Friday, October 31, 2008


I've written about this before (like here and here) and I will probably write about it again. But I don't think I can stress enough just how important dressing to impress and first impressions can be.

With this in mind, I'd like to point you to a favorite blog of mine called The Art of Manliness. In todays post you'll find an excellent write up on how to be a well dressed man. Now I'm not suggesting, as sharpeners, we all don tailored suits, but the points that article makes about impressions and their value are something we all should consider when we present ourselves to our customers. Here is the link to the post below:

PS - I love the old pictures on this blog.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


You know, some people might think this post is a little lame, but I love it when I find something like this and wanted to pass it along to you. One of Louise Radanovich's customers gave her a copy of this song. She was an elderly music teacher and this was one of the songs she used to teach her students. Louise wrote...

"I don't know how to read music, so she sang the song to me in my truck!"

One of the things I like best about the sharpening profession is the history. It's long and colorful. Thanks for sending this song to me Louise, it will make a nice addition to my collection of old writings on sharpening and antique sharpening equipment.

Click on the picture for a larger view.

Monday, October 27, 2008


Written by Glen Burke

!Sold Out!
Best sales on record!
Most machines sold in a show!
But is that what makes a good show?


Several times throughout the weekend I was approached by attendees with comments like “I am so glad I came”, “This is my “nth” time attending a Wolff/Huff show”, “This is great that you guys do this, I’m learning so much”, “this has helped me so much”, “it was well worth coming.”

There is only one way to evaluate the value of holding a show and that is if it was worth it to the attendees. I had sharpeners asking when the next show would be. Not where, but when. They want to come and learn some more. The most exciting time was the hour and half before and after the actual show time each day. Sharpeners asked for additional hands on time and additional training on machines. Those sharpeners asked for 110% and got 120%. It’s very exciting to see sharpeners so hungry to learn and improve their skills to help their customers, thus improving their bottom line.

So was it a good show and worth the expense of travel for those that came? Based on your comments and feedback, we had a very good show! Thank you to all that came out to attend the ’08 Wolff/Huff show in Anaheim. Your participation has given us insight as to how we can best serve you and we look forward to more of the same in the future.

There will be a full write up about the show in the November Issue of On The Edge. To find out more about On The Edge, call 864-909-3381.

Friday, October 24, 2008


One of the great things about Wolff Industries is that it's a business that puts the needs of its customers first. You hopefully see that in Wolff's support system!

One thing you know about Wolff, is that when you call, you always talk to a person during business hours. We have a firm belief in building personal relationships, and we believe the worst thing a business can do is get lazy and allow a machine to be its customer service manager.

Another thing you'll notice about Wolff is the sharpener support system we've built. If you have a question, we are only an e-mail or 800 number call away. We have multiple people here ready to help.

What you may not be aware of, is Wolff's Hira-To loaner machine program. When you buy a Wolff Hira-To Flat Hone Sharpening System it's quite an investment. Wolff understands that you use this machine to make money, and if your Hira-To ever needs service, we want you to be able to continue making money when you send it in. That's why we have loan machines on the shelf we can send to our Hira-To owners if the need ever arises.

Thus far, because of the quality of the Hira-To, only one customer has had to utilize this service. When he called to tell us his machine was out of commission, it was dropped by accident, he was amazed we offered such a service. He was back up and running the next day while we fixed his machine.

Wolff is dedicated to its customers! When you purchase a piece of equipment from us, we support you. When you're ready to make a large purchase like a Flat Hone System, ask any of the other suppliers you may be considering if they have a program like this. If not, this is just one more reason to buy the Wolff Hira-To.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I haven't had time to put a post together today because of a number of meetings, but I did get to look over some of the Blogs I follow and wanted to point you toward one. It's called the Entrepreneurial Mind and author had some good insight in his post about the economy. Take a look:

Image: myeye

Monday, October 20, 2008


I received an e-mail from a sharpener last night. He was asking about a shear that was mentioned on one of the online forums. He said it was FDA Registered and was asking if any Wolff shears are registered with the FDA. They are not. He also asked if FDA Registration means the product is approved by the FDA.

To answer the latter part of that question, registration does not mean approval, but that does not mean the product doesn't do what the manufacturer claims it does. As for the the first part of the question, a manufacturer can register with the FDA by filing an "establishment registration” and/or a “medical device listing" with the FDA, which comes with a fee.

