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The Business of Knife Making A forum dedicated to all aspects of running, managing and legal operational issues relating to the custom knife making and custom knife selling industry.

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  #1  
Old 07-17-2007, 10:01 AM
Dan Graves Dan Graves is offline
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Discount to dealers?

I have been asked by dealers to cut my price to them. What is the normal percent? I have also been asked to put them on consighnment and if so what is the percent for that. I usually sell everything I make and almost never have anything in stock and have a waiting list but would like to get my name out in other places. As of now I cant attend shows due to health and would like to increase my name recognition. Any advice. Thanks.


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  #2  
Old 07-17-2007, 11:45 AM
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Les Robertson Les Robertson is offline
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Hi Dan,

The percentage you give a dealer should be up to you.

The main question to ask any dealer is "What am I getting for my MONEY"?

Questions to ask:

1)Do you set up at shows? This allows clients to handle your knives in a part of the country you might not get to. Merely attending the show does not do you any good.

2)Do you have a web site? Most dealers will have one.

3)What is your position in the market in which you will be selling the type of knives I make?

4)How many knives are you planning on buying with the first order. Generally if the dealer is legit they will purchase 3-5 knives. If they will not step up and buy that many or order as the case may be. If they will not do this..you have the answer to question to number 3.

5) Why would you take a knife on consignment but not buy it? For my business if I don't think enough of the makers work to buy it...I won't take it on consignment. I will however, give them suggestions as to how to improve their work to the point where I will buy it.

6) Are/have you been a judge at custom knife shows? This will give the dealer some legitimacy if they are asked to judge at shows.

7) How do you plan on promoting my work?

8) Are you interviewed by the knife magazines with some regularity (5 times or more a year). If they answer yes, ask them about what subject matter they are asked about. If it is slip joint folders and you sell drop point hunters...they probably will not be able to fit your "name" into the article.

9) Do they write for the magazines? Might be unfair. Currently there is only one dealer in the world writing for two of the three top knife magazines.

10) Do they do seminars for collectors and/or makers.

Point to all of this is as an example: someone who merely attends shows and has a web site will not do near as much as someone who has a website and sets up at shows.

So you have to figure out how much you stand to gain from giving the dealer a discount.

On average you can expect to give 25% - 30%. But they need to show you they deserve it.

Just because someone has a business card and says they are a dealer does not mean they will be able to help you.

Hope this helps.


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  #3  
Old 07-17-2007, 07:52 PM
Dan Graves Dan Graves is offline
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Thanks Les for the advice. He owns the store in New York called Mastersmiths. My blades will be in good company. I dont think he does shows but, what a location he has. I have decided not to do consighnment anywhere because I agree with your point. I have spoken with him on the phone and he seems in line with what you say. I am sending 2 knives at first and have not asked to be paid until he sees them. I know he is concerned about fit and finish and pictures dont really tell the story. I am confident he will like them. Nice dagger and a Scottish Dirk. Again, thanks for the great tips.


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Old 07-17-2007, 08:16 PM
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Les Robertson Les Robertson is offline
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Hi Dan,

I've heard he has a nice location in New York. That is as good as attending shows.

Good luck and you are welcome.


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  #5  
Old 07-18-2007, 09:19 AM
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David Broadwell David Broadwell is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Les Robertson
Just because someone has a business card and says they are a dealer does not mean they will be able to help you.
Dan, I'll jump in here with a knifemaker's perspective. Les made good points, especially that last one. I have seen many so called dealers come out of the woodwork, get themselves some business cards printed up at Kinkos, and start asking for discounts with little or no proven track record. For some it was a way to increase the size of their personal collections at a reduced rate. If they are moving knives and occasionally put one in their own display case it's not a problem, but the point is they have to be doing their job as a promoter of knives to earn that dealer discount.

One of the most important things a dealer must do is promote YOU. He or she must believe YOU are good at what you do. If a dealer is just selling knives to make a few bucks and has no passion for the maker himself, he's just a car salesman. Our knives are our products, but they come from YOU, and it is little piece of YOU that the dealer is really selling.

One thing you should not do is sell to any dealer at a discount just because he's there. If, for instance, you make a line of standard models, and your DGK is popular. You bring a bunch to a show and the night before it opens you sell 20 DGKs to several different dealers. What you've done is created lots of competition, and in the end the perceived value of your knives will drop because buyers can go on line and nickel and dime the dealers for the lowest dollar increment on the price. It is not good for you.

You have got to be picky with the dealers you work with. Keep the number down. It's good to let one dealer specialize in some of your knives such as tacticals, let another dealer specialize in presentation fixed blades, etc. That way you don't create too much competition between your dealer network. I've always tried to keep my network down around 3 or 4. When approached by other dealers I have politely turned them down.

Dan, you are in a good situation if you sell all you make. I have only one knife in inventory myself, and it's in a museum show this summer. I also do few shows because of my wife's health. I find that in lots of cases that discount is worth it when a dealer like Les takes my work to NYC or Dallas or where ever and says "Broadwell is a good maker, and you should have his work in your collection".

David


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  #6  
Old 07-21-2007, 06:34 AM
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lwrhea lwrhea is offline
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Dan,
I have NEVER regreted doing business with Les.

So far, the only negative, is that I cant make enough knives to keep up with the demand. He has done more than his part. His business policies will only help and promote your knives.
Lin Rhea
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