Chat with Cody Greenwood at the TradLab

The TradLab

For those of you who don’t know Cody Greenwood he is the founder of Tradlab (https://www.thetradlab.com/) over in the USA. He has a background the field of analytics and is now focusing this expertise on traditional archery.
He has been working with the guys at The Push on a series of podcasts looking at arrow flight and the elements that effect it such as number, size of fetching, etc.. These are well worth listening to, offering some great advice and suggestions.
For those interested here is a link back to the Push article I wrote a while back.
anyway lets get started.
Rob – For the readers who might not have heard of you Cody, how about introducing yourself and explaining how you first got into archery?
Cody – I have a background in Continuous Improvement.
Rob – that phrase brings back memories of my university studies of engineering. Sorry please carry on.
Cody – I have been shooting archery since I was old enough to draw a bow. I hunted as I grew up and my passion for Archery has consistently increased with every year. I have just begun to get into the competition side of Archery.
I am developing as I now start to tackle the mental side of Trad.
Rob – the mental side is a whole new ball game that is often overlooked with some trad archers.
Listening again to the podcasts which you did with the guys at The Push, you said how you wanted to put something back into the hobby. So why set up the Tradlab, isn’t there enough information out there for people?
Traditional Archery changed for me last year at IBO Worlds. Dewayne Martin turned to me and said 95% of what you learned about Traditional Archery from the internet is false. I spent the afternoon shooting with those guys and during that time I realized he was correct.
A close friend who also competes spent countless hours Coaching me as I had to unlearn so many things.
I was shocked at how much time I had wasted trying to learn from the “Internet Archers”.
Rob – wow that is quite a revelation. Maybe a flip side of this is some of those internet archers believe they are being beneficial. YouTube has been a massive success over the years for people who want to share advice and ideas.
I have to say I do agree in some ways, as with my coaching hat on I’ve spent a few sessions with archers, helping them unlearn bad habits. Some of which they have picked up from YouTube.
Do you think its partly down to not being able to identify easily what is appropriate or right?

What a great quote – from the TradLab pages

I set out to expose this and TradLab was a result. I am using my skillset from my profession to test equipment and theories.
Rob – kind of a like a mythbusters approach in some ways?
My ultimate goal is to get people to go to the large shoots.
Rob – i think you are selling yourself short there Cody. I think you are trying to provide evidence based results to help the community as a whole.
A lot of what you covered in the podcasts are of benefit to hunters, field archers and social shooters.
Rob – Do you find the analytics of archery as interesting as actually shooting?
No absolutely not, I would much rather shoot versus study and test.
As a matter of fact I fear that I may be encouraging some to tinker in excess. We need to develop ourselves as Archers not constantly tinker with equipment.
Rob – My old coach always said, “Learn to shoot before you tinker with anything.”
As a coach myself I have often seen people tinker with there set up believing it would help, when in reality they would be better focusing on their own form or shot sequence.
My goal is to leverage my analytical base to save others from having to test with one factor at a time trial and error. This should enable them to focus on their shot versus testing.
Rob – I have to say the inner nerd in me loves to track and record stuff for improvements in future so hearing that someone else is also doing this makes me happy.
Where do you see yourself going with your archery and the TradLab over the next few years?
The future of TradLab is not clear to me at this time. I know I want to add more value than I take from this community.
My primary goal is to give back. If it turns into a sustainable business that adds value I will apply effort and time. If I find that TradLab becomes anything less than value add for the Community I will stop. I do not have any revenue coming in from TradLab at this point.
I do know there is a lot of bad information and products in our community. I will articulate this through my testing.
On my site I have limbs that sell for $800 that perform worse than $400 limbs. I want people to see this and make good product choices.
Rob – I can appreciate that sentiment. I’ve always tried to be unbiased in my reviews so people can have the facts and make their own minds up.
Rob – How can people get involved if they want to?
People can contact me through my website www.TheTradLab.com, instagram or my facebook page. They can also reach out the folks at Push archery.
I am always interested in theories or new product testing.
Thanks for taking the time to go through this. I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you the best of luck with the TradLab. Looking forward to more reviews and research over the next few months.
For those interested here is a link to The Push (https://thepusharchery.com/)
Thanks for reading

Insight into Shires Archery

Some of you may recall a while back, me writing about a development with this site.

The idea is to create an opportunity for shops and businesses to offer an insight into the business, more so than they might be able to glean from a website. More of a light hearted overview than a dry news story. This is the first.

Action shot

Action shot

Rob – So where is Shire Archery based?

Trevor  – We are exclusively online at the moment but are looking to change that in the near future. I am a few miles north of my home town- Chesterfield famed for its bustling market and Church Spire which is both twisted and bent! It is a good spot to live being close to the Peak District National Park and having the ‘Dukeries’ on my door step, which are contiguous and include Sherwood Forest- famed for a certain Mr. Hood. All in all I feel rather lucky to live here, so the opportunity to welcome customers to the area I am enthusiastic about.