If you'd like to find out more about what's involved with registering a devise or product with the FDA, there is a good write up about the ins-and-outs of it on the Inergetix Website. To see the article, click here. In this article they mention that you can search the FDA Establishment Registration and Device Listing Database online to see which companies are registered, here is a link to that site:

To search the database, just enter the company name in the Establishment Name Box and click search. I searched the company "Ondamed" named in the article I linked to above and found the two registrations the article mentioned. Go to the link above and try it yourself. (Click on the picture if you'd like a larger view)

I hope this answers the question. If any of you ever have any other questions about Wolff products, please drop me an e-mail or give me a call.

Friday, October 17, 2008


I just wanted to ask a question of everyone. I had an incident a few weeks ago where UPS damaged one of my boxes I sent to a great customer of mine. The side of the box was busted open and three clipper blades were missing. When she called me about it, we agreed together that the blades were older so I credited her order for 3 blades at $15.00 dollars each. On top of that, I also sent her an apology letter with a $25.00 off coupon to use with her next order. I haven't heard from her since this happened and will be calling to see if I've lost her as a customer because of this.

My question to you. How would you have handled this? If you have some other suggestions, please take a moment and post a comment below or send me an e-mail at I honestly though this was a fair deal. I'll find out of it was when I call. :) I'll let you know what happens.

Image: oberazzi

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


One of my favorite things to do is spend time with like-minded people. People that love sharpening, people that love business, people that love marketing and sales. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of having lunch with one such individual, Olivier Blanchard.

Olivier writes The Brandbuilder Blog. It's one of my favorites, one of the few I visit every day, and I encourage you to visit Olivier's blog too. For someone like me that does much of the marketing at Wolff, The Brandbuilder Blog is a Godsend. I'm also fortunate that Olivier lives in my area, so I get the added benefit of a personal relationship as well. There's nothing like setting aside a couple of hours from time-to-time to trade ideas with people you respect and that aren't afraid to challenge you to improve your business and yourself.

But why am I telling you this? The reason is, I was reminded yesterday just how important networking is, and how encouraging it can be to sit down with someone that's on the same page as you. This is why sharpeners need to spend time together. We need each other! One of my favorite things I hear from sharpeners that attend shows like the Wolff/ Huff Show coming up this weekend, is not how great the classes where, but the stories of relationships sharpeners develop with each other. Many have made friends that last far beyond the show, and these friends often become cheerleaders for each other as they each grow their businesses.

So I encourage you to do two things. First, if you've never attended a show where sharpeners meet together, consider setting aside some time in 2009 to do so. Second, look for like-minded people in your area that love business and have an entrepreneurial spirit like you do. Look for others that will help you stretch and grow.

Image: emdot

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I need to let everybody know that unfortunately, I won't be able to make it to the show in Anaheim this weekend. This is because of medical reasons and my Doctor would rather I not fly at this time. Please rest assured though, my condition is not uncommon for a man of my age, it's not life threatening in any way, and I am on the mend; I'm just not well enough to travel yet.

With that said, I now get to share some good news, Glen Burke is my replacement. Many of you have spoken to Glen on the phone and he is an excellent sharpener! Here is a copy of his write up in the show program:

Glen has been sharpening since the 1990’s. We first met Glen at the 1999 Wolff Show in Reno where he graciously offered to man our camera during the seminars. That led to a friendship that saw him approved and certified as a Wolff Industries trainer and eventually led to us moving him from Salt Lake City, UT to Spartanburg, SC to work for Wolff full time. Glen specializes in sharpening training and technical support, he also builds our Hira-To® systems and assists our machinist in the manufacturing of our other equipment. He has been a great asset to Wolff over the years.

He'll do a awesome job for you and is looking forward to meeting many of you. I'm so sorry that I will not be there and will be thinking about all of you this weekend. Enjoy your time together and I look forward to hearing all about the show.


Thank you for all your help. The young lady has been located and all the blogs that posted her missing poster are taking them down as the family works to move on from here. The response of the online community was overwhelming and helped lead to her being found safe and sound.

Image: vernhart

Monday, October 13, 2008


A few months ago, I started building a relationship with Jeff Esposito, one of the public relations guys at VistaPrint. I had mentioned VistaPrint here at Jim Sharp and he e-mailed me to thank me. Pretty impressive! That started a few e-mails back and forth that lead to this interview. You’ll see two powerful things here. The first is VistaPrint cares about small business; see this in the special offer he makes to sharpeners at the end of this interview. The other is the fact that VistaPrint was looking. They saw my post on my blog, sent a simple thank you, and that netted them even more exposure. Well done Jeff! And thanks for the great example of how to market a business!

