Diane Carver, Founder of Brighten Blades (and daughters) – The Knife Junkie Podcast (Episode 364)
Brighten Blades founder Diane Carver, along with two of her daughters (Kristy McClellan and Katie Mecham) joins Bob “The Knife Junkie” DeMarco on episode 364 of The Knife Junkie Podcast.
Brighten Blades offers high quality knives with a beautiful twist and a positive message. The best of human attributes that guide Brighten Blades are: Believe, Love, Brave, Resilient, Faith, Hope, Happy, Dream, Peace, Unite, Wish, and Happy.
Prior to founding Brighten, Diane spent 20 years traveling the globe and developing knives with some of the best manufacturers, like Fox, Klim, Traeger and Browning.
Eschewing cheap pink knives, Diane decided to make beautiful knives for a woman’s hand and inspire others in the process. Diane’s three daughters jumped at the chance to help their mother with her compelling vision, and took on the different responsibilities it would require to make Brighten Blades a real company.
If you’re interested in one (or several) Brighten Blades, save 15% on your purchase with the discount code “junkie15”.
Be sure to support The Knife Junkie and get in on the perks of being a Patron — including early access to the podcast and exclusive bonus content.Diane Carver, founder of Brighten Blades, along with two of her daughters -- Kristy and Katie -- join Bob for episode 364 of #theknifejunkie #podcast to talk about Brighten Blades and how the company came to be. Click To Tweet
Diane Carver, Brighten Blades
The Knife Junkie Podcast (Episode 364)
Welcome to the Knife Junkie podcast, your weekly dose of knife news and information about knives and knife collecting.
Here's your host, Bob the knife junkie DeMarco.
Welcome to the Knife Junkie podcast.
I'm your host, Bob DeMarco.
Coming up on this edition of the show, I'm speaking with Diane Carver, Christy McClellan and Katie Meechum of Brighton Blades.
After 20 years of traveling the globe developing knives for some of the top knife companies, Diane Carver started Brighton Blades bringing folding knives and accessories to the feminine side of the market.
Now, we're not talking cheap pink knives, we're talking folding blades designed from the ground up.
For women by women, I got my wife and two daughters their own keychain knives from Brighton at Blade show this year, each with its own separate theme, and I of course chose according to personality and these things are very, very stout little knives.
I'm actually surprised for the size of these little keychain knives.
My wife keeps hers on her desk to keep her centered whilst working and well, my daughters have them wherever they have them.
I don't know.
Go into their rooms.
I love a good family knife business story here on the show, but this will be the first mother daughters knife team we've featured on the show and we have 2/3 of the daughters with us tonight.
I look forward to finding out all about Brighton Blades and the team.
But first, be sure to like, comment, subscribe, hit the notification Bell and download the show to your favorite podcast app.
And as always, you can join us on Patreon if you like what we do here, a quick way to do that is the knife junkie.com slash.
Patreon again, that's the knife junkie.com/patreon.
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Diane Christie, Katie, welcome to the Knife Junkie podcast.
Thanks for having it.
It's really good to have you here, Katie.
I realized I didn't ask for the pronunciation of your name before I read my intro, so I hope I didn't butcher it.
Oh, I should have just kept my mouth shut as usual.
Anyway, it's, it's, it's real good to have you here and I want to congratulate you all on the launching of Brighton Blades.
It's a it's a very unique knife company and I've been excited to have you here to talk about it.
Christine Hartman of women carry knives.
I know she introduced me to one of you.
I just don't remember who it was, and I'm really, really glad she did.
We are too.
We love Christine and we're really excited to be here.
So I got to know how did you get the idea, Diane, to start a knife company like Brighton Blades?
Well, I've been in the industry for a lot of years and so.
One thing that I recognize that there's not a lot of is nice, but are are designed for women.
But we wanted something that was going to be unique.
And so it was kind of hard to come up with an idea that was different than just making it pink because there are pink lines out there, but not anything that's specifically designed for women.
And so we came up with the idea.
This kind of happened, a lot of it, in 2020. And we came up with the idea and we wanted something that was more than just a tool, but also would put a smile on the user's face.
And so we started putting a list of positive words together and we each, we each add to it, you know, peace and hope and love and dream and faith and all of the things that are important to us.
And we decided that we would combine that.
You got to forgive me, Bob, I got to get of laryngitis going on.
So I might have them talk a little bit more than they usually do, but we really wanted to put that into the.
And so the knife and we have positive quotes that go along with it, let you talk a little bit about it.
So my mom had wanted to do this for quite a while and she'd come to us with this idea of making knives for women.
But it wasn't until a little bit later that she got the idea to make the inspirational line.
And kind of when 2020 hit, things were rough for everyone.
I mean, everybody kind of had a little bit different situations, but it wasn't an easy time as you know and so when she had this idea to make them inspirational life line, we we love this.
You know, like she said there's.
And not only did we put the name on the cases, but we actually engraved the words on the blaze.
Showing us anyway.
But yeah, they each have cute, inspirational sayings.
Bravery is not the absence of fear.
Bravery is feeling the fear, the doubt, the insecurity, and deciding that something else is more important.
They each come with a different word engraved on the case and a different quote that goes with them.
You know, just reminding you that, you know, when times are hard, one of ours is resilient and that's one of our favorites.
Actually, the the quote on that one is note to self.
Every time you were convinced you that you couldn't go on, you did.
And so we just want people to not only have a functional tool that you know helps them throughout their day, but also spread a bit of positivity.
When times are rough, just remember, be brave, be resilient.
Have hope, have faith, believe in yourself, you know, be happy.
And and so we just want to share that positivity with everyone.
We we felt that if it's if it's pretty, then you're going to keep it with you.
Like women will like to keep it.
