As the custom knife world becomes “smaller,” this shrinkage brings with it additional global competition for the knife maker. How can they help their custom knives to appreciate in value? The very technical advantages that the knife maker can use to their benefit can also be utilized by others to the detriment of that same knife maker. Should a knife maker be able to respond to this opportunity they will have the access to a worldwide clientele.
As we move towards the end of the first decade in the 21st century there is the realization that simply making a knife and setting up at a knife show will do little or nothing to help a makers work appreciate in value. Today’s savvy custom knife makers are incorporating all aspects of the custom knife market. They do not merely limit themselves to making knives; they have initiated a team concept. Thereby increasing the demand for their knives and ultimately gaining an appreciation in their custom knives value.
Most of us have been members of a team of some type. However, the team I am speaking of is one that is more business in nature. This team is selected to best utilize the methods and technologies available to help introduce the makers work to collectors worldwide. Their team may include a working relationship with a knife magazine, a photographer, a web site, a dealer, a sheath maker, etc.
While many of today’s makers, while not active themselves on the Internet forums. They have reaped the benefits of having satisfied collectors who are happy to share their latest acquisition with their fellow forumites, providing additional advertising.
PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTHS
The concept of the team is that each person does their part. The maker’s talents lie in their ability to make the knives. As such the makers need to maximize their time in the shop and utilize their “Teammates” skills to better advance their position in their market(s). Too many makers feel they need to do it all, photography, sheaths, web site, etc. By incorporating other artisans to collaborate on the makers work they will provide improved “packaging.” Examples of this are utilizing a professional photographer such as Jim Cooper or Chuck Ward. Both are respected photographers whose work has been featured in knife publications worldwide. Many makers while building a great knife diminish the total package when it comes to their sheath work. Once again, professional sheath makers such as Kenny Rowe, Larry Parsons and Paul Long can add their sheath making skills to your knife to improve the total package.
Without a doubt the best marketing tool a maker can use right now is their own web site. However, to maximize this potential you need to advertise the web site exists. The knife magazines are an excellent place for this…as not everyone is web friendly. Additionally, your team member at the knife publication can provide you with additional opportunities for advertising in different formats, i.e. gun, hunting, fishing, etc. publications. Obviously, when the knife maker puts their team together they will pick those team members that will best compliment their work.
While it looks as if I wrote this for the knife makers, in actuality I have written this as much for the collectors. While most collectors will say that they buy what they like, the truth is… Wouldn’t it be great if your collection held its value…perhaps even went up a little?
The learning curve has shortened. The information on how to make knives is found in publications, knife shows, schools, knife shows, hammer-in’s, and passed from maker to maker. Consequently, makers are improving their work more rapidly than in any time in history. Subsequently, as the skills “playing field” becomes more level what is it that will increase a custom knife’s worth?
As always innovation will lead the way. However, the savvy collector will take note as to how the makers are presenting themselves and their knives. As ultimately, it is the knife makers and their collectors who drive the pricing and therefore the custom knives appreciate in value.
Robertson’s Custom Cutlery is your source for custom knives from today’s leading custom knife makers. We only feature the highest quality knives at value prices. Our custom fixed and folding knife selection includes tactical fixed and folding knives, presentation fixed and folding knives, bowies, hunters and skinners, and a large selection of forged blades. Les Robertson, author and owner of Robertson’s Custom Cutlery, is also a Field Editor for Blade Magazine and an instructor at Blade University. If you have questions about the content in this article or about any knife or maker on our website, you can contact Les directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or (706) 650-0252.