So, this last Saturday I spent the entire day with Kosuke who was nice enough to fly into Madison and meet with me. I dragged him to our farmers market, drove out to meet Isaiah at his shop and sampled some new stuff that he brought. I took him to my favorite sushi place (Muramoto) and then took him out for beer and pizza for dinner. I think I fattened him up a bit.
Here's a few things we talked about.
We're going to offer the corian handles on the western HD again. We can do white again but they have lots of different colors and styles to choose from. I'll get some samples and show them when they arrive. I kind of like the speckeled ones that have flecks of contrasting colors in them better than just straight white. I showed him the polymer handles and the custom ones Adam and Matt and some of you other guys are doing and he was blown away.
Also, we are going to do a whole line of Ginsan stainless steel knives with the hybrid western handles. My first order will include:
All of these will be done with a satin finish and we're getting a good price on them so they should be competitive.
Kosuke is 33 years old, has a wife and 2 daughters and his father is the owner of Kaneshige cutlery. Kosuke started the Konosuke brand to offer high quality hand made knives from Sakai City craftsmen and his brand is really taking off with our customers big time. Our only problem is supply. We're getting in weekly orders but as you guys can tell from how many knives are constantly out of stock we are selling them faster than they're coming in. He's has some exciting projects coming later this year with a few new blacksmiths. We also may be getting some unique show pieces from him to sell as drop ship items along with some sizes that we would never normally carry like big debas or extra long yanagis.
I've been invited to Japan by a bunch of suppliers and it's time for me to take the plunge. Kosuke offered to host me in Sakai, take me around to meet their blacksmiths and sharpeners and also travel to Kyoto. I told him I'm doing it so I'll try and plan a trip in the spring. Looking forward to meeting Sada Imanishi in Kyoto and the crew at Naniwa too.