The Arkansas Knife Show 2018 (A review & my thoughts)

Logan Pearce

Awesome Sauce Smith (A.S.S)
Joined
Jan 21, 2012
Messages
371
1st thing that I need to say is that I have finally had some sleep. You would be amazed at how well you sleep after not doing it for 3 days. :D Also! I would like your feedback, if you do actually read all of this.


I will have to say that this is a weird thing for me. My reviews of shows have always been to help both the show and makers that would like to come to a show that they have never been to before.

Which made taking the Arkansas Knife Show so hard for me. Before when I posted about it or any show, I was simply an exhibitor. I want shows and makers to do well. However, now it feels like it is self promoting to talk about it. I try to stay as invisible as possible. In the last few months, I found that to be a mistake.

With all of that said, my review will be what I saw and experienced. I am sticking to the facts. So this will be both negative and positive. If you manage to read it all, do so with an open mind and heart.



Here goes:


The show was good. In the first few hours the ticket sales were higher than both days combined from the previous years. Which I am thrilled about. That did matter to me. I had a solid flow of people for the first 6 hours of the show. After 2 p.m. it started dying down. At 4:00 it was just the people who wanted to hang out with their favorite makers and enjoy each others company. The last sales we had were to 6 people at 4:45 p.m. After that no one else came in.

Now, a crowd matters, but if they aren't buying, then it's almost pointless. Only a short sighted person would think that just because there is a large crowd then it is a good show. To me it isn't pointless, because you are able to promote yourself to people interested in knives. Also, it would take around 10,000 people to fill up my venue. I haven't hit that mark yet, but I plan on it.

I know of a handful of makers that sold out before the show even opened.

I don't know how many people bought what. I do know that a lot of knives sold. I know that a multitude of people said it was the best show they have ever been to. If you are one of those people, then say so. I simply didn't have time to talk to everyone. Which, makes me want to bring back the whole slip per knife sold to enter you into a drawing.

I am sure some people didn't sell anything
. I know of at least 2 makers that had only sold one knife by 3 p.m.

As far as price range for knives being sold, everyone seemed to sell their highest knives first. Which was the same for me. I didn't really get behind my table until 1 p.m. My higher end knives went first and then my lowest ones went. My mid-range knives the $500-$1,000 ones stayed around longer. Which was more my fault than anyone else's.

What I do know is that it was a better show than 90% of the ones I have went to in the last few years.


SO!

With all of that being said. I think the show was amazing. Why? Because of everything that was against it.

Some negative stuff:

I had 60 makers drop out at the very beginning. If there isn't any makers, then there aren't any collectors. If there aren't any collectors, then there isn't any makers. Half of my supplier did the same thing whenever they found out I changed it to a 1 day show. At least a dozen of the past table holders went around telling my current table holders that it was going to be a terrible show.

If you are trying to kill a show. Keep doing that. If you want to hurt the knife community by attempting to get rid of an event that drives the topic of knives to their door step, by all means. By doing that is hurts you as well. It hurts you a whole lot more than it hurts me. I have never needed to be popular or known in the knife community. Never cared to be.

But you won't kill this show.

It will be here for as long as I am here. I care about this show. I care about the people that attend the show. I care about the people coming through the doors of the show. Everyone could give up and I would still be here.

1. Because any knife event that ends, hurt us all.

2. I'm not an idiot.

Well, #2 is debatable. :O


The weather wasn't great. It rained and sucked. At least it wasn't ice though. It stayed dry enough for my cutting contest.



Now some positive stuff:

Thank god for friends. I have to thank all of the makers that stuck with the show. A majority of them have no idea who or what I am. So, thank you for having faith in the show. I know I said it before, but I am happy to say it again.

I'm honestly glad that Jerry Fisk and the others didn't bail on me after I vented to them. Jerry once said I was like his adopted son. I have to agree. I love him and Bob to death. I asked things that I know he only did because I asked him to do them and he believes in the show.

There were times we didn't see eye to eye. Him and Bob being the voice of reason and me being as stubborn as I always am. They didn't abandon me, when it would have been easier to just tell me to stop coming over. lol. That being said, I do believe we are a team. However, he has no more to do with running this show, than I do of running the Fisk Micro Show. But we both help promote each others show. Yeah...I know. That's not confusing at all.

And honestly, every maker should be doing what we do when it comes to knife shows you attend. Simply get a handful of people that like your work to come to the show. It's literally your job to sell your knives. Why wouldn't you put the odds in your favor?


Running the show

So many things got passed me, but honestly my biggest problems were small ones. John Horrigan's wife was simply the best. I didn't have maps to give the public and was printing them out for most of the day. As soon as we had some printed they would be taken up by the people coming in. So she stuck with printing and giving them out for hours. Even when I had to go focus on something else.

