Okami means wolf in Japanese.
Our fist knife collection is called Tomodachi (friends in Japanese).
Our company is producing a type of kitchen knives called Japanese made Western Knives (more on that in another post).
Our knives are made of VG10, an excellent Japanese kitchen steel. We import our VG10 directly from Japan.
The machines in our factory, our processes, our designs, our style and our company’s soul are Japanese or inspired by Japan.
However we decided to open our factory in China. Why?
Cost: You are obviously thinking about the cost and you are right. It is part of the equation and certainly allows us to offer such great prices to our customers but that alone is not enough. As a matter of fact, business are starting to leave China as it is becoming more expensive. The whole textile business for instance is moving to Bangladesh now. China has been growing fast for a while now. It has become the 2nd economy in the world and the Chinese people start to reap the benefits of those successes. The downside is that other emerging countries have become more competitive and attractive than China.
Easier: we found it easier to settle in China and to set up our operations there.
Yangjiang: A few cities in the world are famous for their knife industry. Thiers in France, Solingen in Germany, Seki and Miki in Japan and less known Yangjiang in China. Having a factory in one of these places is very important as it gives access to a large pool of talent, experience and know-how.
Knives have been produced in Yangjiang since 557AD. At the time the army of Madam Xiang was stationed in the area and steel knives and swords were in high demand. The locals were forced to produce them at first but it ended up transforming Yangjiang into a knife making powerhouse. There are more than 1000 knife factory in Yangjiang today and they are producing more than 60% of the Chinese knives.
Team: We are blessed to be able to rely on a team of great and passionate professionals. Every member of the team is focused on his task and trying to make a difference.
The management team is frequently flying to the other big knife making cities around the world, keeping up-to-date with the latest tendencies and techniques.
The bottom line is that we stand behind our knives, our team and our choice to produce our knives in China. We are extremely happy with the quality level we are able to reach and the potential of our team.
Products made in China often get a bad rap but China is still the world’s factory and is able to produce very cheap products and icons like Apple computers, Harley Davidson’s etc. It is the responsibility of the management to put the right process, the right people and incentives in place to ensure that the team can deliver high quality products.
Japan used to be in China’s position at the beginning of the 20th Century. Products made in Japan were considered as being low quality junk. How the times have changed. We believe that China is evolving from an early 20th century Japan type producing country, to a late 20th century one. We are modestly contributing to that transformation.