I hadn’t heard of Cutco until Dean Wegner, founder and CEO of Authentically American, asked if I’d do a demo with his daughter, Kayla Wegner.
I said sure. Kayla Wegner is a sales rep for the company and would receive credit for doing demos as part of her internship.
I told myself I wasn’t going to buy anything, plus, I already have a set of knives and wasn’t in the market for a new set; I mostly wanted to help out Kayla.
Kayla, however, is a master sales woman. By the middle of the demo, I was itching for a pen and paper to take notes.
I ended up purchasing some utensils I needed (photo above) — my favorites being the kitchen shears (I’ve needed a pair for years). They come apart for easy cleaning, and they’re super sharp.
That purchase was several months ago. Now that I’ve used the shears just about every day, I’m thinking, “Mmmmmm . . . Kayla, I now see I need some Cutco knives, and how about a non-dulling cutting board and the non-stick omelet pan?” 😂
Made in the USA since 1940
Located in Olean, NY, a small town of 12,000 south of Buffalo near the Pennsylvania border, the Cutco factory employees 1,400 of the town’s citizens. Average length of employment is over 20 years.
Says Kayla, “My fellow sales reps and I were given a tour of the factory. Everyone was happy to see us and thanked us for the work we do – we keep them busy!”
In addition to consumer knives and other kitchen implements, the company makes KA-BAR utility knives for the military. To get the contract, Cutco had to prove it sourced all materials from US suppliers and that the entire manufacturing process was conducted stateside – which they proved, easily. “In fact,” says Kayla, “even the machines used are made in the US.”
What I like about the Cutco story, however, is that the company still uses direct sales to sell its products. After I posted about my demo with Kayla on LinkedIn, I had several people comment that they either loved Cutco products or they had been Cutco sales reps themselves – and they shared fond memories! (View the conversation.)
Sales training that creates a foundation for life
Before beginning her sales internship, Kayla was attending culinary school. “The sales program aligned really well with my schooling,” she says. “The company hires high school and college graduates and teaches us how to sell high quality goods.”
Because they’re made in the United States, Cutco’s products do cost more, but Kayla and her fellow reps are taught to focus on the products’ quality and materials – including how sharp the knives are.
For example, one competitor’s knives aren’t dishwasher safe. Another competitor’s knives are made from a brittle metal, which tends to chip or crack when cutting through chicken bones.
“Cutco knives are manufactured from high carbon stainless steel and feature thermal resin ergonomic handles,” she says.
In terms of being an employer, the company, she says, is incredible. “It’s an encouraging, uplifting culture and people are always happy to help versus competing with others. Everyone is eager to share what they know to encourage success. You also learn business skills that will last you for life.”
Once you buy a Cutco knife or other implement, you can send it back for repair or sharpening. (Be sure to watch the video of a knife being sharpened at the factory.) The company, which fully intends to stay Made in USA, sells knives, flatware, and utensils, as well as cookware by Regal Manufacturing.
If you’d like a demo with Kayla Wegner, you can contact her directly via her Cutco page. When you place an order through Kayla, she becomes your forever “free sharpening” rep. She either comes to your home (if you live close by) to sharpen your knives or she’ll help get your knives back to the factory. She also frequently offers “Buy 3 Get 1 Free” deals on her page.
Now that I’ve used their products, I’m a huge fan and can’t believe I’ve gone all these years without knowing about this fantastic company! (Did I mention I love the kitchen shears? They also cut through bone.)
Cutco Corporation: www.cutco.com
Forever Guarantee: www.cutco.com/products/the-forever-guarantee
Authentically American: www.authenticallyamerican.us
My interview of Dean Wegner, Kayla’s dad: www.huffindustrialmarketing.com/2022/04/new-iconic-brand-authentically-american-apparel
Forbes article about KA-BAR, by my colleague, Jim Vinoski: www.forbes.com
In case you missed it above — link to Kayla’s sales page
I’m not paid nor asked to write about Made in the USA products or the companies that make them. Any links or videos in this piece are “free.”
My mission is to keep manufacturing jobs stateside and this blog is my way of giving back. We like to think a “small” choice, such as purchasing something made in the US by American workers, won’t make a difference. It does.