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Recommendation? Starting a knifemaking shop in Canada/Toronto

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by Oromis, Aug 7, 2019.

Where should ı choose

  1. İt is possible do it in canada

  2. İt is possible but do it in turkey

  3. İmpossible in canada

    0 vote(s)
  4. İts gona be hard

Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Oromis


    Apr 16, 2017
    Hello everyone. My name is Mert and ım from turkey. I wanted to start a knife workshop, ı have made 4 knives before. First one with help of a knife maker from here and other 3 with very minimal tools, ı practice leatherwork too and ı made 2 sheats and some small edc leather stuff. So ı can say I at least know the tools and how they work and have some expreince on them. And for the last few months ı was with some carpenters and ı got some experience on wood works. And ı found out I love knife making more than carpentery and ı want to focus more on that. So ı have decided to start a knifemaking workshop but ı have got some questions on that subject.

    A small part of my family lives in Canada/Toronto, ı got a 10 year turistic visa to canada, ı know touristic visa is not enough for working and renting a shop, is there possibility like in the usa like "if ı invest a certain amount of money ı can legally start a business", and if its possible with a rule like that how much would it cost to rent a small shop, get some basic and important tools, and steel and other production goods.

    And ı see usa guys always dealing with the "taxes" is accounting really that hard, can ı be succesfull in it or ı heard some people hire a accountant for that is it really that hard?

    And the last part some of my friends sad dont go to another country, start the business in turkey. You can go or transfer your business to canada if you really want to go after you succesfully build your bussines in turkey. İt kinda makes sense but turkey doesnt have big knife market and knife entusihasts. Canada has bigger knife market and much more and better production goods. And ı have the chance of getting help from family members in toronto. Can it be easier with there help? I think it can if ı start it with enough resource and money.

    I have been in canada before and ı have some friends in europe and in canada so ım not a complete stranger.

    I wonder what would u guys say about this specially experienced knife makers and canadian people. I cant find a solution for me right now.
  2. Lapedog


    Dec 7, 2016
    I live in Toronto and you could maybe talk with a bank here about opening a business like this. They will be able to answer all your questions; legal, tax or otherwise. I do know that if you are starting a business then you will be more likely to get any citizenship type stuff you may need.

    If you open a knife shop in Toronto you got one potential customer right here. I don’t know about opening a knife making business in Turkey then moving it to Canada. Knife making is a business with potentially a fair amount of heavy weight equipment which will be a royal pain to transport from Turkey to Canada. You’d probably have to sell your equipment and buy more once you’re here.
    Oromis likes this.
  3. weo

    weo KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Sep 21, 2014
    Oromis likes this.
  4. 12345678910


    Jul 13, 2009
    Post photos of your four. maybe you're good enough to sell them, maybe you need 20 years more experience, maybe you will never be good enough.

    You will sell more to USA and other countries than Canada

    If you have a tourist visa, you are not permitted to work.

    Apparently you can invest 2 million CDN$ - but that's in Quebec and you have to speak French

    There are income taxes and goods and services taxes.
    Middle income people pay over 60% of our income in tax - mostly hidden in the price of gas and goods.

    Toronto rents are stupid high, $1,500 cdn$ Per month for a single apartment.

    Plus the weather, the Winter sucks - stay where you are
    Paying for winter heat is a huge cost

    As long as Turkey has some sort of courier, mail shipping service - stay where you are, build your skills, keep your costs low, sell on the internet.

    Ship your supplies in and your good out.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
    Oromis and Willie71 like this.
  5. razor-edge-knives

    razor-edge-knives Moderator Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 3, 2011
    @Sharp & Fiery is in that area and going to get in knife mods/making from what I hear. May want to try to connect with him at some point, he knows his knife stuff:thumbsup:;)
    Oromis and Sharp & Fiery like this.
  6. Oromis


    Apr 16, 2017
    I think you are right about transfering a business from turkey to canada would be very hard, ı dont think ı would do that if ı start in turkey, but ım considering it as an option for now.

    But in canada there is a bigger market for knives, its an + for me, and even a simple kydex is hard to get and expensive in turkey, ı just searched in online but ı think the effort to get supplies is something a starter must consider. And saws, drills and ovens and other things definitly would be hard to transport, ı thought maybe ı can buy them from turkey and then ship to canada but there would be voltage problem. And the ı cant find a clear answer of legality, ı dont want to break any laws and in turkey to open a workshop someone needs to get a certificate of mastery, to get it someone either needs to go a 2 year school (it is for carpentery) or u apply for an exam at instution of the branch. Or u need someone with a mastery certificate to work with you. And for knifemaking it counts as an old art starts to be forgotten so some people can legally have the right to not to pay taxes for knifemaking. But it only means something if u have customers.
  7. Oromis


    Apr 16, 2017
    Thanks for the info weo. I looked at it now and my goal is not making a good money, ı just want to job that ı liked to do for the rest of my life. And ı really like using my hands for my job. I was thinking carpentery because in turkey they have bigger market but the last carpentery master ı was with told me "choose what u want more because when you do something you love the money will not be important." And he was 50 years old with a expreince of 17 years in accounting that he hated.