I didn't have badges for the vendors ready until the doors open to the VIP. Which was terrible on my part. Everyone was great about it though. Far more patient than I ever thought they could be. :p

Again, all basically small things. I feel like a big problem would be not promoting the show or not having tables. Although my tables were switched with 6ft ones instead of the 8ft I was suppose to have.

I promise that it won't be like that next year.


Banquet:

I love me some banquets. What I don't care for is public speaking. I sort of, maybe, kind of, probably, could have messed up some of those speaking parts. I didn't write a speech. I should have. I was advised to. I didn't.

That's what makes it fun, riiiight?!


Pictures will be posted of the show. Ranger Bob asked if I wanted him to take pictures and him post them. So I look forward to seeing his work. Neither of us were ever free enough to even talk to each other during the whole deal.

Coop, as you have seen in his thread, was the knife photographer. I can not thank him enough for his efforts. When my oversights popped up, he handled things in a way that only he could have handled them. If I had one thing to be proud of it was asking him to come join the show. I was so happy that the table holders supported him being there as well. Top notch all the way around.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Before the show, I was told that it would be better if an organization ran the show. What do you think? So far every show that I have went to ran by an organization hasn't been as great as they claim it is. Which is why I am being so honest here. That and I don't care for bs.

~ Do you think the ABS should run this show? <- This questions doesn't matter very much, because I will never allow the ABS to run this show. I just want to know your thoughts. ~

I have considered starting up an knife organization for the last few years, to replace the AKA. I had said I would when they first ended it. But then I found that the number of people that actually put effort into things like that is so small that I would be running most of it alone.


Annnnnyway. I'm sorry for the novel. I was just trying to answer a whole lot of questions that keep being asked. The main question was how do I feel about the show and the future of it.

Simplest, answer is I love it. I had a blast. The whole thing is like a puzzle and I'm trying to figure out which pieces fit where. What works and what doesn't work. What to get rid of and what to takes its place. I love a challenge and I love puzzles. Multiple people said that I handled the tough situations without ever losing my cool. I never saw a problem. I only saw a chance to figure out solutions.

Also, at the moment I have the 2019 Arkansas Knife Show set for February 15 & 16, 2019.

I also want to hear how your show went. Good, bad, or indifferent. Complaints complete me and praise inspires me.

And a shout out to the collectors who stood behind me and the show. Joe R, Pat, Reuben, Kevin, John S, John W, Jack, Micheal, Ray, Kai, Chuck, Joe H, Phil M, Mandy, Les, Barry, David G, Buddy, James, Jeff D, Longze, and Garret for your support. Also, if I forgot your name don't hold it against me. It's 4 a.m. right now. :p
 
Last edited:

Ben Seward

Full-time Bladesmith/Part-time Idiot
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
1,090
Yep, ya done good! Great show! Since I was one of those guys who sold out begin I got there, I tried to make it around to see how other makers were doing...okay, and I also can't sit still behind a table for long;). I heard good reports on sales and people seemed happy with how it was run. I heard that a good bit of sales were happening at the banquet as well. I think bringing back the venue for makers and collectors to socialize was on of the best things that could have happened to the show. There were also some nice changes that left me with a good taste in my mouth likea free photo if you won an award and when Logan said he'd get me a duplicate of the award for free...both unexpected but much apreciated. Great job for the first go and I think it should be even better next year!
 

Don Hanson III

Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
Joined
Oct 3, 2002
Messages
12,295
Ya done good Logan, Real Good! Ya had great people helping also!

Most of my stuff was sold before the show. Steam Mill stuff and Kyle's one knife did not sell off the table? Kyle's knife and the Steam Mill cleaver got picked up at least a hundred times.

I was under the weather during the show and felt like crap, but held it together for the most part.

It was great finally meeting Rob Penny and spending time with good friends!!!
 

BFS

Gold Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2004
Messages
772
This was my first show in 15 years and I couldn't have picked a better one. The wife and I have zero complaints. We appreciated the hard work you put into it Logan. And most of all, we appreciated your friendship and the time we spent with you.

We're already looking forward to next year.
 
Joined
Jun 26, 2006
Messages
12
It's been so long since I'd been on here I couldn't remember my login, good thing this computer has a long memory... Wouldn't have known about this thread if Coop hadn't put the link in his letter, thanks for that Coop.

Anyway very well done my friend, no complaints and even though it's a pita getting off the mountain and to AR ;{) I sure plan on being back next year.