It makes you happy.
You're going to have it, and if you have it with you, you have it when you need it.
But if you get a knife as a gift and it it's not something that women want to carry, they throw it in the drawer.
They don't have it when they need it.
But if it's something that it's that it's pretty that we enjoy to reach for, have it, it'll be more useful.
Well, OK so I got a couple of questions here but but first I I really like the idea of the different words defining well defining your brand as as you were building it especially considering with knives.
You know we think of self-reliance we think of a lot of we we think of a lot of words but you mentioned some words that we might not think of peace a lot of times you have a lot of weapons on the wall behind me.
I love them for their historical you know value and such.
And I wouldn't put peace with any of those, but.
But uh, knives to knife collectors are things that do bring peace.
Because we sit there.
We fidget with them, we calm down.
We we think about things while we're playing with our knives.
We also love the feeling of using the knives and knowing that we can count on ourselves to open that box.
You know what I'm saying?
Whatever it is, knife equals self-reliance and and and and women need knives just as much as men.
There's no I I read on your about us page that you were saying you were you retired of always asking your husbands for their pocket knives and.
What are we doing?
We we already have the knife, gene, you know.
Well, I'm not going to lie, least in my situation, the one that's ordering the most like boxes being shipped to my house from Amazon or whatever, it's me.
So I'm the one opening them all.
So they're just great to have on hand everyday use.
And the nice thing about these is they each come with a carrying case, the full size ones that you can throw in your backpack or your purse and the key chain once you always have your keys on you so they're there whenever you're you know, wherever you are so.
So the the obvious question is, what is a woman's knife?
How do you design A knife for a woman?
Something is size.
I am so sorry that I'm so coarse that size.
They certainly fit our hands well.
But we wanted to make sure that they were really a good quality knife.
Also not something cute that just was going to fail when you needed it.
But we also wanted them to be really pretty.
When we first made these, they had a satin finish on the blade.
And it just didn't seem as dressy as I wanted it to.
So we went back, we did a mirror polished blade, we did a mirror Polish bolster, we did jewels on the thumb studs, and then Christy did all the graphics on the handles.
Having the pouch, a lot of women won't be able to put pocket knives in their pockets because either they don't have pockets or they don't have enough room in them.
So that's why we created the pouches, so they could throw be thrown in some place and keep it protected and nice.
Once again, thinking of women and our key chains like you have that has the carabiner clip on it so it's easy on easy off if you're going to a concert that you can take it off but you can always keep it on handy.
Some of those things that we think of every day that that would make it easier for us to.
Well part of the reason that carabiner clip.
I don't see how one out right now is where she said the easy on and off.
But for me I I've always had long fingernails and so a regular you know keychain you're twisting it and I can't tell you how many fingernails I've broken.
So we actually made sure we we played around with different ways to get the knife onto the key chain and the carabiner clip is the one that we came up with that.
Works for the the split ring with with nice nails.
That's murder, right?
I would imagine.
But not something.
Not something I would have thought of off the bat, you know?
So you do all of the Christie, you do all of the graphics on these blades.
Let's tell me about how you come up with the ideas for them and and how they up.
For instance, I have the when you look at a field of dandelions, you can either see hundreds of weeds or thousands of wishes.
Now I got this one specifically for my wife, because she is always, even when it's not in her heart at the moment, she is always there for my.
Girls in terms of teaching them to be positive and to look at the positive and things.
And so I got this for her because that's something she would say.
Yeah, you could look at dandelions as weeds or you could look at his wishes, you know.
So obviously you did dandelions on here, but tell me about the other sayings and the artwork and and how you started interpreting these concepts in art.
I'm honestly, so we can't like, she said.
We sat down and we came up with, you know, the words that were important to us.
We just came up with a different list and we kind of.
Did all the ones that we wanted to do.
I just kind of came up with ideas, honestly.
A lot of them are meaningful to us.
So this one is my mom's favorite one.
This is the hope one, and this one is our breast cancer.
It's got the breast cancer.
Logo on there.
But that is special to us because my mom's mom and her sister passed away from breast cancer at early ages, and with this one we give back.
Every October for the 9th, the Hope Nights that are sold, we go to the happy one.
My husband loves Paisley like it makes him happy.
Like he is always wearing Paisley.
Like always he's down for it.
So we did that one.
I've got bit or dream is.
This other one dream stars were really special to us actually.
When we were dating we would sit out and look at the stars and one of our favorite constellations, Cassiopeia.
So I made sure to put that on there.
But honestly they were just things that were important to us.
Some of them are just cute, kind of went with with the theme, but each of them, they were all funded.
It actually worked out really well when my mom wanted to start this company.
Katie and I don't really.
We we haven't been in the knife world.
My mom's been in it forever, and my sister Kimmy works with my mom with Fox Knives.
But Katie and I really don't have a lots, didn't have a lot to do with knives until then.
But I had gone back to school to get my degree and I had actually gone into kind of a graphic design degree.
So that worked out really well.
So that's why I do the graphics.
I do all the packaging.
For our cases and stuff.
And then Katie, she's our writer, so she used to work for the newspaper.
She's really good at writing, so that's her kind of thing.
Kimmy does sells her, her degree was in sales and my mom clearly takes her knife knowledge, so we each have our own little expertise, so.
Great, because you're not stepping on each other's toes.
I would imagine there's probably some of that, but.
But Katie, do you write the verses that that we see on here?
Is this, is this part of what you do?
We got that inspirational.
I we've taken a stab at it, but we looked around to find things that would be really inspirational and things that would really uplift us.
I do more like on our website or when things are going out to media and stuff like that what I do, but we we love the the quotes that that we found for these.
Yeah, but it's that it's that technical writing and that business writing that it.
That does make a huge difference.
