What is Cutco&Reg;?

Brendan McGuigan

Cutco® is a brand of cutlery, most known for its knives and scissors. Cutco® has become an iconic name because it circumvents traditional distribution channels, with no stores carrying its products. Instead, the company relies on independent agents, often college students, to sell the products through in-house consultations, much in the same manner as vacuum cleaners of a different era. The line contains over one-hundred different items, running a full range of kitchenware, from knives to flatware to ice cream scoops.

Cutco specializes in knives.
Cutco specializes in knives.

The knives themselves are reported to be remarkably strong and sharp, and Cutco® claims they are “The Word’s Finest Cutlery,” backing up their claims with what they call the Forever Guarantee. The steel used in Cutco® knives is 440A stainless steel, with a Rockwell Hardness of 55-57c. The knives use a unique shape, similar in concept to that of a serrated knife, with three-edged points creating a recessed blade that the company says reduces dulling.

The Cutco® distribution channel relies on word-of-mouth and customer testimonials.
The Cutco® distribution channel relies on word-of-mouth and customer testimonials.

The Forever Guarantee associated with Cutco® knives is meant to be even more ironclad than a traditional Lifetime Guarantee, which implies the guarantee expires when the purchaser dies. The Forever Guarantee is meant to last for generations, insuring the knives for the purchaser’s children and grandchildren. Although largely a marketing gimmick, the Forever Guarantee does nonetheless serve as a Lifetime Guarantee, with the company reportedly taking great pains to alleviate any customer dissatisfaction.

Because of the nature of the Cutco® distribution channel, which relies on word-of-mouth and customer testimonials, the company is very receptive to complaints or defective products. They have a large technical support staff available at all times, and make it as easy as possible to get replacement blades or existing blades sharpened. Sharpening a blade can be done either by following their instructions, or by sending the knives in to be professionally sharpened, for a negligible shipping and handling fee.

The sales force of Cutco® knives, hired through the parent Vector Marketing company, consists largely of college students and young people responding to ads in student papers or social networking sites like Facebook. Sales representatives begin with a 10% commission, and through steady promotions which each yield a 5% bump in commission they can reach a 30% base commission level. This commission level remains with the sales agent even if they leave the company for a while. Additional bonuses can be acquired based on the sales record for the month, and can add another 20% commission, meaning that the top sellers earn roughly a 50% commission on all sales.

The Cutco® range of knives includes paring knives in different sizes and shapes, various slicers, a range of chef knives, santoku knives, carving knives, table knives, a butcher knife, a cheese knife, a trimmer, a spatula spreader, a large vegetable knife, a boning knife, a salmon knife, and a cleaver. These knives can be purchased individually or in different sized packages. Additionally, the Cutco® brand includes different hunting and fishing knives, woodblocks and knife trays, and a full range of stainless steel cookware.

Cutco has a number of santoku knives.
Cutco has a number of santoku knives.

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