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Old 12-05-2015, 02:46 PM
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Andrew Garrett Andrew Garrett is offline
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First Gun Show Table

I recently mentioned in another thread that I would be selling at a local gun show in Wichita. I thought I would report on how that business went.

Attached, you will see some shop pics and show pics. You'll see my banner, my set-up, my prices, etc. I put a lot into the marketing angle, and I feel like it was well received.

Sales were modest at a few hundred dollars (3 of 12 knives offered were sold). The show was not advertised as a gun and knife show, just a gun show.

The biggest show of the year is the Chisolm Trail Gun and Knife show and I will be there. It is now twice a year, and I think I can make that work.

I'll let you know how that one goes too.
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Last edited by Andrew Garrett; 05-10-2016 at 08:49 PM.
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Old 12-05-2015, 02:54 PM
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For the next show, I plan to elevate the table with bed lifting blocks from Bed Bath and Beyond and add a 6-10" acrylic shield to the front of the table to discourage small hands.

A verticle display element will also be incorportaed but I'm not sure how.

I want to use the forum to educate people on the process, but I don't want the expense or security risk of being strung out over two tables.

...still fine tuning my thoughts--a penny for yours.


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Old 12-05-2015, 03:08 PM
Ed of all trade Ed of all trade is offline
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1/4 of your knives sold ain't bad. Lot of guys have everything they came with when they leave. Can't offer you advice but I am wishing you well. Ed
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Old 12-06-2015, 10:09 AM
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I'd call that a successful show. Congrats! Nice display.
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Old 12-06-2015, 09:06 PM
Bob Hatfield Bob Hatfield is offline
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Andrew I have found with gun shows you have to be careful on who they cater too for selling knives. I attended the Reno gun show 2 years ago and it was a bust. The crowd there were the type I call the "brushy creek commandos". All they wanted was AK-47s & AR-15s and ammo for those guns. Got a lot of good comments on the knives and the price being reasonable, only 2 sales.
Took the same batch of hunting knives 3 weeks later to a sportsman show that was 1/4 the size of the Reno gun show and sold 8-9 knives. I have seen this at other gun shows. If you have the right crowd, in my case big game hunters, you sell, if not a waste of time.


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Old 12-07-2015, 07:28 AM
argel55 argel55 is offline
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Chisolm is a good show. I haven't been in several years and need to get back there to see old friends. I have heard it has expanded in table size. Congratulations on the sales.
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Old 12-09-2015, 10:28 AM
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Yea, for the midwest, Chisolm Trail is as big as it gets save for that annual show in Tulsa.

I agree with you too Bob. The type of crowd really dictates the sales. The US Weapons shows by RK are as you say, full of wannabe commandos. The military collectors shows are an older, slower paced crowd, but they hate spending money. It's hard to find the right mix.

Perhaps if I get enough stock, I can have knives to serve every taste.

Thanks for the replies fellas.


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Old 12-15-2015, 02:58 PM
brucegodlesky brucegodlesky is offline
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I've found that it takes several shows of any type to get yer face known. Gun shows, ammo/cammo shows/ knife shows, trapper shows, all seem to work that way for me.
And remember, variety is the spice of life :-)
I always try to include something the ladies will like also, be it cutlery or blacksmith items.


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Old 12-18-2015, 05:00 AM
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Andrew I also raise my table with 4 pvc pipe leg extensions I made to also deter small hands from skimming the table and I strategically place bandies all along the front.

Folks will see them and laugh but they see them and message received.

Bj


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Old 02-06-2017, 10:10 AM
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Update:

I've done a few shows since this thread started. I just exhibited at an RK show this weekend. It was a bit of a surprise and I committed at the last minute with the same leftover stock I had at the last miserable outing (another RK show).

UNBELIEVABLE!

Same venue, same promoter, same stock, same crowd, but I almost sold out! I credit the improved economic comfort level and the fact that people don't feel like they have to spend all their 'gunshow money' on guns because they are 'about to be outlawed".

Another lesson: Don't put business cards on the table. It gives people an 'out'. I had much better success by handing them out on request only.


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Old 02-06-2017, 06:55 PM
WNC Goater WNC Goater is offline
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Thumbs up, way to go! I've seen an uptick in confidence the last couple months. I sold almost every knife I had over Christmas and just got an order for 10. My retail business is busier as well. Glad you had a great show!


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Old 02-07-2017, 11:38 AM
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Thanks Goater! Congrats to you too!

Since posting this yesterday, I entered into negotiations with a veterans' group for 11 identical knives. I hope the deal closes.
Perhaps good times are coming for the custom knife business.

Cheers!


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Old 02-11-2017, 03:56 PM
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My favorite quote from the recent show:

"I bought my grandson a set of throwing knives at the last show. He's no David Bowie, but he can make them stick most of the time."



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Old 02-24-2017, 10:39 AM
TJ Smith TJ Smith is offline
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What a coincidence. Just did my first gun show with knives last weekend. had a 8 ft table.
Took 15 knives sold 1 and took orders for 2 Damascus as i get them finished. had several works in progress along.Also I had 4 Harley Chain Knives and 3 damascus with.
I guess I would call it a sucess of sorts as I don't usually do much custom work.
I like to make knives and then sell what I make.
Really thinking about a raffle next time,I have some that are just taking up space.
Storing knive takes up time and cost also.
Will try again in Noeember.
What will you do different next time?
Take care
TJ Smith


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Old 02-24-2017, 01:27 PM
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Andrew Garrett Andrew Garrett is offline
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TJ,

Variety is the key in my experience. I used to just offer small knives, but that limited those who would stop at my table.

Also, don't get rid of your table stock. a few days ago, the gentlemen, who purchased my personal pocket knife at that show called and asked what else I had. I sent him some pictures and he decided he liked my personal hunting knife. He stopped by work to purchase it an hour ago. It would seem that he and I have similar tastes.

You never know, having some simple less expensive work ready to go can inspire a gift buy when something fancier on the table catches their eye or even when they are actively looking for something for themselves.


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