I know because I've had to, I've had to outsource that myself in the past.
And you know, whether that's to someone else just to just to see if I'm being clear or hiring someone to that, that is not easy kind of stuff to write.
No marketing, marketing stuff and that kind of stuff.
So I'm looking here at Jim has the the website up and so you've been holding up the cases, but this is what, this is what we get in a case, we get the knife themed with the case.
It goes inside.
Now what's inside the case?
Can you open one of these up?
I'd love to.
I'd love to take a look.
Is this something that EDC nuts can fill with all sorts of?
So these ones, um on our inspirational line, they just have a little loop here that the knife can go in.
We do have, we can talk more about that in a minute but.
Gel packets in here we have another line and the other line has a little pocket that you can put different.
Seems seems things are freezing up.
Well, I'm looking at this, this one case that they have here, that when you unzip it, it does have a loop to keep your knife in, which is cool, and then it also has the the credit card slip in there.
You could also fold up cash and jam it in there.
Now, I lived for quite a period of time with my wife before we had kids in New York City, and this seems like the perfect little kind of clutch thing my wife would take because she always has a knife in her purse and.
And she's always got some little kind of clutch thing, you know, when we're out and about and on the town.
So this looks right up her alley.
Alright, so you um.
Christie, you were holding up what?
We're just we're rolling.
So we're gonna get get back into it.
But you were holding up one of the pouches.
This is the this is the one here.
So now as you were cutting out, I was saying that this one looks like something my wife would have carried.
When we lived in New York, we used to live in New York City for a number of years, and we'd go out and, you know, this is before we had children.
And we'd go out and yeah, she grabbed like take a clutch or something that would.
Holding her hand, but she always has a knife on her, usually tucked in her waistband but also in her bag.
And that looks like something that you know she would have rolled with proudly.
Yeah, now these ones were, we're really excited about this.
These ones come with or not so heavy metal line.
We've got the tan and then there's like a Gray case as well and they're like a nice suede.
So they're really fun where you can put the card in.
You could carry your knife, you could probably throw a chapstick or whatnot in there and and just have it have it with you.
So so I noticed that all of the all of the knife colors in, is it in this line or in all of them, they all refer to like black isn't just black, it's Black Sabbath right on.
And purple isn't purple, it's purple rain and all the way through cultural references.
How did that come up?
Well, we had some fun with the inspirational like, you know, coming up with all of the names.
And then we started with we knew we wanted to do some that were just solid colors and we come up with, well now this is boring, black, purple and we're like what can we do to make this more fun?
And it was actually Katie, our writer, you know, she's the one that came up with, she started with White album and Green Day or some, a couple of them and we're like we like that and so.
We sat around and it was super fun coming up with the names.
Kind of very generational, you know, I'm coming up with the Blue Öyster Cult and some older and they're doing Green Day.
So it was really fun.
And it just made them, you know, something unique.
Set them apart just a bit.
Just with the color name.
I got to say, like I, I with the Blue Öyster Cult, I think I'm somewhere between the ages of of all of you.
So I was like Blue Öyster Cult.
Yeah, I'm burning for you.
And then some of the newer ones, you know, the like Green Day that the youngsters listen to these days.
I yeah, it resonates.
You know, what makes you feel like you've already got something, you know, invested?
So, uh, Diane, I want to ask you, I wanna go back a little bit and find out about your past in knives.
You know, 20 years traveling the globe working on different knife projects with different manufacturers.
I know Fox was kind of chief among them.
Tell me a little bit about how you got into knives and what what it was that kept you there.
Well, I think one of the things that's my father.
It's OK. It's OK. Yeah, laryngitis is is nasty when you're trying to do a podcast.
One of the things when I was growing up, my dad told me that a knife was the best gift anybody could ever get.
And so I grew up with that mentality.
And I just, I started working for Browning Browning's in Morgan, UT, where I happen to live.
And so I started working there and I that's where I got involved with knives and then Fox Knives, which.
If you're familiar with Fox, out of Italy was my manufacturer that made the high-end Browning Knights and so they wanted to have a more of a presence in the US somewhere that people could order in the US, pay in the US, U.S. dollars, not euro and everything.
And so started working with them.
And that gave me a lot more free time to be able to start writing blades if I was working full time for another company.
As a nine to five job I wouldn't have been able to start brightening and Gabriella Fratti who owns spots, he's been super supportive of this.
He has three daughters himself and it's been really supportive that we started a women's night sight.
Did were you doing for Browning for instance?
Were you doing product development like kind of what?
Knife product manager.
OK, so that means you're kind of figuring out this year people want this from Browning and let's figure out how to give it to them.
Yes, yes, I would work with knife designers, manufacturers all over, you know, Japan, Spain, China, Italy.
You name it Argentina and.
Work with the different manufacturers, with different knife designers and put together the product line.
Do all of the pricing, you know.
Choose the materials.
I'm not the designer, I don't start as the basic design, but I decide what still we want, what country of origin, what hand the material.
Because generally when you get a knife design from a designer, it's a it's either a CAD or a line drawing.
And from there you've got to go on and and give the knife the personality and the function that you want that particular knife to have.
How in in a project, uh, how would you decide what origin, what country of origin?
Because I'm I I want to ask you, besides the United States, who did it best like or did you go to different countries for different things?
We need a crown spine.
Let's take this to Italy.
You got a different countries for different things.
Um, I'm very partial to Italy.
I mean, I do work for Fox Knives also, but Italy does fantastic product quality.
A little plug we've won Fox nicest one overall knife of the year.
Three of the last four blade shows.
So it they do outstanding quality, but you definitely go for different reasons.
Umm one thing.
Nice out of Italy are not affordable to everyone.
I mean, they really aren't.
