The ideas from the Sharpeners Jam ran the gambit from sharpening, organization and marketing. The Jam this year, like every year, had a different flavor than any other year in the attendance and the ideas presented. Although the numbers were down slightly this year, there were more new sharpeners and more participation in all the events from the workshops to the Guild Certification to the Braves baseball game outing. The votes for the different ideas were closer than at anytime we have shared ideas. Every idea received a vote as a great idea from somebody and I was impressed with the additional ideas shared in off-hand conversations after the formal presentation for competition.
For the first time, Dennis Brooks of Sharp Edges garnered the most votes with his idea for a Blade Transport Bag. Dennis gets a large zippered student pencil holder bag, the type that is used in a 3 ring binder and labels it with his taped on business card. He sometimes gives these to the stylist to collect their shears and clipper blades and marks their name on the front. This system helps them to set their dull equipment aside and to be ready for him when he calls. With his business card visible on the front, the groomer / barber or stylist can easily contact him with they see their bag is full. The large zippered bag will hold long groomer style shears as well as clipper blades.
The zipper bags take up very little space and make it easy to transport blades to a van or home sharpening shop. They can also be used to safely bring the blades back to the customer.
One twist on this idea is to use the plastic pencil boxes. This was an idea presented two years ago at the Jam which we have been using ever since. Long the zippered pencil bags, the plastic covered zipper boxes are on sale now during back-to-school sales. We also tape our card onto the box and will give this to the client. The plastic pencil boxes take up more room and hold less than the pencil bags, but work well for our purposes since we normally deal with shorter shears at Bonika.
Another suggestion given after the Jam by a new sharpener as an add-on to this is to also buy chalk, sidewalk chalk or regular board chalk when you are hitting those back-to-school sales. A piece a chalk put into the pencil bag or box will absorb moisture keeping the blades nice and dry.
Dennis also puts a trouble shooting card in with sharpened clipper blades. He has had fewer complaints from his customer since including the card.