A different way to sell cutlery


Jack Gillette- Cutlery Salesman

Large knife manufacturers don’t sell directly to the public; instead, they sell to dealers and retailers, and then the knives are sold to the consumers.

But, what if a knife salesman came calling directly on you to buy. I’m talking about one-on-one direct sales. You would either buy or not, depending if you needed them or, in the case of collector knives, wanted them to collector or not, right?

Wouldn’t it be interesting if a knife company could create a situation where we bought their knives for reasons other than to use or collect?

I’m talking about creating a situation where the buyers want to help the salesman. 

That is exactly the business model used by one particular knife company.

To most collectors this company isn’t typically thought of as a knife company, but consider the following:

The company’s pedigree

This company is located in a famous cutlery region- the western New York and Northern Pennsylvania. The town is Olean, New York, in Cattaraugus County. Talk about rich cutlery history. Plus, it recently bought KA-BAR (the old Union Cutlery Co- also founded in Olean c. 1911).

Then throw in W. R. Case; in 1949, Case and a subsidiary of the Aluminum Co. of America (ALCOA) formed this new company.

Eventually ALCOA bought out Case and then this company’s management team purchased the company from ALCOA. 

cutcoWhich firm is it?

Originally founded as the ALCAS Company. This company’s charter was to manufacturer kitchen cutlery. 

This year its name changed to CUTCO Cutlery Corporation

All sales take place in homes, not stores

cutcopennyCUTCO sells its cutlery products through direct marketing, instead of through dealerships and retailers. 

CUTCO is the largest manufacturer of kitchen cutlery in the US and Canada. For 2008 the company recorded $203 million in sales that took place in their buyers’ homes.

For the most part, CUTCO’s sales force is young people who are working to put themselves through school. 

Last week we learned of a sales rep.’s success story. His name is Jack Gillette. He is 19 years old and carries a full class load too. He achieved $17,000 in sales recently.

Now back to the reasons folks buy the knives

Sure the buyers get a set of knives out of the deal, but what this business model has going for it is many of the buyers place orders to help these young people support themselves.

cutcologoI know this for a fact, because I am a CUTCO knife set buyer too.




Jack Gillette Photos by Bill Wechter

Published in: on February 9, 2009 at 6:30 am  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I have to be honest, I do love the whole Cutco concept. I love Cutco knives, I love the quality and the variety. The price can be expensive but if you shop around then usually you can find a good deal.

    Overall, Cutco Rock! 🙂

  2. I am actually a new cutco sales rep, and have only done 5 demos. That said, I have also sold 2 homemaker+8’s and my average sale is currently sitting at 704.33
    I firmly believe in the product.
    I’ve actually been using my super shears to cut up sheet metal for a little sculpture I’m working on for fun, and been using my paring knive almost daily for cutting apples.

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