One thing that was really important, that's when we started brightening, was besides being a really good quality knife, we wanted it something that everyone could afford and we felt really strongly about that, especially women who never carried a knife before so that they didn't, you know, hesitate
to invest $30.00 in a product and so.
That price quality that being able to create the specific types.
Can I show off this one now?
Oh, that's promising.
I like that.
This is something that we're really excited about that that we created a knife with Fox Knives that that it that it's Co branded with them that this one is a high end knife.
This one is out of Italy and is is 375 dollars $375.00.
So it's it's not going to be something that that everybody everybody has but the people that that want are really amazing karambit that we we're offering this that we want to have something.
Options for everyone that we've created so many different things that you know going back a little bit to the not so heavy metal line that there were so many women that would not want want the all of the designs.
There's plenty of people that do want this and then there were people that wanted this that I'm just something that was really really beautiful that that they would love.
But we have options that are in this price range.
We have options that are in in this price range that with the the amazing High Italian still.
Lol Max nice yeah that that Karambit is a really nice dressing up of that design that is a beautiful and and you know what there are plenty of I did done plenty of martial arts and have seen a lot of women use karambits and that's a that is a with training can be a great but actually even without
training in standard grip it can be a very good self-defense knife for.
Just using gross motor motion and clawing at someone.
I I hate to put it that way, but that's what it's for, right?
And you know, we had a lot of women e-mail us and ask us when we came out with our nights if they were for self-defense.
And we said, you know, certainly any knife can be used for self-defense.
But that wasn't really the intention with our inspirational line.
It was more packages and cookies and tags and everything.
And we realized that women wanted something that they could carry for.
And so we we we thought about it and we were like, does this make sense with Brighton?
And we thought absolutely.
We're all about women empowerment and women, you know, just bringing positivity to their world and if carrying something that's going to make them feel safe when they're out and about helps them.
And we're all about that.
My wife has been training for the Marine Corps Marathon which as soon as she runs next week she is she's uh she's disavowing marathons forever but not running forever.
But anyway she goes running with a little two finger karambit made by Bastinelli.
I think it's made by Fox, the diagnostic.
And it's a you know it's a it's a small little and she's she's very well trained but still, you know when your adrenaline is pumping and and you need to defend yourself oftentimes we revert to our caveman or cave.
Human instincts and just kind of flip, not flail, but you know.
You know what I'm saying?
Use our gross motor motions and and and that kind of knife is is good for that.
And I also like the fact that you cannot make a well you can.
But I'm glad that you are not making a knife company for women that doesn't acknowledge that possibility or acknowledge that a sector of the knife market and how valuable it could be for a woman.
I appreciate that comment because that's how we felt and.
And wanted to offer what we considered the ultimate, you know, self-defense, sniper or women.
That a lot of women wouldn't know how to use a karambit.
Christy and I don't.
He was here are are younger sister Kim is amazing, but what we did is we went ahead and we had one of the best knife fighters in the world.
He flies all over the world and does training.
His name Jared Bongi.
Hits the back.
I love Jared.
I don't know him personally, but I watch his videos constantly.
So we actually just did a series of training videos with the Koran.
But actually they're broken down into small segments, teaching different styles how you can protect yourself with them.
And we'll be having some of those on our website as well, so that people you know that want something but they're like intimidated by it.
You know, they don't know how to use it or or maybe they do, but they just want to learn a few more steps, get a little bit better at it.
They can go on our website and.
And kind of get some ideas there of how how they can protect themselves.
He really liked this one too.
One thing I don't know if she noticed or mentioned, but it's made out of carbon fiber, so it's a lot lighter than a lot of other karambits and that's what especially the blade show.
Anybody that would pick this up was actually really impressed with how light these are with that carbon fiber, carbon fiber and titanium SO2.
Lightweight, extremely durable materials, Christy.
When you flip that over so we can see the show side real, OK, so it's all carbon fiber on the show side and the clip is on the proper side for proper deployment, especially with the wave you got on there.
And then when you flip it over the ring, which is titanium, right, continues around to the back part of that of the lockside scale.
That is a very cool design.
I mean I like, I like the way you did that in the way the use of the titanium is minimized, you know and like you said titanium is light, but it's still a metal and.
Dollars, but they're subtle.
You know, we did do these for women, self-defense, but we sell as many to guys as we do women of these, they're like we're tired of everything being black.
I love that purple color, you know, and we get a kick out of that.
We like that.
They they like it too.
So I'm looking at purple on the left, anodized and in the center.
It's kind of a gold.
Is that right?
It's really interesting because these they're they're interesting because like when you turn them one way it looks a little bit more green.
Another one we have this.
This thing that we ask everyone, some people think it's green, some people think it's gold.
So Katie calls it gold and we're not really that.
I like it.
I mean, because you don't have to guess with gold, you know exactly.
You know exactly what that's all about.
What is so?
Ohh, OK. So I was thinking about the, Umm, the color of them and the fact that yeah, people are tired of seeing the same old black and silver.
And I I noticed that a couple of years back blue started coming into things.
Oh look, a blue knife.
What was that for cops like what's this all about?
And then it, you know, I I feel like Spyderco did a lot of that early on and introduce color, introduced a wide wider variety of colors.
You're incorporating prints uh, which I think is really interesting.
Some people, most people probably don't know this, but I used to work in the fashion industry when I lived in New York and I was a video editor for a company that covered the industry.
I wasn't designing, wasn't like making clothes or anything like that.
But I worked for a video production outfit and and and and I started to really look at fashion.
It's it's interesting to see how these crazy designs that come out at the beginning of the year or whatever eventually make their way into general population with oh, I saw that blue color and that one kind of print.
That I'm now seeing at the gap but I saw that you know on that Paris runway show I edited.
