Sitting Down with Champions Tour Angler Daniel Fabiano
Daniel Fabiano has been an entrepreneur his whole life. He started his first business at the age of 13 years old.
The New Jersey native grew up around fishing, like so many of us do, but left it behind when he found his passion for rollerblading in his early teens. When the industry he loved began to fade, Fabiano took the leap of faith back to his roots of fishing.
When he started in textile goods in the rollerblading and skate world, Fabiano remembers it being a struggle to gain traction. Once he began to expand into hard goods the profits expanded with him, “when I made my second company in my mid-twenties I focused more on the hardware and pushed my design and manufacturing limits creating wheels, bearings and protection gear. That’s when I started seeing profits and watched my business get over that plateau it was at. So I saw that if I ever do anything outside of rollerblading I won’t just stick to textiles.”
Through 16 years of business in the rollerblading and skate industries, Dan started to see the death of the industry he grew up in unfold before him. He moved back to Minnesota in what he calls his “transition year” after he could no longer compete on the pro level of rollerblading and his business was in massive decline, he had to find a new avenue for his creative and design skills. “I took an entire year and a half to figure out my next steps, I really wanted to get back to my childhood roots and what I was passionate about because I’ve always built businesses around my passions.”
That’s when he connected with some old rollerblading buddies that had all left the scene; they were into bass fishing now and encouraged him to step into the industry as well. “I began to do as much research as I could, boats, lures, techniques, watching YouTube videos. I actually thought about being a content creator on YouTube with my background in videography. I had done shoots for magazines and music videos for rappers.
Fabiano decided to spend the next year focusing on competing and growing a new business, trying to transform his brand Con.Artist into Con.Artist Outfitters and people got behind the name and idea, but Fabiano still felt like something was missing.
“I was always in a flip flop about my name Con.Artist, people either loved it or hated it. I didn’t want to bring that into a new industry and so my family grew up in military manufacturing in New Jersey so I was around the arsenals and projectiles we were producing and I always wanted my skate brand to be arsenal, but it never fit. After the first year of Con.Artist Outfitters I had a guy named Tom Rodriguez join my bass club who was hand tying jigs under the name Arsenal Jigs and I told him my background and asked for his blessing in using the name Arsenal if he was never going to actually take his company anywhere and he said go for it.”
Thus, Arsenal Fishing was born. Fabiano said it took nearly six months to design the look and logo for Arsenal which he wanted to be simple, but still make a statement and be easily recognizable. Once Dan felt like the brand had some gravity he began to pour more money into designing products like the neko/wacky tool, making soft plastic molds, and all his cut and sew clothing which he designs and dictates all the materials for.
Dan believes what sets Arsenal apart is his hands on attitude and the fact that every product he has is designed specifically for Arsenal and no other brands like his. “You can go around the store and look at soft plastic craws and find seven different companies that are all the same mold, I don’t want that and I will never sell out my molds to another company no matter how much money they would offer me because I want to build my own empire and I won’t sell out. It might take 5 years or 25 years but I’m still gonna try it.”
Despite a minor setback with suppliers early in the year, Fabiano says this has already been a big year with his custom apparel and jerseys for clubs, teams, and individual anglers alike doing well and major retailers like Tackle Warehouse ordering his neko/wacky tool by the hundreds the quality and detail keep consumers coming back for more.
On top of the products themselves Dan prides himself on burning the candle at both ends with exceptional customer service no matter what time of day. Emails, phone calls, and social media messages are all handled promptly and professionally which is becoming increasingly important in an on-demand and downright impatient market.
Arsenal Fishing continues to grow and with that growth comes the potential for expansion as Fabiano looks to add employees next year to afford him more time to develop new ideas and ramp up his production and maybe give him a little more time to practice for Champions Tour events as well.
The Champions Tour is proud to have Arsenal as a sponsor and looks forward to the growth both brands are making together.