Thanks,
Doug
 

Critter

Platinum Member
Joined
Mar 23, 2003
Messages
1,565
First off, congratulations on an excellent show! :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:

Thank you for saving/resurrecting one of my favorite shows that had been headed downhill the past few years. With a few rare exceptions like BLADE Show, the most successful shows I go to are put on by someone with a passion for putting on a great show. You have passion and enthusiasm in spades and it is evident in the result. Keep doing what you are doing.

Yes, there were hiccups. None were fatal and everyone rolled with the flow. I have put on large events and I understand what it takes and you did a hell of a job for your first year. It will get a bit easier with this experience behind you and it will grow, because it was so successful and because you care. There will always be a challenge to make it better, just like a makers wants the next knife to be better. You are up to that challenge.

I will admit I was skeptical about the move to a one-day show. But, it worked and that's the proof. Change is hard. Most of us don't deal nearly as well with change as we'd like to think we do. Most of those naysayers and doubters will look at the results and come back. Many others will hear how well it went and want to come and be part of a show on the upswing.

Bringing back the banquet was brilliant and it will also only get bigger and better. Thanks for allowing me an opportunity to get up there and talk for a few minutes about my passion.

Finally, I want to thank all the generous makers who donated knives to support Knife Rights. Without your generous support, I couldn't do what we do. Together we are forging a Sharper Future for all Americans.

P.S: Since you have scheduled next year's show for the day after Valentines Day, guess I will have to bring my Valentine along. Everyone would rather see Sue than just me anyway. ;)
 
Last edited:

SBuzek

KnifeMaker
Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
Joined
Dec 7, 2006
Messages
3,363
Logan, the reason the show was such a success is your enthusiasm and passion burn hotter than a forge at high welding heat.
The room was buzzing most all of the show, can't wait for next year.
 

Don Hanson III

Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
Joined
Oct 3, 2002
Messages
12,295
Most of my stuff was sold before the show. Steam Mill stuff and Kyle's one knife did not sell off the table? Kyle's knife and the Steam Mill cleaver got picked up at least a hundred times.
Well, Kyle's knife did sell, just a delayed reaction. :D
Thanks Kevin!
 
  • Like
Reactions: BFS
Joined
Feb 15, 2002
Messages
1,704
Great job Logan! You got the big pieces right, starting with top quality knives from top makers who were engaged and enthusiastic.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Friday evening before banquet/single day Saturday show format. That’s your ‘platinum vip’ website option and is the way to get higher-end collectors from outside the region to travel. They (me included) will love getting dropped off at the Marriott Little Rock by an airport shuttle and into the lap of luxury with Starbucks and the the convention center attached. And right on the banks of a big river too.

The knife viewing and class judging (by the makers who hold show tables) as the main focus of the banquet is crucial for the vip collector who is always on the hunt for some bit of exclusiveness. They can preview the top knives, do a deal and the maker displays the winning knife with plaque next day at the show for all to see.

Many of these higher end collectors aren’t much interested in knives that the maker didn’t think were good enough to go head to head with their peers in one of the best-of classes. My guess is that a very high percentage of the Friday night knives sold by show’s end as compared with percent sold of all the knives not on display Friday night, maybe for more total dollars too.

I speak from a collector view which is only a piece of the pie. Still, I say go big. Own the show and don’t be embarrassed to put your brand on it. Join forces with Coop and drive Instagram traffic to the show. Likewise partner with the makers who can deliver both top knives and active collectors. Create an opportunity for millennial folks to enjoy a unique weekend getaway centered around the wonderful custom knives Coop has been showing them out there on the World Wide Web. There is cache around ‘Arkansas’ as ‘authentic’ and historical. Tap into that. Plus Little Rock is still an easy travel destination compared to many other cities, by car or plane..

There is a dilemma though. Would more of a traditional regional show with lots of materials vendors and many low price-point knives for the local walk-in crowd be better? I can’t say but it’s hard for me to see the growth potential of that orientation. Might be hard to cover all the bases.

Well done, Logan!
 
Joined
Mar 4, 2010
Messages
661
I was on the fence last summer about this show. Sent my table check in early thinking I may back out. I'm certainly glad that I did not do that.

Logan and all those behind the scenes did a stellar job for their first show.

Meet a lot of folks that otherwise I would not have had a chance too.

Too many high-lites to mention without forgetting something.

Overall I rate this knife show as a must attend.

Looking forward to next year.

Bing
 
Joined
Nov 14, 2006
Messages
1,109
The Little Rock Show is back!!!

I didn't go last year...forged my MS test dagger that Saturday. But I did hear it was down.

This year was really good, good mix of folks walking around...and a good number of people as well!

