We had the good fortune of connecting with Yoni Wunderman and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Yoni, is there a quote or affirmation that’s meaningful to you?
I don’t know the exact quote, or who originally said this, but I heard it from comedian The Von and it stuck with me.

He said something along the lines of “even a change by one degree will elevate you over time.”

When I heard that I was grinding a knife in about 100F sweating in a full face respirator and I was miserable. I really wanted to quit, and was doing the bare minimum effort to keep my business afloat.

To me it meant exactly as it sounds. If you are moving in a flat line, making no change, all you need to do is change your course by one degree in a positive direction. Over time that small change puts you on a new upward path.

I like it because it’s true. It’s prove-able on a mathematic graph, and it works in life. At that moment I decided to start looking for a new more comfortable shop that I wouldn’t not be miserable in, and within a few months I had moved, and started making even more positive changes.

Every time I find myself plateauing I remember that I don’t have to shoot up 90 degrees. Even 1 degree will make a change over time.

What should our readers know about your business?
What sets me apart from others is my ability to do relatively high production with no workforce other than myself. And I make knives that are clean and simple, rather then flashy and uncomfortable.

I learned how to work with machines in a way that I can now make a product that’s actually better than what I could make by hand. In the computer I can design every part as I would do by hand but making small changes that could never happen by hand. If I grind off too much in real life I’m screwed. In the computer I can just hit “undo” and make small adjustments till each knife, handle, and sheath is the perfect version of its self. Then the robots can replicate my “perfection” exactly the same as many times as I see fit.

All of my designs, and everything I learned about making knives came from doing it by hand. I then just learned how to transfer that into automated machinery that can replicate my designs without complaints, food, pay, etc (robots rule).

This allowed me to create cool products at lower prices then I originally had, in quantities other “custom” makers can’t keep up with.

And because I’m a small brand I can take risks and make blades in wild colors, and offer customization that larger companies couldn’t.

In a large company any change or decision needs to go through multiple people. Over here I just do it if I feel like it, and I listen to the feedback my customers give me.

Getting here wasn’t easy at all. I had to STAND in a hot room, with a full face respirator on for 6 years of my life shooting sparks all over the place sweating my ass off for 10 hours a day. I made no profit, couldn’t afford a family, no health insurance, no paychecks, no job security, no vision of the future. No vacations, etc. I just liked making knives.

I had no guidance on how to run a business. One year I took so many preorders, and didn’t spend the cash on materials before the year end. I knew nothing about taxes and write offs and ended up owing so much I had to take a loan out just to pay my taxes.

So only by figuring out how to scale my capabilities without hiring people, did I become what I would consider successful. And it only happened relatively recently.

The main challenge was to keep going and never quit, and I only did that because I rented an external shop, and never got a day job. If you run a business from your garage you are more then likely gonna quit if you get frustrated or things get tough. And same can be said if you have a fallback. When you have to pay rent for a shop, and are tied into a lease you are more likely to figure it out.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
While I did have some help from friends and family along the way, nobody helped me as much as my customers!

So I’d like to give a shout-out to my customers!

When I first started I had no name or reputation, yet people were willing to purchase my products and take a chance on me. Keep in mind some of these customers were military personnel who would be taking my blades on deployment, potentially putting their life at risk based off my work.

I have always got direct input and feedback from my customers to enhance my products, and without them and their support none of this would be possible.

Website: www.complianceedgeknives.com/

Instagram: @compliance_edge

Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/complianceedgeknives

Image Credits
Joshua Morse

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutSocal is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.