Rob – So readers might like to know about you or the business in general? How long have you been doing what you do?

Trevor  – About 13 years now including the official opening. I had shot and had some experience early on but my first real taste of Traditional archery came in the summer of 2003. I was living and working with a blacksmith just outside of Budapest. He had four Hungarian bows made totally out of wood, horn & sinew laminate. He had made them himself as a deep interest in his cultural heritage. As you can imagine being English and romancing the Longbow we had a lot to talk about. One warm evening whilst he was tending to the fruit trees beside his workshop, he went inside and along with two beers, brought the bows for us to shoot… I was hooked.

Rob – What a great way to start a journey into archery.

Rob – How did the business get started? Was it a hobby that grew into a business or maybe, a family business?

Trevor  – I had worked as a blacksmith in Wales after University for about 5 years traveling back and forth around Europe and the UK, I met some amazing people, skilled and incredibly welcoming. So I took the idea of operating a ‘craft business’ seriously from 1st hand experience of its highs and lows. With a wealth of knowledge and contacts I did not realize i had at the time I started to lay the foundations for my own endeavour in 2008 whilst working for a local engineering company.

Local archers and people from all over had contacted me throughout that time on recommendation to make arrows or source hard to find materials, so I took the plunge with Shire Archery opening as a business in March 2012. It took everything I had and then some, but it has been worth it.

Rob – I always think that launching your own business is incredibly brave but if it’s something you love and feel passionate about then go for it.

Trevor  – I will tell you a little secret- made the phone call to register on a windy day in Edinburgh from The Doric Tavern, a pint of Ale in front of me, with the realization of the enormity of what I was about to do.

Rob – If that had been me I think it would have been a large single malt. Please carry on.

Trevor  – I wanted to create a workshop space to carry on making, with a specialist web shop & physical sales space, all for the traditional archer from the ground up.

Rob – So is it a one man show or a team of archery enthusiastic people behind the scenes?

Trevor  – It’s just me at the moment but I have a really good team around me I can call upon, whom I trust in their own specialisms be it technical, photography or administrative support, they have been absolutely essential to the business as it quickly grew beyond my original plan and expectations. I am always doing something so it certainly keeps me busy; I can only dream of a day spent chewing the fat with customers and drinking more coffee than is good for me.

Resting in the woods

Resting in the woods

Rob – Sounds great. It might be worth explaining the range of products you sell, whether you manufacture them yourself? The hobby or sport of archery is incredibly diverse, from target to field, traditional to very technical Olympic set ups.

Trevor  – The product side of things is pure Trad and I have no plans to change that. It has expanded in range and scope to well over 200 core items with more expected. The choice goes beyond the usual stock of wooden shafts, fletchings, arrow heads and equipment for the archer. Although this is an essential solid base we also stock many archery related items of kit, gifts, supply hard to find natural materials and make arrows on request.We also take a lot of pre-orders and special requests which I am happy to see if we can help with.

I am always searching for interesting products or crafts people who would like mutual support- I would like to expand the bow side of things next.

Rob – Do you see yourself as a specialist in one area and if so why did you specialize?

Trevor  – I do yes my personal interest and background is in the Trad and crafts side of things, so I lean heavily in that direction, product quality is paramount to me so I don’t sell anything I am not happy to use myself. It is not that I am not interested in the modern stuff its amazing to be honest and the technical side of it astonishing. It’s just not ‘my cup of tea’ and as a business I want to be concise in what we offer and what we do.

Rob – Where do you see yourself fitting in?

Trevor  – We aren’t the biggest but we are certainly trying hard to be up there with the best in our niche. No one, not even the big pro-shops can stock everything in every conceivable variation there is just to much choice and its always changing. I have no interest in expanding so much so that it becomes ‘just a job’ or that I feel like I have become a slave to it. I love archery and that is something shared by our customers. The support out there from the traditional archery community has been amazing and I can only say thank you, as without it we would not exist.

Rob – What’s the appeal to you?

Trevor  – The modern notion that items which are made by hand are cruder, quaint, expensive or inferior compared to those that are mass manufactured or branded I find utterly bizarre.

Action shot

Thinking man

Rob – Where’s the Love! The time! The passion!

Trevor  – The real appeal beyond working for myself is ‘seein folk rayt’ as they say around here, our customers span the whole gambit of traditional d archery (http://shirearchery.co.uk/traditional-archery) and are international, being able to either help them out or supply them with something they value in our shared passion is the driver for me

If I had to have a simple mission statement for ‘Shire Archery’ that summarizes all this it would be-

Trevor  – “Raising the Profile of Trad-Archery”

Rob – thanks Trevor

I sincerely hope you find continuing success with both the business and your archery. I’m sure this article will help to increase people’s awareness of Shire Archery.

For those wanting to to contact Trevor Lilley at Shires Archery here are their details.

Website – http://www.shirearchery.co.uk/

Email – shirearchery@hotmail.co.uk Telephone – 01246 477119 / 07581726161

Thanks for reading