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Thread: Importing knives from Japan

  1. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2012
    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.

  2. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Cardiff, UK
    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

  3. #13
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Quote Originally Posted by mkmk View Post
    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.
    "Don't you know who he is?"

  4. #14
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    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.

  5. #15
    Senior Member ThEoRy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Central Jersey
    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?
    Starting this harvest I'm a starving startling artist/
    Lyrical arsonist it's arduous spitting this smartest arsenic/

  6. #16
    Senior Member rdpx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    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.

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