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jeywalk
05-07-2013, 01:45 AM
Hi all,

My name is Jerry, and I am researching knivees from Japan. I know a lot of you have purchased knives online or imported knives abroad without first having seen the products in person. What did you look for, and how did you validate the product before you purchased it?

It'd be nice to hear some of your experiences.

Regards,

wenus2
05-07-2013, 05:37 AM
Lol. Hard to tell if this is spam, or if this guy is just confused at the name of this subforum.
One of those Dennis Rodman posts... I can see it going either way :)

rdpx
05-07-2013, 06:09 AM
Hi Jerry,

I will assume that you are looking for knives to sell on your site...?

There is a wealth of knowledge here and someone will normally have experience with a knife that someone is considering buying unseen. So someone asks either for a recommendation based on paramaters they set down or might just say "I am considering knife X Y or Z" and request opinions.

Having had a brief look at your site I would say you want to offer a knife with really good F&F and no fancy stuff. Should be easy to find one. Main thing will depend on price point. Small issue is sharpening of J-knives as they do need a bit of attention.

Are you looking for a knife for your site to sell, or are you looking just for one for yourself? Or are you just interested in how people make buying decisions on products that they have never actually seen and handled?

Robert

Patatas Bravas
05-07-2013, 11:57 AM
Sounds like the typical questions first time buyers wrestle with when considering buying their first knives online, if they've got no experience with the knives themselves. Sounds normal enough to me.

I'd say in my case I just read a lot, asked questions, and tried to imagine my best choice.

stevenStefano
05-07-2013, 01:37 PM
Where are you from?

jeywalk
05-07-2013, 05:50 PM
Hi Robert,

Thanks for your input.


Having had a brief look at your site I would say you want to offer a knife with really good F&F and no fancy stuff. Should be easy to find one.

Great, nothing fancy was kind of what I had in mind as well :)


Are you looking for a knife for your site to sell, or are you looking just for one for yourself? Or are you just interested in how people make buying decisions on products that they have never actually seen and handled?

A bit of each actually. I am researching on the potential of featuring a couple Japanese knives on our website. So firstly, I wanted to poke around a bit to see if there is a need for that - i.e. are there knives that people like from Japan, but can't find in the US/Canada yet?

Secondly, I wanted to understand what people would consider when buying a knife that they have never seen and handled? Sounds like reviews / other people's opinions are quite important.

However, would you guys say knives are something quite heavily dependent on your individual preferences? I.e. a large selection is better vs a few that are "one size fits all"?

Regards,

Jerry

jeywalk
05-07-2013, 05:58 PM
Where are you from?

Toronto, Canada :)


I'd say in my case I just read a lot, asked questions, and tried to imagine my best choice.

What did you end up buying for your first online purchase, if you dont mind me asking?


Lol. Hard to tell if this is spam

Sorry if it came across as spam initially, but I'm not here to promote anything. Just here to see if I can learn something, get closer to the community, and offer something of value back.

Regards,

Jerry

stevenStefano
05-08-2013, 12:49 PM
Secondly, I wanted to understand what people would consider when buying a knife that they have never seen and handled? Sounds like reviews / other people's opinions are quite important.

However, would you guys say knives are something quite heavily dependent on your individual preferences? I.e. a large selection is better vs a few that are "one size fits all"?


People's opinions matter a lot, because there clearly isn't a way of measuring how good a knife is. If you're serious about getting into it, I'd do a lot of reading and perhaps get an idea of something you'd like to try or think would sell well then go from there

Pensacola Tiger
05-08-2013, 01:14 PM
People's opinions matter a lot, because there clearly isn't a way of measuring how good a knife is. If you're serious about getting into it, I'd do a lot of reading and perhaps get an idea of something you'd like to try or think would sell well then go from there

Agreed, but it has to be the right person's opinion. For example, I'm a home cook, and if I dice three onions for a meal, that's a lot. So, my opinion on edge retention is not worth a lot to a pro. Food release is important to a pro because it affects output, but less important to a home cook where is is just an annoyance. And the ability for a knife to cut a plastic water bottle is entertaining, but worthless in determining the performance of the knife in food.

Rick

mkmk
05-08-2013, 01:28 PM
Most of the good dealers have spent years cultivating relationships, traveling to Japan for research, educating themselves about the products, and cooking seriously (some of them professionally). Given that you have no current expertise, it seems unlikely that you would make good choices about gaps in the current market that you could fill, and it doesn't seem reasonable to expect that people here would do that work for you. If you want to compete with existing dealers, you shouldn't expect their help, nor that of their dedicated customers. And without extensive knowledge and experience, you're not going to be a viable competitor, anyway.