The return of the banquet is a big positive, as well as the one day format...in my opinion.

Logan is accessible and open to suggestions. He did a great job!

I'm partial, because I have attended the show even before I started making knives and I live 30 miles away, but I can see the show definitely growing next year!

If you make forged bowies it's the place to be, but definitely not limited to that. Just a good vibe all around. Sign up for next year!!!

Tad
 

fisk

National Living Treasure & Subject Matter Expert
Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
Joined
Mar 31, 1999
Messages
839
The main focus of a promoter is to get makers and collectors together and let them sort it out while being in a relaxing friendly atmosphere for both.

It behooves each maker to bring/invite folks to the show and put your best work out to whom ever is there. I talked to stock removal and tactical makers who had an excellent show as well as the forgers.

Logan did a lot of work to put it on so that it met the needs of all parties. I really expect this show to do better and better with him as the head as he has some fresh ideas.
 

Lhpanther

Gold Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2014
Messages
786
Logan,

Here’s my summary. I hope it answers a few of your questions.
Logan, it’s your show, you run it as you see fit. No organization is going to have as much passion, enthusiasm or accountability as you.
The Banquet: this is why I came. Personal phone calls, texts, DM’s and emails came from Don Hanson III Don Hanson III bbingenheimer bbingenheimer @Johnny Stout, You and Jerry F fisk . If you didn’t think you had a crew of makers pulling for you then you were sorely mistaken! Upon my arrival to the dinner, Bing greeted me with a hug and we chatted like old friends even though we had never met in person. Johnny saved me a seat at his table and we were able to play catch up. Many of my buddies I’ve met thru the Fisk Micro Show were in attendance at the dinner and Don Hanson and I stayed up late chatting until we felt the eyes of the wait staff on us since we had kept them from closing down the banquet room in a timely manner...oops :)
Side note: I think some of the guys wanted more food lol.
The Show:
The show itself was loaded with some serious talent. If you wanted to pick up a knife from one of the best makers out there, then this was the show to attend. Many knives were available during the morning which was nice for the collectors who showed up early to snag knives from their favorite makers. All of the tables were crowded throughout most of the show...to the point that I had to circle back many times to make it up to certain tables. One thing I noticed and really liked was that there weren’t many vendors. A few select vendors is fine with me, but when you get too many, the show can turn in to something other then a high end custom knife show, but that’s just my take on it. When the crowd settled down, I was able to sit and chat with many makers. I really love this part of collecting knives. All the makers were very open to chatting me up as long as I wanted. It was very laid back, easy and fun. All in all Logan, you put on a wonderful show. Thank you for your hard work and efforts. Thank you to all the makers who made the decision to attend, it was the right decision. I’m sure next year will be even better!
As a side note to any maker who bothers to read this; do yourself a favor and take as many pictures as you can of your builds and completed knives (they don’t have to be pro shots) and post them on this site as well as social media as far in advance of the show as possible. You have no idea how far this goes. It promotes you, your work, and the show. It also allows us, the collector, to drool, lust and plan accordingly (financially). Just a tip.
 
Last edited:

Logan Pearce

Awesome Sauce Smith (A.S.S)
Joined
Jan 21, 2012
Messages
371
Before I start replying to all of the comments, I do need to say thank you.

Rob is right, I had the support of great makers behind me. They had faith in me, when they had no reason to. They believed in the show, when I had never ran a show like this before. So, I'm glad that you guys supported the show and myself. As part of my very short speech at the banquet, I thanked you all and said I couldn't do it without you. I meant that. Every word.

Who I didn't thank was my staff, but I probably should have just given them a warning of what the next day would be like. They held up through it and didn't complain. Today, I gathered them up and told them I planned on making it grow much more and the light faded from their eyes. lol.

But seriously. Thank you all. For attending. For exhibiting. For not throwing rocks at me. You know. All of that stuff. ;)
 
Joined
Aug 12, 2011
Messages
1
I thought the show was excellent, I drove 11 hours to attend and I'll definitely do so again next year. Very well done Logan it was a great experience all around.
 
Joined
Dec 5, 2013
Messages
1,180
When Logan came down to Johnny Stout's Hammer-in back in October to promote the show, I was still buried in orders and couldn't commit to making knives for the show but, I offered to come up and shoot general show photos for social media promotion. I really like the venue and the group of makers that come to the Little Rock show so, I would have drove up anyway. I will have a table at the show next year.

IMG_4264 by Bob, on Flickr

IMG_4266 by Bob, on Flickr

IMG_4269 by Bob, on Flickr

IMG_4274 by Bob, on Flickr
 
Native XF ad, Below bottom BC
Top