A Message to all Knife Clubs- Where’s your clubhouse?

meetingKnife Clubs abound. Many are city and community clubs started back 20 and 30 years ago. Some are simply fan clubs of particular brands, but either way, anytime knife folks come together across the table at the local steak house in the name of knife collecting- it is a good thing. Through these activities our hobby is strengthened.

With today’s busy lifestyles it is difficult to go to club meetings. I know, I have never attended a meeting of our local club and yet I am involved in “knife collecting” everyday. I’ve thought about it…been invited to it…but for one reason or another it hasn’t made my priorities to go. My suspicion is this is the case for the majority of collectors who are members of local clubs too.

“And yet, most all collectors spend time online participating in knife collecting.”

clubhouse

Knife Club Websites- little time and no money

In an effort to help maintain their sense of community and provide benefits to their members many of these local clubs have turned to the web to locate their clubhouses. Usually one of the club’s more geeky members sets up a website. Upgrading, updating and adding functionality to that site, while a desirable thing, oftentimes goes undone- it requires time and in most cases a cash investment from the club, like adding a forum or providing for its members to have their own email addresses, adding the ability for their members to upload knife pictures or a chat feature, even adding the functionality of embedding videos- these are luxury items and rarely seen on knife club websites.

How about a new FREE clubhouse?

To the knife clubs of America there is an answer. Yes, there is a place where they can have a highly functional community clubhouse- not just a static webpage- exclusively for their club. (more…)

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Have the needs of knife collectors changed?

Many of us are members of different knife clubs and organizations- I am a dues-paying member in three myself. Knife organizations played a prominent role fostering our hobby for many years. They connected collectors, provided collectors a sense of belonging, provided news and organized knife shows, to name just a few examples of benefits offered to their membership.

There is an interesting editorial by Bruce Voyles in Knife Illustrated this month on the subject of knife organizations. It is entitled, “Are Knife Organizations Getting Left Behind?” and while he doesn’t delve too deeply into the subject, he does put it on the table for us to consider.

In it he recounts the history of how collector associations and clubs formed. Then he leads up to today and calls the leaders of these organizations to examine their mission and practices in order to appeal to today’s collectors.

And pertaining to these organizations meeting the needs of today’s collectors, he added-

“The future of knife organizations is only that of decline and eventual dissolution unless they discover some 21st-century relevance.”

*****

Now I must ask- “Did the needs of collectors change or were the organizations so busy working in the business of running the organization that they failed to work on the business- staying abreast of changes (technological advances/collector habits and lifestyles) that would benefit or negatively impact the organization?

Here is an interesting stat on this subject from a survey of the membership of iKnifeCollector.com, an online collector community.

member profiles- members of knife orgs

In case someone wants to scoff at this stat as skewed data because “only young people use the web and online collector communities, and they aren’t members of associations anyway,” well, the average age of the iKC membership is 39.55 years old and that’s close to about half life.

If that statement is true, on the other hand, and “young people aren’t members of knife organizations anyway,” there may be a clue for these orgs to get back on track, wouldn’t you say?

If  today’s organizations do attempt to appeal to this younger collector profile- some things are gonna have to change- that much I can say.

Stats can be interpreted differently. So in fairness, the above data either means the majority of today’s collectors don’t feel the need to join these orgs (for whatever reason) or the iKnifeCollector community has successfully reached the next generation of knife collectors who have yet to join the traditional knife organizations.

This brings us back to our original question- “Have the needs of knife collectors changed?”

What do you say?

The survey data represented in the chart is from iKC’s membership as of 9.02.09.

Young people don’t need knives anymore

Hang around the knife industry for very long and you’ll no doubt hear a conversation about how boys today aren’t into pocket knives anymore. In fact, we here at CNJ have reported on more than one occasion that sentiment as well.

Yes, while it is true times have changed and we can quickly come up with a list of reasons, as we have, why this is the case. Young people don’t need knives they way they did last century, right?

painescutjrnlmastheadwoutdateWell, hold on to your horses there just a minute. This problem is not new to our society, nor our time. Listen to this statement as reported in the December 1930 edition of Paine’s Cutlery Journal.

“One of the leading publications in the advertising profession puts for the question ‘Why in the world don’t the cutlery manufacturers get together and bring back the pocket knife with a smashing advertising campaign to prove to the younger generation that a good knife has innumerable uses besides sharpening pencils?'”

So, there is hope because pocket knives became a rite of passage for most every boy up until the mid-1970’s.

On the other hand, there are lots of younger collectors out there- most of them just don’t carry the traditional pocket knife anymore, but they are definitely into knives just the same.

PS: Check out “Knife Collections” on YouTube to find over 6000 vids. Many of these collections are owned by the younger generation too.


The Next Generation Knife Collector Community

I want to join a knife community. I’ve looked at a bunch. Searched the web- deep and wide- and it ain’t there. Not like what I’m looking for.

What I am looking for is a combination- 24/7 Knife Show, YouTube, Flickr, MySpace, FaceBook, Yahoo Group, Cutlery News Journal and knife forum- all rolled into one, all exclusively for knife collectors. (more…)

Times have changed and lifestyles have too

vintage_boy_scou1Weekend Edition

Times have changed, at least that is what my wife tells me anyway. So, while thinking about what she said, I’m still trying to figure out how get a national whittling contest organized and how to interest one of the knife manufacturers to sponsor it.

