Retirement Plans

April 12, 2020

I've been grinding away in a shop on and off for around 15 years now. In the military, I'd get off work, wolf down chow, remove my fatigue top and head straight to the shop for the evening. Later I'd make knives when I was home from contract work or in-between day job projects. Some forgot that I did this for years before ever letting friends talk me into trying to sell blades to the public.

A lot of folks don't see the effort that takes. I remember one year when a knife show attendee decided to start telling people that I must be having knives made by a factory because of the amount of knives I brought. After all, the maker he stood in line for only brought 3-4 knives before touting "sold out" and leaving a line full of folks who traveled across the country empty handed when they didn't win a lottery. I recall many instances of making kydex out of the back of a rental or company vehicle using an inverter for power. At one point I was home 1-2 weekends a month. I found myself spending one of those weekends grinding blades while sitting Indian style on the floor in a bare garage before the rest of my belongings were unpacked in a new house.

Folks don't see 14 hour days, sacrifices and hard work to do your best to deliver product, rather than spending your time entertaining folks on social media. Some don't see certain businesses that market "handcrafted" items which interpreted means merely assembled or packaged by hand. Not to sound bitter, but a lot of what makes for popularity in the business and maintaining a high level of sales is simply not for me, which is why I've never wanted to be a full-time knifemaker. Needless to mention working in a shop full of hazardous materials isn't a great long term health plan. I know some amazing full time craftsmen & women and it is a very tough way to try and make a living.

All that is a bit simpler when you're single and are willing to sacrifice it all to work as much as you can towards your business. When you have other career goals and want to start a great family, you need to find the time and money to do so. I am an active person at heart with a drive to serve my loved ones and my community.

As such, I need to stop burning the candle at both ends. It is a tough situation as I enjoy making knives and love making my customers happy. Right now it is my intent to draw down and retire from the business in the next year. My plans were pushed to the right due to the COVID19 situation, so I will make the best of it. I still have some time in the shop and will use it to finish projects that have been sitting. I am weighing several options on what to do with the business. Selling outright or separately licensing more designs to factories are things I am considering. 

Those who own my knives need not worry as I will always maintain warranty repairs on your blades.

Thanks for your continued support and I Iook forward to serving you this year

Joe



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