to dinners was just as legitimate. It was a conversation starter. I was able to talk about fly fishing to a remarkable number of people these past few days because of the cuff.
And intermittently looking down, I’d see it and think about fly fishing too. Having something cool and unique afforded me another way to literally keep my passion in my sight line. Even, as it turns out, when I am just sitting behind my keyboard.