Have you had supply chain issues due to COVID?
A little, but I kind of saw it coming, so I stocked up while the market was normal. That was a good thing during COVID because everybody was cooking and shopping!
How do you make decisions about design and quality?
My design decisions always start with what looks good to me. As for quality, there are things you should never do to a knife, but I know people will do it anyway, so I torture-test my knives then re-engineer them. I always say the best tools you have in your toolbox are mistakes.
What are the most significant production challenges?
Demand. I got some great advice a few years ago that blew my mind: I met the president of Pappy Van Winkle and asked him how he got so successful. He said, “Keep the demand high and supply low,” and walked off. I had to figure out how to do that and grow at the same time.
How did you find that balance?
I’m just now getting to the point where I’m okay saying no. I tell people money comes, and money goes, and it will come again. Time just goes. If you’re only chasing money, you’re losing time. There is pressure, though – I have to sell and create. I have two kids, and I have sacrificed so much away. I can’t get that time back, but I am showing them something important about work ethic. As a Black man, I don’t want my kids to be inspired by TV. I want them to be inspired by me.