A Pakistan suppliers point of view...didn't see that coming did you?

I was recently contacted by a supplier of Pakistan knives and steel.  Now, Now...give this discussion a chance.

This supplier has been on iKC for a number of years.  When he first contacted me it was with the hope that I would listen and have an open minded discussion with him.  Because he is a member and has been very respectful not to overstep here at iKC with selling openly.  I chose to listen.  This was how the discussion started

The issue is that I want to directly market my knives in USA market, these have already been sold in large quantity but indirectly by my country men, both in retail and wholesale. But I am sick and tired by their behavior of exploiting the smooth running business contact by dishonesty in many ways.

Well, that intrigued me & I decided to be brutally honest.  My reply was that you face 2 challenges.  Poor steel reputation from the region and the working environment (as we know it).  A few more emails passed regarding the environment of the workers.  We came to understand that he himself is not a maker, but has many local makers producing for him.  He interviews makers before he begins to accept their work and checks out their product.   My next question?  Do you employ kids?  The answer, yes.  It is a fact of the economic life in that region that children work within the family.  Much the same as it was for us many, many moons ago.  What did I find different enough to continue listening after that statement?  He discusses with the family before hiring a young worker that he wants them them to get an education also.

So my next discussion with him focused solely on quality, not of the build but of the steel.  I asked him to read a current discussion on here http://www.iknifecollector.com/forum/topics/does-anybody-want-this-....  I have been pretty brutally honest with my answers to him.  I advised him to give a few of his knives to people that use them hard and have them reviewed.  I also advised that he needed to be prepared for the response about the knives be that whatever it may be!

Lat me start by making this clear.  I do not intend to sell Pakistan knives, nor will I allow soliciting on the site.  As an international community I am curious.

So here is my question.  If you knew a company stood behind their product, that you were dealing with the company owner.  Would YOU be willing to buy a knife made in Pakistan?

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Tags: Forum, Knife, Pakistan

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Comment by dead_left_knife_guy on January 10, 2015 at 5:24


Like many collectors, among some of my first purchases were Pakistani knives -- even the little boot knife dagger I won at the Anoka County Fair back when I was 10.  I don't recall seeing "Pakistan" printed on that blade, but if I had, back then, I'm sure I would have found it exotic.  I do recall, however, seeing the exact same little boot dagger, with poor fit & finish (e.g.:  double guard tipping to one side) that were marked “Pakistan,” so I have no doubt mine was of the same origin.

The point was already made here that Asia as a whole has been working with steel a lot longer than have Western countries.  And we've all gotta remember that Damascus ain't a town in Kansas!  To this point, however, it was the Middle East that became the hotbed of prosperity & scientific knowledge while Europe fell into the Dark Ages.  And now much of the Middle East is stricken with poverty & economic strife, which typically lead to the things like zealotry & extremism (just as happened in Europe during the Dark Ages), while Western countries are typically quite prosperous.  When talking manufacturing, even if a region used to make blades that were superior to others, there is no requirement or certainty that this would be the case hundreds of years later.

Ironically, among those in the knife collectors club to which I belong, I am one of the more prominent advocates of purchasing knives manufactured in China & Taiwan.  However, in these cases it is usually just the manufacture of the knives or parts that occurs there -- the knives are usually designed by and then distributed by a prominent company of which I am far more familiar (Kershaw & Boker, for example).  I'm not buying directly from the manufacturers or makers in China or Taiwan.  

The name on the knife doesn't mean everything (any company can have some problematic pieces slip through the cracks), but it is a better indicator that the knife will be backed by some warranty should there be a failure in manufacture.  Why?  Because the name on the knife means more to the company than it does to me -- if they sell me a crappy knife, I have a crappy knife.  If they sell everyone a crappy knife, they're going out of business.  

The exception being certain companies like Frost -- but then, people who are more serious about knives tend to get to know the reputations of companies like Frost & the wares they sell (often because we started out with such knives because they were much more affordable purchases & easier to justify than, say, a Benchmade).  But companies that sell such low-end knives as Frost depend on customers that either know little to nothing about knives, or that have too little money to adequately satisfy their knife addictions any other way -- as far as business strategies go, it's pretty solid, especially marketing to those who know little to nothing about knives (you can get cheapo stocking stuffers, sometimes even in the stocking!).  I am no longer in Frost Cutlery's demographic (or Timber Rattler's, or BudK's, etc.), but I'm sure they'll do fine without me.

Aesthetics aside (Pakistani knives are often quite gaudy, especially those that incorporate Damascus, but there is likely a big market for that, especially in countries like Italy or Russia), or the fact that they often just don't look functional (blocky handles are common, & so much decorative filing!), I have no idea who I'm dealing with when it comes to knife suppliers or makers in Pakistan.  I may recognize certain brands, but they're not brands I respect, nor are they brands that I would expect to stand behind their knives for moderate to hard use, nor do these brands have a reputation for anything other than cheap cutlery.

So again, to answer the question in brief:  Nope.

Comment by Jan Carter on August 10, 2014 at 7:17


Thats the way to do business and look out for YOUR customers

Comment by Marc Lacrimosa on August 10, 2014 at 6:46
You have to really work or check someone's work out. I dealt with a guy from Pakistan for years. His stuff was good. But then it became sloppy. He didn't believe I would stop business and I did. I told him. Your prices went up. Quality went down. I have a new guy building me Damascus bars. Recently took them to a well know maker in south Georgia. He checked them. Built a knife. Came back and bought them all. Impressed with the work.
Comment by Bob Robinson on August 9, 2014 at 19:04
Alexander, you did a great job on the review of these knives. I read over them last evening. I believe you have a good eye for details and fully and honestly give your best opinion either if good or bad. I am happy to see that you compared quality to a cost perspective for prospective buyers, users. From your review I believe if they continue to show quality is a main focus that their business can grow and be accepted globally. It only takes time to recover from quality issues that others have created in the marketplace. Thanks for your work!
Comment by Alexander Noot on August 8, 2014 at 7:51

Just posted a first review in the Sharper Review part of our forum.

Here's a link.


Comment by Marc Lacrimosa on August 8, 2014 at 7:43
I friended you this morning thanks. Sorry been dealing with a family illness.
Comment by Alexander Noot on August 8, 2014 at 6:35

I'm working on it right now. I just took pictures of two of the knives.

Comment by Waqas Yousaf Farooq on August 8, 2014 at 5:19

Thanx for compliments and I am waiting as well for the feed back from Mr.Alexander to Mr.Marc on the stuff I sent. 

And Mr.Marc My friendship invitation is still pending on your profile, If you accept that then we can have further use full discussion to some practicalities.

Comment by Marc Lacrimosa on August 5, 2014 at 7:32
Sounds great.
Comment by Alexander Noot on August 5, 2014 at 7:16

Marc, I'll see if I can start taking some pictures this evening. I'll do a full writeup on the 3 complete and 1 blank that I recieved.

If I can take the pictures this evening I'll have time to write a piece about it tomorrow or thursday.

White River Knives

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