    So ı have decided ı need to go with knifemaking, and thanks for your message.
    Lapedog likes this.
  8. Oromis


    Apr 16, 2017
    Thanks for your message 12345678910, maybe ı can post the photo of the knives but nobody would even look at them twice, ı made them with minimal equipment, the first one ı made is kinda nice but ı get help from a turkish knifemaker and used professional equipment when ı make it so it shouldnt count.

    Being close to usa from canada is a one more + for me, in turkey the most of the market is either kitchen knives or bad designed bushcraft knives, ver very small portion of the market looks for good design and quality material. And ı think canadian and american people values more to good work.

    And ur about visa thats why ı ask, in turkey if someone invests 250.000 TL (ı dont remember the exactly but it was something like that) u can get a citizenship or legally start a business as a foreign citizen. I wonder if ı have an option like that in canada. Or only legally starting a business would be enough for me to work in my shop. And ı dont have a huge amount of money for this. So investing 2 million is not even something to dream for me.

    And ı wonder how you guys calculate taxes?

    And taxes is high in turkey to if ı get a car ı pay almost two times the price to the government. And other stuff too but its not our subject right now.

    Aboute rents in toronto they are high you are right, but everything comes with some roughness.

    Selling on the internet is my primary thought, doesnt matter the country. İts almost 2020 and we live in a tech age is there even another option at this age.

    Thanks for your message.

  9. Oromis


    Apr 16, 2017
    Thanks for the advice Razor, if my choice is canada, ı will send a message to him first.

    @Sharp & Fiery I wonder what you think about my dilemma Sharp, do you have any advice?
  10. Lapedog


    Dec 7, 2016
    @Oromis I have been trying to analyze the potential of a knife making business in this part of Canada for a while now. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

    Please email me at [email protected] and I would be glad to share any thoughts with you.
    Oromis likes this.
  11. HSC ///

    HSC /// KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 7, 2012
    Ok I'm going to be the that guy... :D
    If you want to start something in Canada or wherever, I would just go do it....
    I'm in France right now for 4 weeks and have some possible intention of making knives here in the future.
    There's alot of conservatism on this site ( I don't mean politically) but carefulness.
    I know I need a long stay visa and a residence card in France eventually etc etc. I'll figure it out.
    Until then, I'm not letting all the reasons become obstacles for me.
    I've been making knives fulltime for 18 months and I don't have any business banking account, "licenses" and I do my taxes myself just fine online with software.
    I don't believe any authority in Canada is going to be coming after your business knocking on your door asking for paperwork.
    Once you get going and make things that sell, I'm sure you will figure out all the other things that are important for your business.
    You have family there you can make use of.

    My father was an immigrant to London, then we immigrated to Toronto and then Los Angeles. Be an immigrant and go make your way.

    Knifemaking full-time has many challenges, in my opinion these challenges are much bigger than the areas of concern you mentioned above.
    It would be good for you if you have zero debt, low living costs, and having some other income on the side makes your knifemaking more "relaxed"

    good luck.
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2019
    Oromis and Lapedog like this.
  12. Natlek


    Jun 9, 2015
    Stay in Turkey ,make knives there and sell to whole world .I don t know laws in Turkey but if I want to make knives here in Macedonia and to seel them out I will have HUGE advantage / in costs / compared to American knives makers....
    Oromis likes this.
  13. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    I will point out a few things to think about:

    1) When your start out doing something illegally, it is harder to make it legal later on. - Don't talk/listen to "friends" about immigration advice. Write/email/call the Canadian embassy and find out exactly what and how you can do your dream. In most cases, you can't work or run a business on a visitor's visa.

    2) You have made four knives. That is a long way from being a professional knifemaker. - Stay in Turkey and learn how to make knives. Nisit some knifemakers and take tips and tessons from them. If money isn't a big issue, go to Canada as a visitor and move near one of the good knifemakers there and work for him for free to learn the craft. When ready to go professional, contact the Canadian authorities and find out where to go from there.

