It recently occurred to me that I have covered just about everything here for knife lovers, enthusiasts, and users. Besides selling knives, that is.
Selling merchandise online is a fine way to set up shop without all the hassles that come with a brick-and-mortar store. Knife collectors who are only selling single units at once will need an online platform where they can connect with a legitimate buyer also.
So, today, we discuss everything you need to know about how to sell knives online either in your locality or internationally.
Get strapped in.
Table of Contents
Do You Need A License to Sell Knives Online?
You would not need a license to sell homemade and craft knives. If you are selling knives for domestic use, you would not need a license either.
For vendors who have a high volume of sales, it is your legal duty to get a sales tax permit so that all of your sales are well recorded and pass through the system. If your sales are below the sales tax threshold, though, you don’t need to get the tax permit.
Make sure to check with your relevant state tax laws to be sure that you are not obligated to get this permit.
Likewise, if you are just selling single knives from your collection, or you are not planning to make a business of it, there is no need for either a permit or a license to sell.
When you are selling knives that are not designed for domestic use, you should speak with the relevant regulatory bodies. They will usually require that you get a permit which comes with rules and regulations around how to conduct yourself in business lest you err on the side of the law.
In many cases, you won’t need a license for business-to-business transactions.
Where to Sell Knives Online
This is why you are here.
Let’s get into the places where you can sell your knives online.
PS I have included what each online platform is best for selling. That doesn’t mean you cannot sell other kinds of knives here, so don’t let that limit your choices.
#1 A personal website
Best For: any kinds of knives.
I have personally seen a lot of e-commerce websites, not the manufacturer websites, where knives are sold.
I think some of these guys don’t even have physical stock of the knife. They rather dropship the blades directly from the manufacturer to the customers who want them.
Your website could be:
- An e-commerce website dedicated to selling knives alone;
- A website that discusses knives in general with an e-commerce store attached; or
- An e-commerce store dedicated to gear related to knives (such as kitchen tools, hiking equipment, etc)
The thing with a personal website is that you can build a good reputation locally, promote your products better on social media and even become a thought leader in that space. You can also get insights from local hunters, butchers, and other knife users to curate collection pages for them and boost your online sales.
#2 Sell knives on Craigslist
Best For: handmade knives; collectors’ knives; special knives.
There are a lot of online classifieds out there, but I had to bring out Craigslist for the stellar reputation that it has among sellers and buyers alike.
You would find occasional scams and rip-offs on Craigslist but the platform has stood the test of time.
I like the fact that you can list your knives under the relevant category locally and globally. Thus, you get to target your area to rake in those local sales while expanding your reach to other parts of the country or even beyond the shores of your country.
The best part about listing on Craigslist is that you get to sell knives that would not be allowed on eBay, Amazon, Facebook Marketplace, or other places based on the legality or other legislation.
#3 Facebook Marketplace
Best For: kitchen knives; culinary knives.
There’s a lot of chatter about Facebook not allowing the sales of knives on its platforms anymore. This has gotten so serious that the platform won’t even allow you to run ads for any kinds of knives to funnel the sales back to your website.
I have written all about that – and created a detailed guide that allows you to sell knives on Facebook without problems.
With Facebook, you get the advantage of reaching even a lot more people.
While Craigslist is good, many more people trust Facebook naturally. Thus, you can get up to 10x the leads you have on classifieds from Facebook alone.
Leverage the power that the platform has to reach your potential customers today.
#4 Social Media
Best For: all kinds of knives.
I singled Facebook out because the social media giant has a defined marketplace service.
Besides Facebook, though, you can sell your knives on other social media platforms also.
From Twitter through WhatsApp to Instagram, there is no shortage of options there for you.
Make sure to read through the platform rules, if any, so that you don’t get on the wrong side of the terms and conditions that you agreed to.
Now, social media can either be your main sales platform or a supporting online presence for another one here. How you choose to use it to sell your knives online is up to you.
#5 Major eCommerce Brands
Best For: brand-name knives.
Consider selling via large e-commerce brands like eBay and Amazon if you are going into the game mid to big time.
These brands allow you to reach a lot more customers that are willing to spend and buy in little time than if you were doing it alone.
Another thing I love about going with these brands is how they will handle your payment collection, shipping, and distribution to the buyer. All you have to do is make the product ready and they take care of the rest of the purchase process for you.
For all that, though, you are limited in the kinds of knives that you can sell.
You will get much success with brand-name knives including Wusthof, Zwilling, Henckels, Chef’s Choice, and Shun. When you are going with handmade knives, homemade blades, and other custom designs, don’t expect too much luck on there.
#6 Etsy – Best place to sell custom knives
Best For: craft knives; cheap knives.
Etsy is also an e-commerce platform but with a twist.
If you make your knives by yourself or at home, this is the place to be.
The entire marketplace is focused on DIYers and the products that they craft. Thus, you are sure anyone going there knows what they are looking for.
