Tag Archives: pricing

Knife Pricing Creep

Knife Pricing Creep…. hmmm, probably not the best phraseology.  Let’s just accept that the word “creep” isn’t a reference to an individual but to an occurrence.  As in the price is creeping up.

In the past two years the cost of doing business has slowly but steadily gone up.  Postage costs have been one of the biggest contributors to increasing expenses.  The cost of a domestic shipment has gone up 8-10% and shipments outside of the US have really shot up.   I really sympathize with overseas buyers who can end up doubling the price of a knife through postage and duty.  The Whalers were costing $22+ to ship overseas.  Domestically, the Whalers cost $3.50 to ship and I have started adding the cost to some of the stragglers I’ve had come in.

PayPal and Credit Card processing charges have also increased.  Depending on the card, size of the charge and whether there is a currency exchange involved fees can run over 8% of the transaction.

On top of these costs, I recently had a rather painful experience with PayPal.  A package sent to Europe was diverted to Mexico by the USPS.  Once it hit Mexico the tracking information stops with no further updates.  After several months the customer (justifiably) files a claim with PayPal.  Even though I can clearly establish that I shipped the knife and the USPS is totally at fault, the loss is mine to cover.  It seems that PayPals “Seller Protection” covers lost shipments only if the seller can prove the package was ‘delivered’????  Sounds to me more like “Buyers Protection”, but that’s another story.

I’ve watched other dealers go from Free Shipping on everything to Free Shipping on orders over a certain dollar amount.  Some are bucking the old trend of trying to have the lowest price on their knives.  If you’re in business to make a living, margins are pretty critical to keep the wolf from the door.

In the past I’ve complained that we never know the price of the Great Eastern Knives until the day they actually ship to the dealer.  In a perfect retail world it would be great to be able do the same and precisely pass on the exact expense occurred on each sale…. (and a decent cigar still cost a nickel).

The point being, I’m trying to figure out a way to pass on some of these expenses without inflicting too much pain on anyone.  It’s a lot easier to calculate overseas shipping costs as there’s a broader window covering a broader band of shipping weights/cost.  I’ve tried using the item weight shipping calculator which isn’t real accurate and often ends up overcharging the customer.   The problem is really tough to solve when a $200 and a $59.95 knife both cost $2.69 to ship.

For now, I appreciate you listening.  Sometimes its easier to come up  with a solution if you can talk (write) through a problem.  To keep things running profitably, there’s probably some minor price adjustments in the future.  Hopefully, most won’t even be noticeable.  I do promise to make a best effort to keep them reasonable.

 

Early Weekly Update & Stag Pricing

Another relatively quiet for new products.  The 47 Vipers continue to dribble in with the stag arriving this week.  Which made scratch my head as to what’s happening to stag pricing.  I’m not mad, frustrated or disturbed by it, but rather curious.  It’s one of those imponderables that I occasionally try to comprehend for no really good reason.

I’ve seen GEC go through a number of convolutions with naming and pricing their stag handled knives.  I think we all accept the fact that market prices for Stag drive the retail price of the knives, but it’s the differential between the different grades of stag that puzzle me.  Personally, it doesn’t matter to me but I only discuss it because a customer/collector will occasionally ask me to explain it ….. and I can’t always.

Just for clarity, my understanding has always been that Genuine Stag was a premium, non burned “natural” form of stag.  The Burnt Stag was inferior in color and therefore ‘burned’ to dress it up.  When Natural Stag came along,  it was a notch below qualifying as “genuine stag” but too nice looking to burn.  And in 2014 we saw a couple of knives come through just called ‘Stag’.

In the beginning….. there was Burnt Stag and Genuine Stag with Genuine Stag typically commanding a 20% premium.  By 2011 we had a ‘new’ stag show up called Natural Stag which was originally priced about the same as Burnt Stag.  But we saw the differential for Genuine Stag jump as much as 40% at wholesale.

Two years later, the price of Natural Stag bounced about 10% higher then Burnt Stag and today, Genuine Stag has virtually disappeared.  Last year the price differential of Burnt and Natural started to close.  This year,  the Natural Stag Vipers are serialized and roughly a $1 more expensive then the non-serialized Burnt Stag which no longer have a shield. ( I think dropping the shield on the Burnt Stag made a lot of sense. )  When you consider that adding serial numbers used to bump the price up around $8-10…. PLUS there’s no longer a shield on the Burnt Stag…… then the Natural Stag has gotten less expensive then Burnt Stag???

So the question I hear is which is the ‘better’ stag?  Natural or Burned?  All a matter of personal choice but it’s definitely an interesting question to ponder.  It would seem that as Natural has seemingly replaced Genuine Stag it would be considered the more desirable (i.e. expensive) material.  Don’t know what to say.

What I do know for certain is we passed the high water mark for premium stag a number of years ago.  Recently, I’ve been putting up some older GEC stags that came out of a collection from the 2008-2009 era.  For you guys/gals that have been around a while, remember stag like this?  That’s over an inch thick.

2008 Burnt Stag
2008 Burnt Stag

 

Good News re: Pricing on the Trestle Pine Knives Buddy

For the past month, I’ve been struggling with why the production cost on the Trestle Pine Knives Buddy was coming in as high as it was.  I wanted to keep the price as reasonable as possible and hoped they’ be in the sub $100 range.

Got home late last nite after a quick trip to Iowa,  the invoice was here.  Well, that cartoon bubble light bulb went off over my head!  Figured it out.  I already had the total  cost figures,  but had overlooked the fact the knives were being run in two groups.  I’d rolled the total costs for all of the knives into the first group.  In other words, the second group were going to be ‘free’.  Hmmmm….. doesn’t work that way.  Recalculated everything and it all started to make sense.

As a result, the per knife price came down and I’ve adjusted the store price and refunds have been sent out to everyone.  Do appreciate the fact no one’s complained at the original higher price and the feedback you’ve given me makes me feel good that you’re happy with the knife.  Glad to be able to return a few bucks to you.

I spent some time with Mike at WSSI this weekend down in Iowa.  I had some more wood to get stabilized and Mike showed me some really gorgeous, unique slabs of wood.  In the first run I had a pair of the Buddy’s built with a Redwood Birdseye Burl that came out great and there’s all kinds of really unique wood Mike has to offer.  Almost all of it unique to his dying and stabilization process.

Redwood Birdseye Burl
Redwood Birdseye Burl

There are a few more pieces of the Redwood I plan to use on the upcoming folder and decided I may just experiment with a few more pieces of some of the other unique slabs Mike has.  It’s fun to break away from all the traditional ‘woods’ we see on a regular basis and I’m anxious to see how the other pieces finish as well.