On The Edge (OTE): Tell us how VistaPrint got its start.
Jeff Esposito (JE): VistaPrint was founded by our CEO, Robert Keane, in Paris in 1994. Our first Web site was launched in 2000 and has grown to a $255 million company during the 2007 fiscal year. The company’s growth and popularity has been tied to many of the free products that we offer. The most notable has been the offer of 250 free business cards. To date there are currently over 3.4 billion of these cards in circulation, and on the reverse of each of these cards is the slogan “Business Cards are FREE at!”

Early on, VistaPrint was a place for small businesses and consumers to create high-quality printed products for a low cost. However, as the company has evolved over the past eight years, we have really become a small business marketing company that offers these businesses many options to promote their businesses. For small business owners that either do not have the means to hire a graphic designer or have limited design knowledge, VistaPrint offers Creative Services. This service has a team of VistaPrint designers who create marketing materials with input from the business owner. Businesses looking to start a direct marketing campaign can create a mailing online and send it out using VistaPrint’s Postcard Marketing service. Businesses can also do mailings in as little as 50 pieces. Recently Web sites have also been added to the product repertoire. Small business owners can expand their customer base with a custom Web site starting at just $4.99 a month.

The company also offers promotional products like hats, T-shirts, sticky notes and pens for an affordable rate.

OTE: Sharpeners typically market their businesses with business cards, fliers, brochures and post cards. How can VistaPrint help us do that more affordably?
JE: Traditional printers typically cater to large run print jobs. Many small and medium sized companies are not going to be producing these large orders and printers will usually turn away a small order, or charge a price that often is too high for the company’s budget. These customers typically head to office superstores or copy centers that offer a limited number of design options and minimal customization. VistaPrint employs patented technology to offer small run printed products at an affordable price. The Web site is also convenient, because it offers thousands of designs and you can get all of your promotional products in one place.

OTE: Some sharpeners like to market their business with a newsletter, either on 8 ½” X 11" or ledger size paper. Do you have a cost effective suggestion on how to do this in full color?
JE: Flyers are a product that sharpeners would be able to create on VistaPrint’s Web site. All of VistaPrint’s products are offered in full color, so sharpeners would be able to get flyers starting at just $29.99, as well as order other matching business identity products to help expand upon their brand. Businesses looking to give their newsletter a new look can also choose to design a brochure that could convey the latest happenings along with pictures in a mailable format.

OTE: Where would you suggest we go on your website to learn how VistaPrint can help us market our businesses more effectively with your products?
JE: Aside from being a top-notch Web site that offers small business marketing products, our company also has a number of highly-skilled marketing professionals who offer tips for small businesses in our Learning Center. In this section, sharpeners can sign up for one of our free live Webinars that give tips on certain topics like logo design, Web sites and postcard marketing. If they can’t make one of those, they can always view a video of past Webinars in the On-demand Marketing section or read marketing articles penned on topics from promotional marketing to marketing over the holidays and public relations 24 hours a day.

I appreciate the time that you have given me today to speak with the sharpeners. I would also like to extend a special 25% discount to your readers by going to


Thursday, October 9, 2008


I just wanted to pass along this information to you. I received a couple of notes from Kenchii yesterday:

Kenchii News:
In honor of breast cancer awareness month Kenchii is selling the Pink Poodle and the Pink models for $199.00 retail and [please call Wolff for price] wholesale. Please note you may advertise them for less than $298.00, but not less than $199.00. (Click here to read Kenchii's MAP policy for advertising their product)
The prices on the Pink Poodle and the Kenchii Pinks have been adjusted on the Wolff Website.
To see pricing and view the Pink Poodles, click here.
To see pricing for the Kenchii Pinks, click here. To view one of the Kenchii Pinks, click here.

Kenchii News:
We also are selling all the Leopard and the Tribal models to distributors [please call Wolff for the price. I can't put distributor pricing on a public site like this, BUT it's a sweet deal]. To get this special price you must order a minimum of 6 pieces total. These will be sold on prepaid terms only and must be sold as discontinued. They will not be sold with the Kenchii box. (To view one of the Leopard shears, click here)
You'll have to call in to order these. There's no easy way for me to enter these into the system here at Wolff at this discount, we'll have to adjust the prices on the fly.

