If you make custom knives for a living you gotta face one hard truth: no one needs what you’re making. Sorry, it’s true. (But there is hope.)
Custom knives start at $100 a piece. $300 are common, even $1000 isn’t unheard of.
No one needs a $100+ knife to chop bell pepper thrice a week.
$60 will set you up with a perfectly good Victorinox. There are tons of excellent mass-producing knife makers out there.
Even a professional chef will be alright without a custom knife.
So yeah …
I’m NOT saying quality isn’t worth it’s money. (It is.)
I’m NOT saying that you’re overcharging. (You’re likely undercharging.)
I AM saying that you as a custom knife maker are NOT in the business of making fine blades.
Why is that worth stressing?
Because it tells you what business you ARE in.
Custom knives aren’t a NEED. Ever. Instead:
And looking at the price tag, let’s admit also:
You gotta ask yourself:
Who can afford to spend that kind of money on a knife?
That’s your target market, the people you need to reach.
And when you figured that out, you gotta ask one more question:
What do they want in return?
What are you expected to provide them for their money?
Hint: they do NOT want a sharp blade.
Let’s look at those two questions.
Who can afford your knives?
So, what kind of people can afford luxury goods? Someone well off, naturally. But let’s go deeper.
What kind of people are well off?
There are no hard and fast rules for demographics, of course. The world is full of exceptions.
But generally the people being able to afford your knives will be one or more of these things:
- older rather than younger
- have a stable, decent paying job
- they believe they have extra money to spend
When you get to terms for whom you’re making knives, you also know whom you need to reach.
Once you have an idea about the WHO, you can ask about their WHY.
What do your customers want from you?
Again, they don’t want a cutting edge. They don’t want yet another tool.
Yes, they crave a soggy, irrational feeling—that’s why they spend big bucks.
The feeling when they pick up the knife.
The feeling when they hold it, the smoothness of the stabilized burl, the perfect balance.
The feeling when one of their friends notices the marvelous etchings and the filework on the spine. Ahh!
What kind of feeling?
That depends on the person.
Maybe it’s a feeling of status. (Not everyone has one of those.)
Of belonging. (People like me have a custom knife.)
Of pride. (I have something unique.)
Of admiration. (I have something unique and beautiful.)
Of nostalgia. (I remember the story behind this knife and its making.)
No matter what it is:
You better deliver on that.
Earlier we were discussing: what business are you in?
As a custom knife maker,
you are in the business
of giving your customers
a feeling they crave,
and you do this, amongst other things, by making an outstanding blade.
The more you focus on givìng them of what they actually crave, the more they will tell their friends, and the more business you’ll have.
HOW do you do give them this feeling? That’ll be a separate article.
Questions? Disagree? Message us on Instagram.
Want more like that?
👉 Get our Sunday News—with Marketing Tips and Community Updates