You may have noticed we’ve bumped up prices on some of our items. This has been a difficult decision since a driving motivation behind this business was to put scythes in your hands at a better price. And we’ve also enjoyed being singled out as the little-old-ladies of the scythe retail scene.
But, on the other hand, it wasn’t too difficult, because we’ve bumped up the prices on products that we think are genuinely better.
Our snaths are more robust in their joints, and the grips are more ergonomic in the hand. And we spend a bit of time fitting up the business end so the knob holes are well-placed for our blades. The rubbers we supply are also cut and fitted by us. The current batch has snath savers made and fitted by us. We assemble the unit and make sure it all fits together nicely. We made the decision to supply the units with Nyloc® nuts – replacing the standard nuts that were included – so they won’t work loose. And, at time of writing (nearly three years into the business), we’ve never had a single complaint about the snaths. And if we took our time into account, we were losing money on every snath sale we made.
Our ceramic whetstones… well, we invented them! As far as we know, no-one else in the world is selling ceramic scythe stones. They’re made right here in Tassie – next door! The feedback we’re getting on them is very good (one customer even noted that he dropped his from 1.5 metres onto concrete and it didn’t break – but we don’t recommend it!), and that includes use on blades other than our fine Falci blades for which we first envisaged them being used. Having bumped the price up, we’re still nowhere near the 100% markup that’s typically considered “standard” in the retail world, and despite being made by my next door neighbour, we do also invest a bit of time on them to dress the sharpening edges. Again, no-one has ever complained about our whetstones – but admittedly it’s relatively early days for these.
Our attachment rings are also locally made, and we cut and grind the baseplates, drill each hole (twice) and tap each hole, ourselves. It’s not a quick process – they’re stainless steel, so very tough going, and requiring more specialised tools. And we do them in stainless so they’ll last. I have rings in zinc/galvanised with deformed baseplates (which can make the screws difficult to turn) – I’m yet to see that happen with the stainless. Again, no-one has ever complained about the rings, and we’re so confident that they’ll give you good service that we’re now offering an unconditional lifetime guarantee – send us your broken ring and we’ll send you a replacement.
Our blades we’ve left at the same price, for now. This is despite the fact that we paid more for them than the manufacturer was asking – as a token contribution to keeping the industry afloat. We do make a significant markup on the blades so we’re happy to leave this as is, despite the fact that in real value terms – with respect to the workmanship and skills that goes into each – they are worth much more. Consider that we were quoted $60 to make attachment rings, and we sell our smallest blade (which requires a 3 year apprenticeship to make!) for $70. It’s very good value, and we may revise this in future as we think it’s actually important that developed countries pay more for quality tools (which is why we do, on wholesale).
We’d appreciate any comments on the new pricing – drop us a line. We’re very aware that we have a wide mix of customers – from people who would seem to be prepared to pay whatever we asked, to people who have to make shrewd buying choices and make their buck travel as far as possible. With that said, we hope we’ll still be attractive to the latter, because we are offering quality tools that last and, especially in respect to the items on which we’ve lifted the prices, we believe they’re better than the alternatives on offer.
And, believe us, we’re not making a fortune. Seeing a return on investment prior to 2020 is looking very unlikely so far.