Wolff News:
As far as Wolff is concerned, I also wanted to let everyone know that the 30 micron silicone carbide PSA discs have arrived. Click here to see the related post.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


I was reading Seth Godin's Blog today. He was writing about luck versus effort. It's a great post and I wanted to share a few points from it with you.

Seth said...

People really want to believe effort is a myth, at least if we consider what we consume in the media:
  • politicians and beauty queens who get by on a smile and a wink
  • lottery winners who turn a lifetime of lousy jobs into one big payday
  • sports stars who are born with skills we could never hope to acquire
  • hollywood celebrities with the talent of being in the right place at the right time
  • failed CEOs with $40 million buyouts

It really seems (at least if you read popular media) that who you know and whether you get 'picked' are the two keys to success. Luck.

I've known a number of "lucky" sharpeners in my time, but the reality is, most of the sharpeners I know that have created successful businesses have done so through hard work and diligent effort.

Seth also wrote...

Effort takes many forms. Showing up, certainly. Knowing stuff (being smart might be luck of the draw, but knowing stuff is the result of effort). Being kind when it's more fun not to. Paying forward when there's no hope of tangible reward. Doing the right thing. You've heard these things a hundred times before, of course, but I guess it's easier to bet on luck.

A great list! And one many of us can relate to, especially the "showing up" part. How many times have we heard from our customers that their regular sharpener only shows up when it's convenient to them.

But Seth goes even further...'s a bootstrapper's/marketer's/entrepreneur's/fast-rising executive's effort diet. Go through the list and decide whether or not it's worth it. Or make up your own diet. Effort is a choice, at least make it on purpose:

1. Delete 120 minutes a day of 'spare time' from your life. This can include TV, reading the newspaper, commuting, wasting time in social networks and meetings. Up to you.

2. Spend the 120 minutes doing this instead:

  • Exercise for thirty minutes.
  • Read relevant non-fiction (trade magazines, journals, business books, blogs, etc.)
  • Send three thank you notes.
  • Learn new digital techniques (spreadsheet macros, Firefox shortcuts, productivity tools, graphic design, html coding)
  • Volunteer.
  • Blog for five minutes about something you learned.
  • Give a speech once a month about something you don't currently know a lot about.

3. Spend at least one weekend day doing absolutely nothing but being with people you love.

4. Only spend money, for one year, on things you absolutely need to get by. Save the rest, relentlessly.

If you somehow pulled this off, then six months from now, you would be the fittest, best rested, most intelligent, best funded and motivated person in your office or your field. You would know how to do things other people don't, you'd have a wider network and you'd be more focused.

It's entirely possible that this won't be sufficient, and you will continue to need better luck. But it's a lot more likely you'll get lucky, I bet.

Growth and success takes dedication and a willingness to do what others won't. Most people are not born sharpeners, they develop into them over time with training and with practice. Take Seth's challenge to heart and start working on ways to help you become the sharpener you want to be. Whenever I forget that "luck" takes hard work, I watch this video below and wonder how many year of effort and practice it took this musician to get this good.

Image: krikit

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


I always make a mess when I pack! We're just about ready to send our stuff out to Anaheim. Glen and I have a few more machines to go through, then we can pack up the pallet.

If you are still looking to come to the show, it's October 17th - 19th at the Holiday Inn Resort Hotel in Anaheim, CA. We still have a couple of seats available, so if you're interested call soon. Seating is limited to 50.

If you have any questions, please give Wolff a call. And remember, we're giving away a free Twice as Sharp at this show! Thanks to all that have signed up. We'll see you soon.

Friday, October 3, 2008


Just a heads up that Wolff now carries 6" Silicone Carbide PSA micron discs for the Hira-To. They are the same price as the Aluminum Oxide discs and come in 30, 15, and 9 micron. We have the 15's and 9's in stock, and the 30's should be here soon. For more info, give Glen or myself a call at 800-888-3832. I'll be adding these new discs to the Wolff Website next week.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


There are many different handle styles on beauty shears, but the three most common you'll run into are shown in this picture.

The shear on the top is called a straight handled shear. The finger holes are directly across from each other and the center of the handle is inline with the blades.

The shear in the middle is called an offset shear. On this shear, the thumb hole is moved forward which makes it more ergonomically correct.

The shear on the bottom is called a crane handle. On this shear the thumb is moved forward and the finger handle is inline with the blades. This allows a stylist to hold the blades directly in front of them at 180 degrees without having to lift their elbow. This helps keep stress off the shoulder.

Click on the image for a better view of the shears.