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I Forge Iron

Making Bonsai Sissors


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  • 3 weeks later...

Glenn, I might add a few modest corrections to your last sentence.  He's the fifth generation of a family that developed and maintained a high end, high dollar product, and a niche market.

This is the business side of extraordinary niche markets that often gets overlooked.  Five generations of a family had to be market leaders without changing the traditional qualities of their product.  There's no guarantee that the market was always strong, or that it was always profitable.  Over the span of one hundred years, it's entirely reasonable to expect that there were very hard times in this market.  I would imagine that WWII was a serious threat to this business as a going concern.

That would convey a certain pride of ownership for fellow countrymen.

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Well said Rockstar I can't imagine it being different. I've seen plenty of ups and downs in my short(ish) life, 5 generations couldn't be less so. It's also the definitive argument in favor of my parent's oft heard to the point of being sick of it, adage. "Always have a fall back."

Just because the family has an extraordinary niche market sewn up doesn't mean it's a one trick pony. I'd be interested in how many other products they make, how many folks out there can afford a $35,000 pair of scissors?  Want to bet they make and sell lots of bonsai shears in the $100 range too?

That said, if I could make a nice living producing a couple three items a year . . . :)

Frosty The Lucky.

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Frosty, your last sentence made me chuckle because I remembered the part of that video where the Bonsai master had just spent a few hours discussing the intricacies of his custom order.  Then this fifth generation master of making this precise thing responded that it might take him six months to a year to research how he could make it happen.

Any customer who could spend hours conveying all the points they care about a pair of scissors is seriously focused on details.  This customer is willing to pay whatever it costs, and they'll wait however long it takes, but they won't accept anything less than their vision of perfection.  Missing that mark at all jeopardizes five generations of struggle.  That's a lot of pressure.

Another thing that comes to mind is that we're talking about scissors that have been masterfully simplified to a precise inflection point.  where anything more or less would detract from the piece.  A custom order would still have to hit that inflection point, to stay consistent with the "brand".  I suspect there are people working with electron microscopes who are less focused on detail.


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