So it's it's interesting just to see how things can filter into the into the culture and prints here.
I think I think that's the next, that's got to be a next idea because you know we got color now.
Yeah, our knives definitely stand out and that's that's what makes us happy.
We try to, you know, share what we like and we hope that other people like and they've been really well received.
We're really excited with all of it, so.
The where are these made?
The little key chain knives are are all your knives made in the same?
Well, obviously not.
The karambit is a is a higher higher tier of product and production so that we know that that's made in Italy.
That's a fox knife, I think.
What about these?
They are made in China.
One thing, my experience working in the industry 20 years, I know exactly what each factories capabilities are and who would be the best to take certain projects to.
And the owner of this company that's making these in China, his wife owns a design company she's very, very into to design work and everything and so I knew she'd get what we were trying to do.
So I chose them specifically because of his wife design work that I know she did so that her and Christy could work back and forth and come up with, you know, the colors that we thought would look cool and we we tweak these a lot.
We did brave in.
Gray and we we did lots of different color variations to end up choosing which ones we really like the best at the end of the day and so are not.
So heavy metal line is made by a manufacturer in China a different one than makes our inspirational and then fox these are Co branded.
I don't know if you saw that but it has the Brighton on one side and the fox on the other.
Both logos and then Oh yeah.
Always have a little.
Well, that's a nice problem to have.
In fact, we'll show you this.
This has the old logo.
Our new one actually has both Fox 10 Bright and it's really cute.
I changed that.
But our crambus actually do come with carrying cases.
You don't have to buy those separately, but they come with those and then yeah.
In case you oh, I think putting the tool in there is so polite.
I love that.
Hey with these though, I want to talk about these for a quick second because they're surprisingly smooth and smooth for the size.
Like they operate like a very nice frame lock folder of a much larger size.
So I'm I'm interested that they miniaturize these so well and and they're so stout and sturdy.
Is this a steel frame lock?
This got to be steel, right?
So that's the thing.
I was like, I didn't know you could make an aluminum frame lock.
And it feels so light.
I assumed it was steel, but I was gonna ask you how you got it so light but OK you got it late by picking aluminum.
It's got the jewels on the on the posts here.
And yeah very this is a this is a really cool knife.
But I think for me I I'm looking more towards the larger bolstered knives with a long spear .0 thank you Jim.
If you want to save 15% on any of these brighten blades for yourself or for gifts.
Um, Diane was kind enough to give me this junkie 15 discount code on their website.
So definitely check that out.
Thank you very much.
That's that's really generous.
So this was it.
This past year, 2021, you, Diane, accepted the most innovative Knife award design for the Fox.
What was it called?
I I played with it as much as I could before the next guy took it from me.
Yeah, yeah, that's really fun for us because, you know, usually we're there at the award ceremonies.
But Gabriella, who owns Fox Knives in Italy, he's there and goes up and gets the award.
Well, due to COVID, they couldn't come.
And so my daughter gave me and I got to go except the awards.
And it won the, the best imported design and then it won overall knife of the year.
And we carried those trophies around with us all night long.
They didn't even give us to set.
Down, you know, so it was it was fun.
Were you a part of the team that brought that to market?
I would love to say yes.
As far as bringing the idea to market, no.
As far as helping to bring it to the US to make it available for sales, yes.
Well, yeah, that's exactly what I'm asking.
You brought the knife to us.
I actually don't have one, but I played with it quite a while.
I'm a sucker for a dagger, and I love the idea of a folding dagger.
And I there are only a couple of true folding daggers out there with the double edge and the whole 9 yards and.
It would be like a a fidget spinner for adults because once you start playing with that mechanism.
You can't stop, you know, you could just simply with it all day.
It's really for the people that haven't tried it.
Both radius and Saturn have that patented mechanism where you push it in and rotate it with your thumb and it's a lot of fun.
Like a semi circular track and I I I'm I'm being totally honest.
When I saw it I was like yeah what you know like OK let me check this out and and that that is one of those things where feeling is believing.
I picked it up and oh I get it immediately.
You know it would be it would definitely be something that would be one of the cool things about Saturn is it's ambidextrous.
You can get left-handed ones also and that's a big deal.
I didn't realize.
I never even thought how hard it is for left-handed people to even just shut a liner lock.
Yeah, yeah, there are.
There are a lot of people out there who who bemoan the fact that a lot of manufacturers drill the holes on the on the lefty side for for lefties to use.
But you know, if you're not going to you, if you're not going to make a left-handed version, the least you could do is give them the holes.
Now I must admit I'm one of those guys who's been like these unsightly holes but but still, you got to, you got to give, you know, people an option.
So what what do you in your day-to-day operations working in a knife company?
Is this something?
Are you doing things that could be that are scalable to other other jobs?
Or do you both have like not knife DNA?
Is knife in your blood?
Well, so our maiden name, my mom's last name is Carver.
So I think, you know, we grew up with knives in our blood.
Kind of like we said before like the we are new.
Like we've had knives in our lives for all growing up that my mom would give us knives for every occasion and everything.
But as far as what our background has been not so much.
But I don't know.
It's been so fun to work together that we we all live really close to each other.
That we've stayed really close that we that we want to be together.
And so it's been really fun to work on this to together and you know bring your kids closer together through it and.
They're all friends and stuff that, I don't know, one thing that's kind of fun with our kids.
Christy has four boys.
My little sister Kimmy has four girls and they have two in each.
With our families that and they get to help out a lot.
You know when we get big shipments in what we need things done.
Umm you know I have a a subject that needs that sometimes he loves to help go help package up orders and stuff and so it's just been fun to all work together and have it a family business.
So yeah, that's that's one of the things like I've said I love to hear family businesses.
