There is a old saying about business. It takes 99% hard work and 1% luck.
The work is getting a invite on to the Ed Sullivan show. The luck is that you are not on after the Beatles.
I also think that location has some help with this too.
Chewie's the man.
Location has everything to do about it.
and he's probably a hipster.
He's totally a hipster(not always a bad thing) and a Brooklynese hipster to boot,the proto hipster,everyone wants a piece of them.
I've been in contact with Joel once or thrice, and say what you will about him/his product, but he comes off as a passionate guy who really is into learning what makes a good knife a great knife. He's charismatic, well-spoken and I'm assuming makes a good product (I think I'm in on the passaround, so I'll find out soon enough).
Oh, and he's a hipster.
From everything I've read and observed I agree Lefty. One if his knives is currently being passed around. Hopefully he will take their feedback into consideration. I think he's creating the handles in a vacuum though. At the same time, I have not had one in my hand to say for sure.
What am i missing Hipster?
I think that him and Kramer do a fantastic job of marketing to the general foodie trend/ culture, not just to the knife knuts. It is an exponentially larger market and if you can get enough positive exposure there should be no shortage of sales.
I've had to deal with the fact that, despite not trying or keeping up with any trends, my wife and I are probably hipsters. Not much can be done about it. All our lives we've loved old things, eclectic music, vintage clothes, food, small business, arts and crafts, passionate hobbyists, etc etc.
Geez, surprised at the negativity towards Brooklyn, hipsters, and Brooklyn Cut! Is it just thinly veiled professional jealously?
Along with Joel's skills as a craftsman, you're right about his location having it's advantages.
[Full disclosure: I live in Brooklyn, not a hipster, not a professional cook] It's true Brooklyn gets an adequate share of press, with much focus on small entrepreneurial artisans [romanticism perhaps]—"entrepreneurial" being a key word, due to the fact that it's not easy making a living here in NYC. Most professions deal with the simple principals of supply and demand, so I can see the advantages of Joel opening shop in Brooklyn from a business perspective—there was a niche in the market that needed to be filled.
In NY, you have major culinary schools [CIA, ICE, ICC, etc.], as well being the preferred destination for many chefs to cut-their-teeth, and a city filled with foodies—potential for a very stable customer base is there. It's a location where a large number of innovative chefs, food magazines, food bloggers, are just a few subway stops away. What knife maker wouldn't want instant access to top-notch chefs for feedback on his knives—building personal relationships with chefs using his knives. Obviously Brooklyn Cut has a business plan, and Joel is not just a hobbyist.
There are certainly a lot of great knife makers out there, so no disrespect to those who have been at their craft for decades creating stunning knives. I personally just like to throw my support behind artisans [knife makers] who have found a way to get some recognition for their hard work producing a fine product! To my mind, knife makers are a competitive breed, always trying to gain an upper-hand or innovating by using better steels, making better handles, better bevels and edge geometry, better heat treatments, etc. Striving for good marketing and a good press presence is not a bad thing. As Devin Thomas would probably not give away his steel process, Brooklyn Cut would probably not give away his exact process, press contacts, or customer list. From what I've seen, most hand crafted knives here in the states are created at a high level of quality, one can't say that the Brooklyn Cut knives are not good—there's much subjectivity that goes into a cook's knife preference. I can see how a NYC localvore chef who wants his produce coming from within a 20 mile radius, might fancy a handmade chefs knife from within the same zone.
As I first stated on this thread, "I haven't used any of the Brooklyn Cut knives," so can't say anything about how they feel. But would be the first to give kudos to an artisan making handmade knives, managing to create a bit of press buzz for his craft. In the end, I think it all helps to bring attention to the craft, and will create new enthusiasm and new customers wanting handmade knives to use and covet. And yes, the knives are "Made in Brooklyn," with Pennsylvanian steel, start to finish by his hands.
Looks like he also does a more traditional shaped handle [knife on left with green handle], and a French blade profile.