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Caleb Harris

How To Pitch Your Knives

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I've noticed that there are quite a lot of bladesmiths that are proffessional at what they do, their knives are "perfect" for their application, and they have the best quality knives for hundreds of miles around. Yet, they are not "computer savvy", meaning it is difficult to set up a website, advertise correctly, or in general get their knives out to the public.

 

Nowadays, quite a lot, if not most, of selling is off the internet. I personally do not sell yet, but I really doubt any of you have an actual store for customers to come and browse through.

 

So, feel free to post ideas on pitching, how to get customers to notice, and overall what makes a good sale, other than the quality of the knife.

 

Oh, and also, there is always one big question I've noticed from the general "ignorant" public. How come handmade pocketknives cost so much ($100-$500) when I can just get a good one from the local store for 20 bucks?

 

There is an obvious answer, but how do you explain it to the customer so that they would want one of your knives, rather than get one at the store?

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One of the best ways to "pitch" your knives is to go to collector/ gun and knife/ outdoors shows. It is an investment you will be glad you made. Even If you don't sell anything at the shows, you get to put the product in people's hands (which makes it much more likely that they will buy, if not right then, in the future). You will also have the chance to make contacts that are very difficult to make online. As an answer to the last question, ask yourself the same when you buy from another maker. A lot of times people are asking such questions to find out if you are worth buying from... Do you know your product well enough to make them want to invest in it. Be willing to discuss why you are putting such a price tag on your work. Tell them it's because you put 15 or 20 hours of work into it, and that you are doing a skill trade that has a $10 per hour price on it, besides materials and over head. Tell them about the processes that you used. If you are willing to believe your work is worth the amount that you put on the tag, then they will be more willing to go with that price or something close. Also, don't be afraid to haggle (it's a very under practiced skill, but it is worth it). They may not be willing to pay $400 dollars, but they may be willing to pay $350.

Just my .02 worth

Edited by Raymond Jewell

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Overhand :rolleyes: . I have a website, which is just one more thing to have to take care of. I post here and there, and I do several shows a year, and word of mouth. The last means you have to do your very best work and not piss anyone off, every time, all of the time. If I had better answers, I'd share them. The fact is that it's hard to get seen, and hard to get known, you just have to keep plugging.

 

Geoff

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What Goeff said. I am in the process of doing just that. GET YOUR NAME OUT THERE. Do your best work, be known for good knives. Post all over the place. The first few knives will be hard to sell, but as people start to get a feel for your work, you'll start to make more sales. Im leaning that he hard way right now :(

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There is a for sell site here on the forum! some of you geeks could maybe get it tied in to a search engine so that when you type in custom knives, it would take you to the site .

Or better yet maybe some one here whose young and computer savvy and interested in knives ( Like that guy Caleb Harris) could start an online knife store and do commissioned consignment sales . For example, you could pitch my knife charge me a small fee to show my knives in your store . Like a membership every year or month. Then if one sells off of your site you get a commission. Say 10% ? Is that a good idea? ......Oh well , I tried.

 

20 years ago when I decided to try and do more than make knives a hobby, I had my local ad mailer come and do a story on me . It generated a lot of interest. I also had a delivery route so I put up flyers in hundreds of country stores . I quit trying to sell knives from 1999 to about 2006. Now Im still trying to get my name back out there.

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Try some flea markets. Youll gather a lot of information and opinions. Youll probly meet a lot of snobs but thats everywhere you go. It takes a lot of getting used to selling your hand made stuff. If you can sell/ at those places with your first batch of knives your going to go a long way and hone your ppl skills to boot.

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do good work. don't under or over price your work. shows and getting your work in front of folks in any way you can. web sites help but a lot of buyers are luddites. free media is good. always be advancing your work or the market will leave you. don't do this for a living it sucks.

 

I have been full time smith for more than 15 years. I now have 4 business partners and we make most of our income from railing work, a difficult line of work that's only redeeming quality is that it is still smithing, and pays better than blades. to make any kind of good living doing this you need good tools a power hammer , grinders heat treating setups even a small well equipped shop can cost $15,000. we have built up the shop to the point that we own $100.000 in tools and equipment, even with that I need to teach to make ends meet. ... find a real job, a good paying career and make knives on the side for fun or as a sideline.

to quote the Animals
Oh mother tell your children
Not to do what I have done
Spend your lives in sin and misery
In the House of the Rising Sun

 

is it bad when I start thinking of my polishing shop as the house of the rising sun..........

MP

Edited by Matthew Parkinson

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