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I don't make them but I've done something similar after having some similar feelings about web work (and some client issues in the past) and with my business partner we sell Japanese chef knives at Cutting Edge Knives which is a nice antidote to for us to the feelings you describe and we've been doing it for a bit over 3 years now.
It's also been a fascinating insight into running a totally unrelated business and has helped our agency day to day web work too so I say good luck and go for it and try something different that's not just reskinning your website!
Hey James, just checked out Cutting Edge Knives, very nice. I've recently embarked on something similar with watches/clocks/timepieces. Wonder if I could shoot a few questions by you?
Did you go for a direct to manufacturer relationship? Or through the wholesaler route? I'm attempting to work with manufacturers at the moment for watches and clocks, but they seem reluctant to work with me. Perhaps because I am not quite large enough to warrant 'partnering'.
I was put into contact with a distributor for Timex in the UK, but again they wanted a lot of proof of sales etc. that I couldn't provide, being that I haven't opened shop yet. You ever meet that kind of barrier?
Would be awesome to hear any advice or anything your happy to share, I'm all ears. Bookmarked Cutting Edge Knives, treating myself this Christmas for sure.
Yep, we found similar roadblocks with the bigger suppliers we approached in the early days. Generally speaking, they probably just don't need the hassle of wondering what a new shop/website might do for their brand and we found a few wouldn't go near us without a bricks and mortar shop (we're just online).
We were quite fortunate that we were able to research our market and got chatting with a fellow knife retailer who sold the same types of knife (high quality, specialist, difficult to get hold of stuff) and he took us under his wing as he was based in Canada and we weren't a threat to his business so were insanely lucky in that respect that he not only sold us some stock at cost to get us started but helped us by making introductions to the people who could supply us in Japan.
But the short story was that the bigger manufacturers wouldn't go near us so although we did want the smaller ones anyway, our initial aim was to at least a few ranges from the better known companies to compliment the more specialist Japanese ones.
Getting set up - like web work I guess - is a case of who you know as much as anything.
If you're getting into watches, you might want to drop Matt at The Big Watch Shop a line sometime as he's a friend of ours who's followed our path and set up and he might be able to point you in the direction of more specific watch related stuff :)
Feel free to drop me a line if you ever have any more questions, we've been lucky to get help and support at critical points in our business so it's good to try and share that karma.
Thanks James, that's all very helpful - kind of glad to hear that I'm not the only one facing the hurdles! I may drop you a line with a couple more questions over the coming weeks - I really appreciate that.
Good luck and speak to you soon.
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