Knife Shows

Gahagan

Well-Known Member
Ok I have come to the conclusion I need to attend more shows. My wife has said to go ahead and make my schedule for the year March to March so we can pre plan. My question is what are the best shows or shows that would be recomended. I prefer them to be purely knife shows.
 

scott.livesey

Dealer - Purveyor
hi
you need to read some of the older posts in this area. i have never been to a knife show as a seller. but the ones i attended were full of folks with 4 or 5 tables each piled high with $5 to $20 red chinese crap. the one person i found who sold 100% handmade had not had a sale in two days. have you thought of Raleigh flea market? there are usually 75 to 100 booths of handmade items, 1 or 2 with knives. JMHO
 

cnccutter

Well-Known Member
You didn't say how far your willing to travel. If your open to it there's OKCA in Eugene Or. biggest knife show west of the Mississippi. this year it has 330 tables... mostly hand made at different price points. I did OK there last year, we'll see about this year. April 11,12,13.

If your serious Blade should be considered. lots of competition there but lots of money too. you'll get to compare your blades with the competition.

one thing I suggest is you need to decide what market your shooting for. then pick shows that support that. If you want to sell 50$ hunting knives great, but if you want to sell 3-500$ blades you need to go to venues that support that. I personally don't like flea markets because every one that comes is expecting to get a deal. there are also shows that are by invitation. they are usually smaller, but they also weed out the junk dealers. don't rule out gun shows, there's lots of buyers there.

Erik
 
There is the 2014 Idaho knife Association show Sept 12,13,14 this year . I think its in Boise and its been a few years so it might draw a good crowd .This is a knife only show. Wild Bill
 

PMARTINKNIVES

Well-Known Member
Badger Knife Show here in Wisconsin has 175 tables with 90% custom hand made knives, East Coast custom knife show, Blade show, Solvang, USN Vegas, how far are you willing to travel. What type of buying/selling is your main focus, come up with a plan based on your research. Contact your customers in the area of the show and find out what type of knives and price range and go from there. You make some really nice knives so you should target the better shows.


Peter
 

Gahagan

Well-Known Member
I am looking for the larger shows I am willing to travel anywhere in the continental US. I am looking for more of the high end shows I don’t have anything under $200 (except for some tactical 3 finger knives).
 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
Personally, I think the "hey day" of the custom knife show is in the rear view mirror. I've been at this for pushing 30 years now, and up until about the last 5-6 year made 2/3 of my annual knife income from doing 3 major knife shows a year. For a number of years, the Eugene, OR show was one of the best in the world. After having attended that show for 12 years in a row, the mgt decided they wanted to become the biggest show west of the Mississippi.....and in doing so, it became a "flea market" environment, and most of the collectors stopped attending. I've not been back since. For any Maker who is serious, the Blade Show in Atlanta is simply a must do show. At first you can feel like a little fish in a big pond, but since Eugene went downhill, it has been my most consistent show for making money. Blade is unique in that it's the absolute king of shows to serious knife buyers. I've had tough years there, but I've also had years when I was sold out 15 mins after the doors opened.
I'm planning on attending the Boise, ID show this year, and hope it's as good as previous shows in that locale.

These days (over the past 5+ years), an internet presence has become VERY important for knifemakers. I say that for two reasons..... 1. There is no where else that you can have such a huge audience, for such a low cost. 2. Many serious collectors are now choosing to personally attend only 1-2 knife shows per year, generally one of those is the Blade show. What they are doing it using the money that they would have spent to travel to shows, and sitting down in front of their computers......and using that travel money to buy knives via the internet.

OK, back the show issue.....most of us start out at local and regional "Gun & Knife" shows, and as our quality and noteriety levels increase, we "upgrade" to shows that are strictly custom knives. Each show is going to be differnt for each maker. However, one thing they all require for a knifemaker to be "successful" at them, is for the Maker to do his/her homework. By that I mean you can't walk into someplace like the USN show with a bag full of forged Bowies, and expect to do well. You have to know your audience, and what they want. For examply, at last year's Blade show, I took 1/2 dozen tactical "flippers", and several traditional forge straight blades.....the flippers were gone within the first 1/2 hour of the show, and the afterward I sold only two straight knives the rest of the show.

Finally, whatever shows you decide to attend, don't get discouraged if each is not a "screamin success" the first year. Often times I will attend a show for 2-3+ years before I do well at it, but afterward can usually count on good sales.
 

Gahagan

Well-Known Member
I am not looking to sell "alot" of knives. I enjoy making them, but prefer to make quality knives that I am proud of and if that is only 10 or so a year I am happy. I am just wanting to get my name out so I can pay for the materials I put into the knives. I attended the Blade show last year and plan on attending this year. I think I did well last year, selling more than half the knives I brought, I just feel that by attending more shows I have am able to get my name out and meet more makers. Truthfully I would have been fine if I had not sold a thing at the Blade show because it gave me the opportunity to meet and discuss knives with some great guys. It was well worth my time and money. As far as knowing the audiance that is what I am trying to figure out. I make some tactical knives but prefer Bowies and more elaberate pieces as I feel it hones my skills more. Tacticals are great for getting income as I can thurn them out pretty quickly but I like to work on a knife for a while putting in small details and customizing it to the customers desires. Ilike the one off kind of knife. But as you said that is something that may not sell as quickly or meet everyones needs but I feel if I can make these and still make some profit I am doing well for myself. I probably will never be a full time maker and I m fine with that I just want to be a maker that produces a quality knife that people may recognize for just that.
 
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Chuck Gedraitis Knives

Well-Known Member
The point of going to a knife show is exposure, to put a face to the name on the forums, allow many more people to handle your work and to make money!! If your happy making 10 knives a year that's great, but it will not be cost effective to add more shows. If you plan on doing 3-5 shows a year can you make enough knives for each show and will you be able to sell enough to at least cover your expenses?
Flights, table fees, rental car, airport shuttle service, meals, ect all add up quickly and put pressure on you before you even walk onto the show floor.

I did the NOVI show one year and while I won an award for best folder I did not sell a thing. It's humbling to come home with all the knives I hoped to sell and all the money I spent just to do the show.

Now I only do a local club show and the blade show.
 
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