But something you just said Katie about keeping people close and keeping people together.
It's like when you have.
A mission as a family, that's beyond just staying together and being a family and making it work.
I don't know it it seems and and I don't have the experience of running a business with my family, but just kind of talking over and over to people.
It is something that brings them closer together because there's a lot of.
Well, it's perilous.
It's not easy to start a company, especially a knife company, and to make it work.
And so you got your highs and your lows and together you can make that work.
I have two daughters that I'm that you know, I I never knew what the term worry meant until I had them.
And and one of the things I worry about among trillion others is like, are they going to always be this close?
Will they be close when they're older?
And I'm not saying I'm going to start a knife company to keep them close, but something like.
This sort of coordinated effort, I don't know it it's helpful.
It seems like it's helpful to the family and also to the company.
How do you think the family dynamic helps the company grow?
Well, when we know how to get along and we also know how to fight and get over it, just kind of know.
But I think that we've, we've worked together on things throughout our whole lives so that we know like, oh, Kimmy, you would be really good at this.
Remember that time that you did this one thing or you know, Christy, you know, can you do that again?
Or you know that we already know each other strengths, we already know each other's weaknesses so that we can be there to back each other up and everything.
But well, and like we we talked about earlier is.
We do have such varied talents.
You know, I mean, I could no more do the graphics that Christie does or write what Katie does, but I know still types and I know locking mechanisms and all of that kind of stuff.
And so we each bring something different to the table.
And we were just so lucky the way that that worked out.
I mean, even to our packaging.
Christy designed all of our packaging.
One thing that was so fun was when we did the blade show in Atlanta.
People were coming up other night companies and asking us who did your packaging because they really liked it, wanted to use them.
And we're like we did, you know, we've done everything from from the ground up even all of our packaging.
So we just were really lucky with the how varied our talents are.
None of us had we, you know, 20 years ago when we all sit into our to motion of what we wanted to do in life.
We didn't have this, this dream.
We didn't have this goal.
I started writing for the newspaper when I was 17 in high school and I graduated in cells.
And you know, if years back Christy went back and got her her graphic design that we didn't have any idea this is going to happen.
And then as we started getting into it, it was just like I don't know, but it was just meant that it was just meant to be that the our lives came together to be able to create this and work together.
We we need to have a fourth sister that's in the county.
Hey, you can't have it all, my God.
Yeah, you might get.
You might have to to hire that system.
That's our goal.
It's it's like you have built-in institutional knowledge that's that's like one of those catch words that I hear but but it's like you you already know each other so well that there's there you can skip a whole number of layers probably in dealing in dealing with certain situations that come through
as a business as a business how do you how do you consider I know that you're new you know you have not been around for too long but.
How do you plan on?
Figuring out what is next in terms of knife designs in particular, like you know at some point you'll have you'll go back to the drawing board for that next model year or however that works.
What do you what do you?
What is the thing that inspires you for the new designs and and for what keeps the designs rolling?
One thing I think we really do is we really, really listen to our, to our customers.
We want to hear what they like.
You know these did you show these things yet you haven't, didn't know if during a water break they showed these but this is another collaboration we did with Fox.
This is Fox's baby core.
But we did it in different colors and this was actually an influencer named Miss Panda.
Just photoshopped the baby core and said I wish you'd do it in this pinkish purple color.
And we happened to see it posted.
And I told Gabriela because he has it in the Browns and the blacks and everything.
I'm like, we want to do that for Brighton.
I'll give you some colors I want you to do, and we'll do it for Brighton.
And so that's how these came about.
And like I said with the karambits, that was that wasn't ever our idea.
That was people reaching out to.
Us and telling us we want we want something for self-defense.
And so well and even the the not so heavy metal.
We actually we went to our local mall down in Salt Lake City when we were starting and we did a lot of validation.
We walked around.
We're lucky we didn't get kicked out.
We didn't have actual knives of this.
We had pictures of knives and and we we showed on different designs.
We asked people what what what what it was they were looking for, what they wanted how you know what they would use.
Would you like this?
And so a lot of them.
Of the designs.
But then there were some that they wanted something a little bit more simple you know yet still classy.
So we that's why we came up with the not so heavy metal knives and they've got like the fun different coordinating hardware with each of them.
And you know we really want to listen to people out there that are that are using knives and and kind of see what it is that they're looking for what what they feel like is missing.
And so you know we have our ideas as well and.
Will continue to develop those but if other people have ideas of things that that they're thinking of we get people emailing to us and and some will probably take to you know and and and make it happen and some are just good ideas that you know hopefully someday somebody else will make happen.
But we love listening to the customers.
And so I think that's also probably one of our our strengths I would say is, is that's big for us because we know as consumers we like to be listened to and we you know have things that we like and so.
Um, we're trying to do that for for our customers.
Uh, I I think that that sound well speaking as a collector that sounds that's music to my ears and I know that that's music to the the knife communities ears if I can say that because that's what people value most are if if you know if you're buying a custom knife you you value that relationship
that you develop with the custom knife maker.
If you are a I don't want to put it this way.
Super fan of a company.
You want to know that the company is listening to what you want, and that's a relationship that you build with that company.
You can't have that personal thing that you might have with the with the custom maker.
But you do have, you know, companies that have ears and want to sell knives and when they listen and they're nimble enough to make changes and it's not like wait for 10 years for us to get rid of all of this 8 CR, 13 MOV and then we'll get to your thoughts.
But I I think that people really, you know, like and respect that because then you're giving them what they want and you're also showing them what you can do when you're putting stuff out that's 100% of your own inspiration.
We really do try.
We try really hard to make all of our.
People that support us, happy even to the point somebody emailed.
We went with no pocket clip on the inspirational line and pocket clips on the not so heavy metal give a variety for what women would like.