If, on the other hand, you just want a small selection of knives to complement your existing product lines, you might consider cultivating a relationship with one of the established dealers. One of them might be willing to help you make some smart product choices, give you advice about how to market them, and work out a distributor relationship that allows you to offer some knives without competing with them.

franzb69
05-08-2013, 01:31 PM
jeywalk, be best to do a looooot of reading and conversing with folks on here. find out what people like.

and most of all, you really have to be a knife knut to wanna know stuff like this.

TB_London
05-08-2013, 01:53 PM
If I were you I'd ask one of the makers on here or elsewhere if they'd consider doing something specially for your store. The makers here know how to make a good knife but you can steer on things like materials, level of finish etc. they may also be happy to include some of your store branding on the packaging or blade.
Trying to import, you'll either be buying something that your shoppers could also import, or do as the vendors here do and spend time effort and money fostering relationships.

Just my opinion

mhlee
05-08-2013, 02:13 PM
Most of the good dealers have spent years cultivating relationships, traveling to Japan for research, educating themselves about the products, and cooking seriously (some of them professionally). Given that you have no current expertise, it seems unlikely that you would make good choices about gaps in the current market that you could fill, and it doesn't seem reasonable to expect that people here would do that work for you. If you want to compete with existing dealers, you shouldn't expect their help, nor that of their dedicated customers. And without extensive knowledge and experience, you're not going to be a viable competitor, anyway.

+1

JasonD
05-11-2013, 06:37 PM
I'm sorry that the OP is getting such pushback from simply asking what would be a nice no-nonsense kitchen knife option to add to his site. Isn't this the sort of thing that might bring some good knives to new people?

You are hearing that most people here make informed decisions from reading other people's opinion on different knives and their characteristics. This is indeed true, but keep in mind that this forum is the hangout of the serious kitchen knife nerd/collector/whatever you want to call it. People here care very much about every little detail or characteristic of every knife. The minutia has all been hashed out and we like it that way. Your "average customer" will not have done all of the homework that we have done, or else they would probably have already found this forum.

If you want to do a small production from an American company, Lamson seems to be the place to talk to in terms of churning out a decent product, with the caveat that the prototyping and specifications were *very* detailed and up to scratch. This is where you would need a professional knife maker to consult you and help with prototyping.

If you want to source some knives from Japan (they obviously make tons of excellent knives or we wouldn't buy so many of them), you would be dealing with things being done in a slightly different way in that not all the processes to make any one knife are performed (with a few exceptions) in one "house." As far as finding new sources that aren't already being sold to a western audience, I couldn't tell you how to go about finding new makers or vetting their quality compared to what's currently available in the market.

I would say that you might do better to find a good value brand/line that is currently available rather than trying to set up your own. Typical suggestions for "newbie" consumer users around here would include things like Hiromoto AS (carbon steel, may rust with improper care), Fujiwara FKM, Tojiro DP, Togiharu Moly, etc. These are pretty much as inexpensive knives as you can find that are still "pretty good," and as such often have fit and finish issues that can be a hassle to a vendor.

I don't run a business at all, let alone a knife store so please take my advice with a grain of salt. There's lots of knowledge to be gained from this place if you just want to know what makes a good knife. If you want to know how to find a new source of Japanese knives and advice on importing them commercially, then I can't help you too much.

ThEoRy
05-11-2013, 09:49 PM
Step 1: Join online knife forum.

Step 2: Absorb knowledge from respected veterans of the forum.

Step 3: ?

Step 4: Profit.


I think we've seen this formula before no? :tease:

rdpx
05-12-2013, 08:14 AM
From the look of the website, I don't think the OP is setting up any kind of real competition for the vendors here. It looks like he wants to carry one or two knives max to sell to people who wouldn't be shopping at "knife" places. If anything, dangling one japanese knife in front of these customers might even pique their interest and end up leading them into the deeper world of J-knives.

My advice would be to offer a gyuto (a 210 and a 240?) and maybe a santoku and/or petty from a brand that is not exclusive to anyone and that would likely not have F&F issues. Maybe even offer a real basic King combi stone. Market it as an "introduction to japanese knives" or something.

I think Misono 440 series seems like a good fit.