There was no big plan. I would love to say that I had a business plan thoroughly analyzed and in place before I even got started, but to be honest I really didn't.
Your Last Knife started and continues to grow very organically. I'm a Chef with 16 years experience and a passion for knives. I have always loved making things, from household furniture, to car mods and things for my old YouTube channel.
So how did Your Last Knife start?
It was born from my cheapness. I found a supplier that would sell me knife blanks, and thought "If I buy a handful of blanks, make up a 4 knives and sell 3. I would get a free knife".
Who doesn't want a free knife?
So I did just that, and put them up on Facebook Marketplace. 2 hours later I was 70 messages deep of people wanting one.
I used the profits from those sales and put it all back into buying more blades., which I sold all again, very quickly.
But how did we turn this from a side project, into a fulltime business?
I needed a way to invest and grow the business without taking out a business loan. We had just had our son and my wife was on maternity leave. Not only was it not a good idea to take on extra debt, but I doubted the bank would approve us for the loan in the first place.
Kickstarter was a fantastic opportunity for us to see if running my own business was a viable option, without the stress of paying a huge loan.
Fortunately, Kickstarter was a huge success in generating interest and sales. However, I was underprepared for the large number of orders and way off in my time estimate for completion of them.
There is a big difference between making 20 blades total, to over 700 within three months. I was stressed.
I discovered the joys of kickstarter/amazon payments fees, taxes, import duties, delays, international shipping, new machinery, consumables and advertisement costs. It was a steep learing curve.
I ran over my Kickstarter completion date by about a month or two, but managed to get all the orders out. Our backers were very understanding which I was eternally grateful for.
The year after Kickstarter was spent growing Your Last Knife, continually improving the product and refining the finishing process. It was also spent figuring out how to run as a business as a sole trader and live off of it.
Then the pandemic hit. We were and are incredibly fortunate to live in Australia where the situation has been kept under control. I know a lot of people and businesses struggled during the pandemic. Luckily, we weren't one of them (at least not yet).
Megan (my wife) parted ways with her job and it was the ideal opportunity for us to realise our dream of working together from home. Megan has a wealth of experience with over 15 years working in retail as a Buyer, Retail Property Coordinator and management of websites and marketplaces. Team that with her qualifications in Theatre Design and it was clear she could bring a wealth of experience and creativity.
We've made a pretty good team thus far and we both enjoy being able to work from home while creating a product that people love. Our customers are the real MVPs, and we appreciate everyone who takes a chance on us, and gives us the opportunity to do what we love. Thank you!