But I we had someone e-mail us and they left our inspirational line so much but they wanted a pocket clip and I had a sample in my office when we were deciding which way to go and I said OK. Just between you and I. Send me your address.
I'll get you one, you know.
Now on everything here is we might not have anymore.
Man, we really, really want people to love our company, think that we care about them and the you know it this.
I've done a lot of nights for a lot of companies, but there is nothing that I put my heart into the way brightness.
It's very personal and means a lot to me and we want everybody that buys anything from us to love it.
You you're out in Utah.
And to me I have a it's probably a fantasy version of what Utah is.
I know I've been out there, but it's been 40 years since I've been to Utah and I just remember it being beautiful.
And I follow a couple of people on on YouTube who have hunting channels and I don't hunt, but I just like to walk out there virtually, you know, and it seems like a different environment.
I I live outside of Washington, DC and before this I lived in New York City very.
Unpermitted able kind of environments for this kind of thing, less, less so.
You know DC is a little more relaxed or at least Virginia where I am, it's a little more relaxed.
But is it, is there more of a knife culture in Utah would you say is it more common for?
I mean, you know, outdoor retailers been in Salt Lake for years and then it moved for a short time, but it's coming back.
Blade show West was in Salt Lake this year.
Well, there's we have a very upscale mile mall right across the street from the Salt Palace, which has a Marriott hooked to it.
And we go in there during the shows and have knives all over the table showing them to people and talking about them and the waiters and stuff will walk like, oh, that is so cool.
It's just a very.
It's it's a really nice, friendly atmosphere in Utah.
It's a very utahs, very, very outdoorsy.
I knew we have so many national parks, we have so many ski resorts, we have so many biking trails and everything.
It's just a very, very outdoorsy state and nice go along with that.
I'm sure most kids won't be able to do this, but my kids have the key chains hooked to their backpacks.
I wouldn't suggest that for a lot of schools that are able to do that because this is the backpack that they take to school with them.
Teachers that all know.
Yeah, takes a new one all the time to show off your 6 year old you say?
You know, OK, I was gonna say, I was gonna say, I like the cut of your jib, you know?
I do remember someone recently, no.
It was probably about three years ago in in our area.
There was a there was a hubbub about in like too sharp of a plastic knife at school, something like that.
And I was just like, all right, things have gotten a little ridiculous here, but.
Yeah, yeah, that, that.
It's also a good knife state, Utah.
And now I'm.
But I know that I've spoken with a number of knife makers out in Utah.
So we think of, alright, how, how do I put this?
Well, first of all, how, what is it like Diane for a woman working in the knife industry, which at at least as far as I can tell has probably been male dominated for a long time?
It definitely was.
You know, there there are a few women.
Goldie Russell, I don't know if you're familiar with AG Russell.
She's kind of a. Icon in the knife industry, but there wasn't really a lot.
But I have to tell you, everybody was so.
Kind and so good.
When I started in this industry, I think there was for one thing, I had no ego.
I was willing to admit everything.
I didn't know when I first started in this.
And so everybody, you know, there are a lot of, I had a lot of really good mentors, let's just say that both in manufacturers and just other important people in the industry from distributors and dealers and everything.
So I found the knife industries super.
Super welcoming and and just a fun industry.
They've never really been to the blade shows much before and everybody's just like it is such a fun crowd of people.
It just really is.
It's just so relaxed and fun and they're giving awards and everybody's cheering for each other and teasing each other and it's just it's a fun, fun industry.
Yeah, I mean uh, I I I'm actually not surprised that you say that and I and I have to be honest, you know there I'm sure there aren't too many industries where where that would be the answer and and I'm not saying that in any sort of you know shaming way at all.
My wife is quite the hotshot in her industry and it's it and it is and and she's had a bit of a struggle getting there because there's a lot of male ego in the way because of it's a very.
Kind of you know security type thing.
Umm so it's it's great to hear and I am not surprised because everyone I've talking to to a person says that the the knife community we call it a knife community.
And I'm very hesitant to like I I was very hesitant to ever use the term online friend because I'm like I've never shaken his hand but that has changed over time you know and.
You know, so, uh, where am I going with this?
I'm sorry, I just got.
A little excited there, but no, we have a lot of friends that we've never met, you know whether they're customers that we kind of get in an e-mail chain with or or people like you and just people that have been so supportive of us that it just makes us so happy and.
It it feels like a big Community family.
So our first Blade show being part of the company, I went with my mom years ago that we went to Texas and my mom and Kimmy are, you know, Oh yeah, giving hugs to people and oh, what?
How is your family?
How is this?
And I thought, oh man, it's going to take us years to feel that way.
And then in Atlanta we go and I I see my friends and I'm happy to see him.
And then Salt Lake, I have this bigger group of friends.
And I'm like, I didn't realize how fast I would feel like I was a part of this.
Knife community that that, that, that you have such a good and less than a year's time that people are so helpful, so kind, so, so wonderful.
Just fun, the fun to be part of.
I've I've sort of noticed from a group of and I don't even know it's it's not a group, it's just a loose collection of people that I've met who are, who are just passionate reviewers and collectors at Youtubers.
There's they take all comers it's like the knife community takes all comers and and it's a place it seems to be a hobby that collects people who are who have an overabundance of passion and and they have to you know kind of change their ways maybe and start collecting knives or or just add you know
to the energy that have and and draw that in and.
And what I think people get the most out of it.
Yeah, that we love the knives.
Definitely love the knives.
But it's been this people thing that's that's been bubbling up, which is a big surprise to me.
Well, you know, we, we used to talk about it a lot because people are passionate about country of origin or so many aspects of a knife and yet other products, they never even think about it.
Like their iPhone.
