Making knives for a living can be very lucrative, but also challenging. There are ups and downs but once you find your groove it’s a rewarding business. After doing this for a number of years there are a lot of things I’ve learned the hard way. But no one said you have to do it the hard way too. To save you some time in your knifemaking journey I decided to write out the tips I would give myself if I was starting out again knowing what I know now. So read on and save yourself a few years and start making more money now than I did when I began.
6 Tips For Making More Money Knifemaking
1. Know Your Product
After some practice making knives you will likely be able to produce any style you want. But the truth of the matter is, your skill will be better suited for certain styles of knives than others and being honest with yourself about this is a necessity.
When you know your knifemaking strengths it will allow you to focus in on the styles that you can command the highest prices for. The only way to reach the higher end of the market in terms of price is to offer the quality that matches it.
2. Choose Your Market Wisely
When venturing into any business, you must know exactly what customer you will be servicing and knifemaking is no different.
Are you interested in offering truly unique and one of a kind knives, bespoke knives, or mass produced knives for general use? There is no shortage on possible markets you can pursue, but you must focus on one. Take tip number one into consideration when choosing your market. Find where your skill set intersects with a niche in the knife buying market.
3. Capitalize On Current Trends
I don’t know about you, but I have never been able to predict a trend before it happens. Doesn’t matter if we are talking music, fashion, or knives. So I don’t even try. But I have been able to capitalize on trends once they are here.
The knife making world tends to move slow enough for you to focus your knifemaking on styles that are currently more desirable. Now I won’t be discussing the merits of following the crowd vs artistic expression in this article, but if the goal is to increase sales it’s a no brainer, use current trends to your advantage.
4. Advertise Advertise Advertise
So the old adage that the key to a successful business s location location location. But in today’s highly digital business world, that old saying has turned into advertise advertise adverties.
Or maybe the old saying it takes money to make money is more appropriate. Either way I didn’t start advertising right away because I thought that was for big established knifemakers but that is not the case. Small businesses are killing it right now with targeted ads across social media and other platforms.
If you are not into learning the ins and outs of digital advertising (it is a challenging task) then hire a reputable firm to handle it for you.
The key to advertising as a new knifemaker is getting your designs out there and laying the foundation for a loyal customer base. While it takes more than I will cover in this article, be prepared to allocate an advertisement budget and the sooner the better.
5. Run Your Business Like A Business
One pitfall of the craftsman starting out in business is that they don’t run their business like a business. And that is a huge mistake.
Starting right now you need to make decisions based on their whether it helps your bottom line or not. You do not have to have an MBA from some ivy covered university to do this either. Even if you have no background in business you can create a business budget and make sure more money is coming in than going out.
You need to track how much your supplies and tools cost including ongoing costs such as electricity to run your machines and damaged product. But don’t stop there, you also need to track how long it takes you to make each knife.
Over the years it’s become apparent to me that tracking my business has directly led to it’s growth. If you consistently do the same your business will grow as well.
6. Be Honest With Yourself
Knifemaking is a ton of fun and can be a solid income generator. But don’t fool yourself into thinking it’s a romantic way of making money. If you want to make serious and consistent money from knifemaking then you must be prepared to work.
The only way to make it in this business is with dedicated and consistent work. Make knives constantly. Improve on old models and experiment with new.
Go to gun and knife shows and bring your knives. Talk to everyone and learn what people like and don’t like. Let people know you make knives but don’t be annoying about it. Listen more than you talk. Especially to the old timers.
The great thing about knifemaking is I truly believe everyone who wants to make a business out of this can be successful. The knife buying market is huge and there is always room for more quality makers. If you are planning to start doing this for money then get started now! Work at it everyday and if you follow these tips you will make more money.