Rather than having your product lost in the multititle of brand names out there on Amazon or eBay, make a difference for yourself with Etsy instead.
You can also achieve better personalization with Etsy. Since the customers are looking for crafts, you could sell an extra service where you engrave/customize the knife to fit the user.
On top of that, Etsy is also a fine place to sell cheap knives, collectibles that have lost some value, knives that need some restoration, and more.
#7 Knife and Blade Forums
Best For: handmade knives; collectible knives; specialty knives, kitchen knives.
A lot of knife and blade forums are teeming with experts who know their blades like the back of their hands.
Trust me when I say that they would snag up a true old-timer Ka-bar knife or an original kissing crane knife when they see it. Whether you have other types of collectible knives or a specially-made knife that you make yourself, forums are a great place to be.
When using forums, make sure you are not just there with a selling intent.
These people are interested in learning from one another also. Make your mark by contributing regularly, providing your expert opinion where relevant, and also learning from the rest of the members.
You could make some solid relationships from forums that will take your simple handmade knife business into something massive.
Go with the intent to share more value and you’ll surely attract a lot of sales.
#8 Sell knives on YouTube
Best For: a wide variety of knives.
YouTubers can get a lot of knife sales because they show what they are selling.
You can put a spin on things by using these knives, showing how they are superior to other knives. In your videos, you can also get creative with the knives that attract the right audience.
If you’re lacking inspiration on how to start, look at what other knife channels are doing. Do not copy them but use their content to inform your approach.
Overall, make sure your YouTube account is connected to your online store, contact details, or other media via which you want to be reached for purchases.
#9 Non-Knife Forums
Best For: handmade knives; collectible knives; specialty knives, kitchen knives.
Some non-knife forums have a massive knife thread following.
An example is this subreddit (r/knife_swap) where the private sales and transfer of knives are handled.
There are such dedicated Spaces on Quora also, even though it is not a knife forum in itself.
Look at the local forums in your area to see if they have such spaces for you to enter. Take your search to global forums that you can join for the same purpose.
Remember that the same advice I gave up there works here also. Make sure to provide value, else everyone just sees you as the guy/ gal that’s only interested in collecting their monies and nothing more.
Best Practices to Sell Knives Online
No matter which one of these platforms you choose, these best practices apply.
Take them to heart and you will have a seamless transaction more times than not:
- Know the laws – Don’t sell illegal knives. Getting caught in the possession of these knives or being charged to distribute them can be a serious felony. In some cases, such as collectibles, the laws can be relaxed.
- Price right – If possible, include the shipping fees and relevant taxes in the cost price. Most buyers don’t want to have to deal with all that extra payment. Find a way to tack it on and bear some by yourself to have competitive, desired prices.
- Determine age – When conducting private sales, this can be as easy as requiring a copy of the buyer’s driver’s license. You need to know their name, age, and address anyway, so there is not much sensitive information that they would not have given you by themselves.
- Choose the right mail service – Knives can be mailed both locally and internationally. I’ve developed a guide to mailing knives via the USPS, UPS, FedEx, and other services that you should check out.
- Get tracking – You don’t want customers hassling you when their package doesn’t get to them on time. Invest a little bit more in package tracking and they can follow up on the progress of their package by themselves.
- Measure knives right – there is usually a discrepancy in how most people measure knives. Check this knife length measurement guide for the standard approach. That way, you can avoid disputes with your buyer.
- Take good photos – I would prefer that you take photos of your knives near a ruler. Even though you disclose the length and dimensions, this puts more credibility and trust into your product. Take multiple images from multiple angles for the buyer also.
- Describe properly – Use the right language and terms to describe the knife. When you are not sure of something, it is better to leave it out than to make a wrong claim. From the knife bade to its handle, your description should be direct and complete.
- Pack it right –You don’t want the knife getting lost or damaged in transit. For your sake, customs handling and the buyer’s, pack the knives right.
- Communicate effectively – Never leave your buyer hanging at any point of the sale. Tell them all they need to know, confirm receipt of their payment, let them know when their knives have shipped… the whole nine yards.
- Request feedback – Once the buyer gets their knives, request feedback. It might be on something as simple as confirming that the description matches what they ordered to an all-out review of your communication and handling. Every feedback matter for social proof and credibility.
- Manage money better – Try not to spend the money paid till the buyer gets their knives. You know that you have done your part from the point where the knife shipped, but don’t spend the money till they get hold of their order.
Final Words: Make Money Selling Knives Online
Like I mentioned earlier, you don’t need to have a brick-and-mortar store to sell knives online in today’s age.
Look at the numerous options below and choose a couple that works best for you. Yes, you don’t have to stick to one if you can manage multiple knife-selling online ventures.
The more your options, the higher your chances of capturing unique sets of target audiences. If you don’t know where to start, use the ‘best for’ tags to determine which platform you should launch on.
With that, I wish you happy sales, the best buyers, and the best of luck with selling your fine knives online.