    3) Making a living with knifemaking is not a good goal in life. Only the rare few make any serious money. Most barely survive. Many quit after a few years and go back to their old job.
    The few who do well either have a much larger business/ranch/farm and the knifemaking is a nice sideline, or they have a spouse who makes good money that gives them both full insurance and a big 401K.

    I'm not saying you couldn't someday become the greatest knifemaker Canada ever saw, just that you aren't there yet. Keep practicing. Showsome photos to help us gauge your progress so far. - Good luck.
    Oromis, Natlek and Lapedog like this.
  14. scott kozub

    scott kozub Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 1, 2018
    I live in Niagara which is only an hour away from Toronto. I admit that I have considered the same thing but with a twist. There are no high end knife places here so I was thinking more along the line of opening a store front were custom knives are sold and a shop in the back where I also make knife to sell in the store front. My conclusion was that this would be crazy. I have well paying job so as a hobby or maybe a retirement plan it wouldn't be so bad but not an idea to live on.

    I'm an Engineer but in north america we have a HUGE need for trades. Many trades only work 36 hour weeks and are paid extremely well. If you enjoy working with your hands, and are coming to Canada, I would highly suggest getting into the trades and start something up as a side business. If your sales are small (I think less than $100,000 per year) I don't think you need to collect taxes but then you can't write stuff off. If the business takes off, you can grow it at your leisure.

    As noted above, taxes are very high here and housing has increased exponentially the last few years.
    razor-edge-knives, Lapedog and Oromis like this.
  15. Danke42


    Feb 10, 2015
    What makes a knife maker good/popular is very portable. Learn your craft and decide where you want to do it.

    Canada is a great place to live but there are massive pros and cons to living anywhere. Try visiting the place you plan to move to in both summer and winter if coming to Canada. Winter here can be miserable and could make it very hard to dial in an outside forge or shop while you acclimatize.
    Oromis likes this.
  16. Oromis


    Apr 16, 2017
    Thanks for your message HSC, ı think you gave me a good and a positive messsage. ım feeling like we have something in common except from knives :D, ı think the biggest challenge in knifemaking is the managing the business, and ım saying for all the people wants to be a knifemaker here, ı just found out this today too. in leathercraft its an general idea for people wants to turn a hobby in to a business. "Even if somebody makes a good quality product, if he doesnt know how to sell it, then hes businees will go out." ı think managing a business is the only hard part against us. And luckily it can be learn.

    You are right about fulltime knifemaking has bigger challenges than what ı sad in this thread. ı agreee with you on that. And ı agree with the rest of your message too.

    Thanks for your advices.

    HSC /// likes this.
  17. Oromis


    Apr 16, 2017
    thanks for your message Natlek. If ı start my business in turkey, ı will have to focus on primarly in Turkey becuase, ı will have to spend at least a year to be known and learn to operate a business and to make good knives which is the real part. ıt would definitly take a long time to be known enough to sell the world, and as ı sad before quality materials are expensive and hard to find here. even kydex and stuff like simple epoxy. but ı guess every maker aims for having customers from all around world. I will aim for it too.

    And ı wonder in macedonia can you reach quality material cheaper than american makers?
  18. Oromis


    Apr 16, 2017
    Thansk for your message Stacy. I never thinked about doing it illegaly, thats why ı wanted know about law stuff because if they gona kick me out from the country then why do ı go there? I dont want to get deported, so ı need to follow the law but to follow ı need to know first. Im definitly going to send a mail to Canadian Embassy, very much thanks for your number 1 advice.

    And you are definitly right about me being far away from being a pro knifemaker, thats a thing ım not forgetting when thinking all of this.

    Your are definitly right about knifemaking doesnt makes big moneys. I think the real truth of that is because people may know to produce good art or products but somebody needs to sell it to the deserved price to keep the business going. and usually if the maker cant sell it. the business goes down fast. I dont have a answer for the selling part, but ım pretty sure real anwer includes a lot of advertising and internet. and ım pretty sure its for like this for a lot of business that requires hand skills.

    Thanks for your message

  19. Oromis


    Apr 16, 2017
    Thanks for your message Scott, I heard Niagara is a nice place. ypu gave me a nice message too. Im definilty going deep for either knifemaking or carpentery, thanks for your sales advice. And ım definitly look in to that tax thing about "less than 100.000$", it is a nice rule for starters.

    And you guys really starting to scare me about house rents, ı dont know do you know but ı don think it can be scarier than Turkey's :D. but it is definitly something to consider for me.

    Thanks for your message

  20. Oromis


    Apr 16, 2017
    Thanks for your message Danke, ı visited Toronto before in autumn, so ı can guess what am ı up to. And ım a winter person, so ım ready for the legendary canada cold. But everyday is a new surprise.

    Thanks for your message


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