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.

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!

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