Pacific Solution Marketing began as a retail company, selling its products mainly at flea markets. But after nearly a decade of operation this way, the entire structure and direction of the company was changed to strictly wholesale. This was back in the mid 1990s, and the company hasn’t looked back. Specializing in edged products such as swords and knives, Pacific Solution was appearing at retail trade shows, Renaissance fairs and the like. However, a shift in philosophy prevailed, and it was decided there were better opportunities in the wholesale business.
Next came a web presence, which appeared in 2002. Today, the website is the main source of the company’s business. They sell strictly wholesale, and customers must order via the site. “Nobody was handling the website until I came here almost seven years ago,” says Pacific Solution’s Eric Lee. “I started updating the website and reorganizing everything.”
These days, Pacific Solution Marketing takes special pride in the edged products it sells to buyers. Some of the most popular items sold on a regular basis are high quality samurai hand forged swords. Also pocket knives are always very strong, reliable sellers. Many of the blades featuring polyresin wildlife do very well, as well as the ever popular dragon design. “Pocket knives are great, because really everybody can carry them. They just put them in their pocket for whatever purpose they need,” says Lee. “The fantasy knives are really more for collecting. We also have people who collect samurai swords. Some people do use them for practice, as well, so they definitely want to buy a good quality one, regardless of price. But most of the people collecting, it’s really just from a basic interest to add to their collection.”
Pacific Solution is also the manufacturer of all the blades it carries, and the company has direct control over the level of quality. The company is also able to set ground rules for who can and can’t buy its products. For example, all buyers are instructed that they cannot sell to customers under the age of 18, in a warning explicitly stated on the invoice.
Despite the popularity of many of Pacific Solution’s products, the company has not been totally immune to the effects of the recession. After all, many of the items Pacific Solution sells could certainly be considered luxury products. What Lee found was that the main impact of the recession was people not so much buying less, but buying smaller, more affordable items. Once again, the perennial pocket knives continued to do well, as they still do. But as opposed to a year ago at this time, when sales were on the decline, Lee is happy to report that sales are currently holding steady, and he expects this trend to continue.
Surprisingly, Lee estimates that at the moment, the serious collectors’ market makes up only about two or three percent of the end consumers of Pacific Solution’s products. Although there are retail stores that specifically carry only swords and knives, those are certainly not the majority. Most of the retailers who buy are owners of gift shops, smoke shops, or collectible stores that only carry edged products as a small part of their entire product line. “One of the advantages is that any type of store can carry swords and knives, because there is no license for them,” says Lee. “If they want to sell them at a flea market, they have to check with the flea market owners. Other than that, we don’t have that many problems. As for the collectors’ market, it’s very much a niche. Collectors really require very good quality. Pacific Solutions right now is mid range as far as that goes. We haven’t gotten really into the collectors’ market that much.”
Lee finds that the popularity of certain films and animated TV shows directly creates trends in his business. For example, a blade featured prominently in a movie or show can send consumers scrambling to own one just like it. Those consumers inquire with retailers, and the retailers put in requests with Pacific Solutions. Lee points to a movie like Kill Bill, which featured the Hanso sword, an item that then became coveted by many.
Recently, Ninja Assassin is a film that has been good for business. “You just have to be careful with those,” explains Lee. “Because some of the movie blades don’t have copyrights or licenses on them, but some of them do. You just have to watch out which movie you’re replicating. If they are copyrighted, we don’t do it.”
Thankfully in the case of Kill Bill, the Hanso sword was not copyrighted. As a result, the replica became one of Pacific Solutions’ best selling blades. Pacific Solutions’ brand name product line includes a high quality samurai sword called the Musashi, as well as lower priced ones called the Musha. For those looking to stock technical, military style blades such as pocket knives and others, the company offers the Falcon line. “We do have our own trademark and try to make sure that everybody gets a good quality product,” says Lee.
For more information:
Pacific Solution Marketing Inc.
1220 E. Belmont Street
Ontario, CA 91761