Chatter on the blog has been pretty subdued recently. I’ve been exchanging emails with a few customers, checked out the GEC blog and am told the other boards have been incredibly quiet lately as well. Typically, I wait till a little later in the year to share my observations of the past 12 months, but this year I’m pushing it up a bit. So what’s up?
As far as sales go, this is shaping up to be one of the best but strangest years I’ve had in over 30+ years in sales. So far this year, I’ve had two of the best months ever since incorporating TSA Knives, and I’ve also had some of the longest dry stretches (as far as GEC knife sales go). The strange part is there just isn’t any single thing I can attribute either to. Sales haven’t necessarily dramatically increased with new releases nor dropped drastically between releases. And of course, some releases have been more exciting than others.
One thing for sure, the higher end knives still sell. I’ve been selling some fairly rare pieces through the store without mentioning them on the blog and they’ve been moving out about as fast as they get listed. My understanding is that’s also the situation with the higher quality GEC’s on Ebay. The same was true at the gunshow as the new Queen / Schatt & Morgan and Hess knives drew a lot of attention while I only sold a couple of EDC knives. I think people have gotten more savvy and recognize that price doesn’t always reflect quality. I believe I said it in a previous post that it was fun watching peoples reaction to the Hess knives when they saw the price tags. Pretty attractive to see a custom knife finished in gorgeous burlwood for $85 and up.
The gunshow was pretty active for a small regional show. Frankly, it was one of the better shows I’ve had in a while. I’d also recently picked up a fairly large number of items from an estate which helped drive people to my tables. People seemed relatively upbeat, money was changing hands and most of the other dealers said they’d had a good show as well . Everyone was ‘interested’ in the upcoming elections but I didn’t sense any overwhelming concern one way or the other.
Overseas interest in GEC has continued to grow like crazy from Tasmania to Finland and points in between. To some degree that surprises me considering most other countries are suffering from similar economic problems to us and in a number of countries much more severely. I guess in financially tight situations, we probably all still indulge ourselves once in a while and there are some with the means to continue collecting as usual.
I also know there are definitely situations where people are feeling the financial pinch. More than a few customers have told me they just can’t afford to buy as many knives as they used to. In addition, I’ve had more knives offered to me for sale by collectors this year than before. Understandably, most are selling the more ‘common’ knives and keeping the higher end items.
It seems that people are looking for something unique or at least ‘different’. I’ve had more than one exchange with customers saying they’re burned out on the reruns of GEC patterns that have been done over and over. On the other hand, if you’re a new collector, you might be thrilled to see a re-release of a previously run pattern. But if you’ve been collecting since day one and already have a #23 in Genuine Stag from 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010…you get the picture……
Then there’s been more than a few wishes made for more creative handle materials. I understand, but that’s kinda tough. Talk to 10 different collectors and you’ve got 9 different ‘wishes’. More acrylics, brighter colors, etc. It’s just tough to hit it out of the park every time with handle colors/materials. Then, you have to put the right color on the right pattern to make the color really pop. Personally, I’d like to see more micarta in different colors, orange, purple, blues, etc. Three or four years ago I’d asked Bill if there was any chance we’d see a #23 in orange micarta or G-10. At that time it was a firm no, but now we’ve got the Farm & Field in an orange delrin. I don’t want a #23 finished in Delrin, but maybe the orange or red micarta #23 is a possibility???
And a recurring conversation surrounds blade steel. 1095 and 440C are wonderful steels and do a great job. BUT, could you imagine a #23 with a gorgeous damascus. Or a #73 with D2 or maybe ATS34? As far as I’m concerned if GEC started mixing up the blade steels, they could probably spend the next 2 years just reissuing previous releases with them. But back to reality…..
Anyway, it’s been an interesting year and it ain’t over yet.