To quote a famous songwriter…What a long strange trip its been! :=) After 31 years of designing and producing our own original designed hand sewn footbags and juggle balls, we can honestly say something that not many in the business can… we have blazed our own trail and followed no one in what we created. At first selling one or two footbags down at the Eugene Saturday Market meant we could order pizza that night. After a few years we started getting more and more business and eventually employed up to 10 local sewers not including the partners of Reed Gray, Dennis Ross and Jim Fitzgerald who combined hand sewed more than 100,000 footbags and juggle balls in our “made in Oregon” phase of the business. In the late 1980′s and early 1990′s Flying Clipper was producing thousands of handmade juggle balls for both Brian Dube and Klutz juggling, every one handmade in Eugene. Did you know that more handmade things come out of Eugene Oregon than any other city in the country? We were part of that movement. Footbag and juggle ball sales were at full swing for our made in Oregon products. To be truthful I am a living example of someone who has given all to his craft. If I knew then what I know now, I would have stopped sewing much earlier than I did. I now suffer greatly with repetitive motion problems and arthritis in the shoulders and arms. Just ask another famous hand sewer of juggle balls, Fergie about that, I am sure he would agree. However because of the high cost of labor in today’s competitive market, Flying Clipper decided to go offshore to begin producing products under our strict standard for quality for the wholesale market. We still produced our made in Oregon products for craft shows such as the Oregon Country Fair which Flying Clipper is part of and has been part of since 1984. Flying Clipper can also say that our original designs are the most copied around the world. If you go to Wikipedia and search the term “footbag” you will see a Flying Clipper original patented design offered as what a typical freestyle footbag looks like (the patent has run its course) . There is a good chance that Flying Clipper made THAT footbag!
Its great to be able to say that we are still putting out new products to meet an ever changing market. We can safely say that we are experts in how to design and produce handmade balls. I think we are changing peoples minds about handmade balls and the cross over between footbags and juggle balls is now becoming part of the culture with hands and feet jugglers such as the great Peter Irish and Jorden Moir who both enjoy using Flying Clipper products for their performances. It has been a long strange trip…but there is more yet to come. A big thanks to all of our long time supporters out there, you know who you are and we salute you! Please join us in saying Happy birthday Flying Clipper!!!
Jim Fitzgerald, Dennis Ross, Reed Gray at the 1984 Oregon Country Fair