In Search of Cool…

The Holy Grail… when your product elevates to the status of “cool.” We know, we have a ton of products at Mixology Depot that meet the cool test!

Cool just doesn’t happen by itself. It also doesn’t happen if you try to force it. Thousands and thousands of products flow by our eyes, in and out of our brains, every single day. Most barely register because they are not remarkable… they’re but background noise to life.

I look for cool constantly.  I search the world for cool. I race the aisles of global trade shows scanning every little thing in search of the one item that is unmistakably cool. I explore cluttered, crowded markets in distant lands in search of cool.

When I think I’ve found it… I ask every question possible so that I understand it totally. It must make sense. I need to verify that it’s the real deal…. no fake cool for our peeps!

Sometimes cool is in the process as much as the product.

I found really cool Damascus knives… hand-made by a Japanese artisan, with 1200 layers of steel! Can that be possible? But then the price was not cool… like 3 grand each. Unfortunately, my complete definition of “cool” must include the ability to offer the product at a reasonable price.

Then, I found cool little spoons hand-made in Norway from reindeer antlers. The artisans hand craft each from salvaged antlers found in the forests. Pricing was reasonable… the story was great… however, upon testing, the spoons smelled like sulphur when heated. Sorry…. the little spoons lost their coolness on that one.

IMG_1704In Germany a few months ago, I ran across these knives at left. Hand forged look, blacksmith marked… all the initial indications of cool. When I asked about their manufacture, I learned that they are hand-made in China by old men. Younger men don’t want to make them because it’s too much work, too hard. Okay, interesting story so far, cool look…. could these be the “cool” I’m after?

Two months later, I find myself in China, a mere 4 hours from the forge that produces the knives. I just have to see them being made! I contacted the factory and made arrangements to go there to see the “old men” hand crafting the knives!IMG_1686

After a 4 hour car ride, we arrived at the workshop…  only to find no one there! There are no old men, no young men…. no men at all! There is just a cold blacksmith’s hearth, some tools… and a pile of coal. Hum…

I asked my factory host. “So, I come 4 hours to see the old men making the knife… and there are no old men, no knife… why?”

She responds very matter of fact-ly; “No work today… work tomorrow.”

By now,  my bullshit meter is starting to blow a gasket and I’m wondering if the knives are really made by old men in this shop. The coals were cold… there was more than a bit of dust.

Nonetheless, I returned to the USA with a few samples of the potentially cool knives. The potentially cool wooden box they were in, fell apart in transit. Hum again.

I showed the knives around the office for my “person on the street” type opinion. Women just didn’t get the coolness factor. A few people likened them to prison shanks… but for the most part, guys thought the knives were cool.

Now… I have a cool story (that I really don’t know is true) and a cool knife, with a reasonable price…. what’s left?

Here’s a biggie… FITNESS FOR USE. Is the knife a good knife? Is the the steel good steel? Will it hold an edge and keep an edge so that our customers will be happy with its performance?

I used the knife, the twisted one piece shank version. I used it every day for six weeks. I dulled it, sharpened it… cut wood, banged it… put it through an accelerated use. I watched it rust in the pits and folds. I saw bits of the blackening come off on my grapefruit… it discolored.

Hum… over time, it didn’t seem as cool anymore. Hence, this knife will not be a Mixology Depot product. Great products are more than looks… they must perform or we won’t offer them to you.

You deserve the very best. That’s why every single product at Mixology Depot is hand selected, tested and guaranteed to be the real deal.

I have to go now… there’s more “cool” to be found….





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