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.”

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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.

Blade Magazine Article

bladelogoRecently I was asked if I’d be interested in writing an article for Blade Magazine on knife collector resources on the web. If you are a regular reader of CNJ, you know what my answer was. Well, I understand the article is in April’s edition and subscribers are starting to receive it now. 

Blade is a much needed resource for collectors of all types of knives. Really, the only thing I don’t like is having to wait for it each month and then for it to arrive by snail mail.

Blade and other traditional print pubs are the pull-up-to-the-table full-course meal, while CNJ is more the late night snack of collector news.

If you are checking out Cutlery News Journal for the first time, possibly as a result of this article, allow me to first say, “Welcome.”

One of the topics we have been looking into lately here at CNJ is  Who is today’s knife collector? And right now, we are conducting the 2009 Knife Community Survey and would like to have your participation.

So far, collectors from 8 knife forums; various email lists; local, state and national collector clubs and associations; and our regular CNJ subscribers have joined in. Plus, Jeff Smith, YouTube’s Cutlerylover, did a video broadcast to his subscribers and within 24 hours of him posting it over 800 knife enthusiasts from YouTube took the survey.

Thanks for checking out CNJ. After you have looked around, please take part in the survey.

And when you need a little late night snack, come on back.