Manager, but I was the flashlight product manager.
Also I did like.
I never had anybody ask me where a flashlight was made, you know, how many lumens does it have?
Yes, where it was made.
And so we discussed what is this thing about Nice that people are so passionate and we kind of thought that knives are kind of heirlooms.
You know, I have knives that were my dad's who have knives that were his grandpas.
You know, there's you don't pass down shirts, you don't pass down, you know, so many items.
And you're that you use every day.
Once that person's gone they're going to goodwill or you know but nice people keep them and they pass them down.
And I think that's got to be part of it.
But I still don't completely understand why people are so passionate about this particular tool.
Knives, pens, watches, things that things that are.
It's it seems like pen guys watch guys, knife gals, we're all adjacent.
They go together.
Yeah, they do.
And I like watches too.
I just can't, can't let that get away with me.
But but they're they're they're used.
If if you buy them, you know.
And there's that.
There's that grim realization.
Ohh, this will outlast me, without a doubt, unless I drop it in a smelter.
You know, this will outlast me without a doubt.
And and there's something reassuring about that and there's something, you know, life affirming about that.
I know I'm getting deep, but I I mean that.
You have it in your hand and you know that this is gonna hopefully my daughter gets this one and hopefully she doesn't sell this one and that one.
And I gotta make my list of who to, you know, all this kind of stuff.
But, but it's that heirloom thing that you touch on, I think.
I think you're right about that.
And it's funny, my dad collected knives and he was he passed away before I ever did this job, which I'm pretty sure he's orchestrated all of this from heaven.
But he liked Buck knives, you know, he wasn't into collecting high-end customs or anything.
But when I but Nice did some nights for me once, and I was at meeting with Chuck Buck and I told him my dad would have thought I was meeting with such a celebrity, you know, and Chuck glassed and everything but.
If he would have, he would have thought that was so cool that I was in a meeting with Chuck Buck, you know, so it's just a super fun industry and and it means a lot to a lot of people.
Yeah, that's my kind of celebrity Chuck Buck.
Yeah, that's cool that you.
You got to meet him and work with him.
Um, so I have a I have a thought and that is A and it comes from from the little karambit my my wife has someday of a neck knife.
What do you think of neck knives?
Do you think that's too on the nose for a you know, more too much like jewelry?
Be really cool.
I actually have a custom neck knife that a custom knife maker made me and I love it and I I wear it and use it sometimes if I'm out and about, you know, in the outdoors.
I I've done that.
I've done and I said are actual jewelry, but I think you're talking more of a neck knife that you'd actually use, right.
I think it's a great idea.
I've done several under different brands from Brighton, but I like that idea.
I'm a I'm a sucker for neck knives.
I know not everyone is, but I think they I think in a in a in a woman's wardrobe or on a woman's body, she might be more used to having things around their neck.
A lot of guys.
Don't like things on their neck.
You're jogging or something and you have like.
Spandex clothes or something.
You know, you don't have a place for a knife, but a neck knife you could put around your neck.
That's a good idea.
We'll give you credit in the next time.
Well, OK, so as as UM Brighton blades uh, kind of comes up to say you've already come up to speed, but as you start to to forge your way forward.
10 years hence, what would you like the company to look like?
That's something that we we were actually talking about even when we were setting up here that where where we want to go that we have this great vision that it's going to be great, but we're still figuring out exactly how that looks like in our lives and how it looks like for the company that.
We wanna, we wanna keep it.
Happy for our family but we would like it to to expand to be able to reach more women.
So I don't know that we have a great answer for that yet.
Right now we've been moving so fast that we have we we haven't been able to really down and started shipping right.
Yeah we started shipping last October so this is our anniversary or when your anniversary and we haven't even hardly taken a second to no we've gotten to all the shows.
We've got four light knife lines out.
One year old and I'm already asking what you want to do with your life.
I know, I know.
That's a dad.
That's a dad for you.
Well, I I love what you're doing.
And I think it is very different.
My wife always bristled at the pink knives.
I got her one pink knife.
I actually, I have two pink knives and I I love them both.
They both have black blades and one of them is called Pinky Tuscadero.
You probably know who that is because of her dress.
So I it's funny.
I'm the one in the family that likes the pink knives.
So I like the direction you've taken this company.
And that it's not just that simple answer of just change the color and you know here you go, it's deeper than that and I I really appreciate it.
Thanks so much.
It means a lot to us.
Well, thank you so much for coming on the Knife Junkie podcast.
And for those of you who are patrons, we're going to continue this conversation for a few more minutes, so come check it out.
Otherwise, Christy, Diane and Katie, thank you so much for coming on the Knife Junkie podcast.
It's been a pleasure.
Thank you so much.
Do you like the sound of the alphanumeric combinations?
M392O4P and 20 CV would bristle at 8 CR 1, three MOV and a US-8.
You are a knife junkie.
This, uh, I wrote down knife, the best gift anyone could get.
That was the words of Diane's father.
So the Christie and Katie's grandfather.
And I think that that is probably the best thing I've ever and most accurate statement I've ever heard because it is true.
It is the best gift to get.
And I always tell people to get me knives and they say I wouldn't know what to get you.
And I say I don't care, you can you can get me anything.
So anyway, I like.
That I like that quote there.
But even more than that Brighton Blades.
Very happy to have them on and very excited to see where the company goes and and I I like where the company is right now especially that not so heavy metal.
They kept throwing it up there for me to look at and drool over.
So I might have to go get one of those and one for each member of the family.
And just because it's bright and blades doesn't mean someone named Bob can't own one.
Working his magic behind the Switcher is Jim and I thank him so much.
He does so much for us here, so I want to thank you Jim and the rest of you for listening.
So until next time, please don't take dull for an answer.
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