At this point in my thinking I’ve come to this conclusion-

Since the late 1800s pocket knives have been as much a part of everyday life, as was marbles, hiking, camping and baseball. I doubt up until about the 1980s there wasn’t a young boy who didn’t carry a pocket knife. Coincidentally, it was in the mid- 1980s Nintendo, SEGA & Atari were fighting it out for the top “video game” system. Super Mario Bros was released in 1985. Then the handheld gaming systems started about 1989. You remember the Game Boy?creek2

We used to spend a lot of time outside as kids. We’d cut walking sticks. We’d hike through the woods, play down at the creek and go fishing at the neighbor’s pond with worms we dug up.

Times have changed

My 3 kids still at home (ages 13- 17) don’t play outside like we used to when we were kids. While they all lead active lifestyles, each playing three sports a year, but other than sports, they mudday1don’t play outdoors much. And when they do, it is on machines.

Otherwise, they play on the computer, which really means they’re checking their MySpace page or playing multi-player Internet games, like running raids on WOW. They do watch TV, but not much.

They don’t use or carry knives, and can’t, in most cases, if they wanted to. The truth is kids’ lifestyles have changed.

Does this mean they won’t become pocket knife aficionados? Not now, it seems. I have given each of my kids pocket knives and they keep them in their drawers (not breeches, but chester drawers- for you Northerners, that is chest of drawers, sorry).

I don’t know if my kids are typical or not-

For Christmas we gave my son a nice Leatherman to keep in his car, and I doubt he can even find it now. I know it never made it to his car.

And just last night I was cutting a string off my 13 year old daughter’s bag when she told me the knife I had given her several years ago had fallen between her bed and the wall. It takes three people to move her bed over in order to get it, so I offered her the one still in my hand as its replacement. She said, “No thanks.”

Where does this leave us? Are the traditional pocket knives simply items of nostalgia and that is it? From most young people this is probably true. So, we have our work cut out for us. We are up against pressures from society and the fact that young people’s lifestyles have changed.

These factors don’t mean the end of pocket knives, only that we must go to work to change how they are perceived.

The State of Knife Collecting on the Web

Editor’s note: This message is too important to make bite-sized. The topics addressed in this report include, the importance of the web to us, the history of collectors and the web, the state of our hobby on the web today, and our future, in addition to several major online projects I’d like to see developed that are pretty cool.

The State of Knife Collecting on the Web Today

Beginner

Geek Rated: Beginner

Have you ever heard the business axiom, “Don’t be so busy working in the business, you aren’t working on the business”?

If you haven’t, it simply means we can’t be so caught up in the day to day, we fail to plan for the future.

We must be constantly planning for the hobby of knife collecting too. Planning on ways to expose our hobby to non-knife collectors and positioning our hobby so they should want to get involved.

Why do I say this? Well, for several reasons, some positive and some negative. The ugliest one is this- if we don’t, we will become a hobby of old folks who collect relics of the past that no one else can relate with, or cares about.

The flip side of that is this- we have a worthwhile hobby. A progressive pastime that is fun and rewarding! Yes, it connects us with our past, but it also provides a vehicle for connecting with the future and other collectors!

(more…)

Craigslist- The 21st Century Yard Sale

We knife folks go crazy at the thought of finding a jewel somewhere no one else knows about.

  • We love the hunt
  • We love finding an undervalued knife (or related item)
  • We do love the trade too.
  • We love to know we have found a “place” other knife hunters haven’t found yet
  • We love to find non-auction places to find knives.

If you aren’t familiar with the ultimate online yard sale (and it isn’t eBay), then let me point you the way to craigslist.

craigslistscreenshot1craiglists is a “local” classifieds and forums for over 450 cities worldwide. They have 5 billion (that Billions with a “B”) page views each month and 15 million people using the site every month.

 

Each month the site records 14 million self-published new classified ads.

You can do system wide or local geo searches. I randomly selected “Atlanta” plugged in “knife” and 219 finds resulted.

You may say, “What good is an international classified ad site?” Well, I’ll tell you.

How many knives have been bought from folks who-  

  1. needed to sell,
  2. didn’t know the value of the knife they had,
  3. didn’t want to invest the time and energy to go to a knife show to see if they could sell for a little more, or
  4. didn’t know how to use eBay?

For free these folks put a short free (did I mention that it is Free?) classified ad. The local paper charges them to put it in their paper, ya know. craigslist is killing the newspaper classified business, incidentally.

craiglistgermanknivescraigslist is one of the top Internet sites in the world. Does that tell us anything here?

It ain’t pretty, but it is free to the users (except for job listings).

Published in: on December 29, 2008 at 6:24 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Next Generation of Knife Collectors Part II

The Knife Collecting Underground

The Next Generation

The Next Generation

There is an ongoing conversation among the knife collecting leadership today about how to find and attract the next generation of knife collectors (ages 15- 25ish). Obviously, because they are the future of our hobby and they are not participating in the organized collecting establishment today.

As first reported here on CNJ, this next generation represents an almost “underground establishment.”

Exclusive CNJ Interview

Scheduled to be aired tomorrow in an exclusive CNJ interview is a celebrity among these online collectors.

This 23 year old admitted he has never been to a major knife show. He is not a member of any organized knife club. And he spends hours a day answering knife questions and giving suggestions. He told me the majority of the questions come from “kids” who are younger than him.

I can’t wait for you to meet him in this exclusive interview. You will find him very interesting. He represents the next generation of atypical collectors. These are the collectors our associations are looking for and we didn’t even know they were there.

LINK TO YOUTUBE’S CUTLERYLOVER INTERVIEW

The New Influencers

The Knife Establishment had better sit up and take notice because he represents the New Influencers (as defined and written about by Paul Gillin in The New Influencers- A Marketer’s Guide to the New Social Media).

And, oh yeah, he has over 3000 knife enthusiasts following his online knife activities.

Source for image: Fantasy Art 3D Wallpapers: modern digital art, 3D artists, computer desktop backgrounds.