The future of French-made knives and the cutlery industry in Thiers are inseparable

During the 1980s the French cutlery industry braved strong competition from Asian cutlers. Currently the city of Thiers is playing a key role that is representative of the revival of the French cutlery industry within this new global market. Several initiatives have been made whose goal is to place the excellent quality of France’s cutlery industry in the forefront. One of these initiatives is the Thiers Meetings, a gathering of the world’s greatest cutlery manufacturers, which has been symbolically embodied by a statue that was recently inaugurated in Thiers’ town center. Thiers’ knife manufacturers are setting a global example.

The future of French-made knives and the cutlery industry in Thiers are inseparable

A statue symbolizing the union between the world’s greatest cutlery manufacturers

A monumental statue

At the beginning of December 2016, the city of Thiers erected an impressive statue in its town square (where the streets la rue Conchette, la rue du Bourg and la place Chastel meet in front of the Cité des Couteliers) that represents the new Renaissance of French-made cutlery.

The Town Hall and the CCI commissioned a company called Jakubowski to create this work of art, which is a reminder to the region and those who produce knives in Thiers of the city’s leading role in the French cutlery industry’s successful history.

3 enormous knives from Thiers hold up the planet!

The artists creating this statue began its construction during the metalworking workshops that took place at the 26th anniversary Coutellia trade fair. The statue took more than 200 hours to complete. This metal sculpture depicts a world globe being held up by three enormous knives; it stands approximately 11 feet tall and weighs 1,763 pounds.

This statue is a symbol of the positive evolution and steadfast growth of an industry that has been facing difficulties over the past few years. However, the French cutlery industry and those producing knives in Thiers have recently been flourishing!

The city of Thiers and its knives are making a comeback

The French knife-manufacturing sector was weakened by overseas competition at the end of the 1980s. Presently this industry is making a comeback thanks to a new manufacturing philosophy that has been adopted by the majority of artisans and companies that make up the Thiers cutlery industry. This philosophy is centered on creating high-quality products.

This commitment to creating quality products is based on upholding certain ideas, including the following:

  • French-made knives set themselves apart from low-end products due to their high-quality designs and their efficiency. They are created using quality materials such as stainless steel and ceramic that bring the knives an incredible cutting capacity, longevity and ergonomic qualities. The Evercut® knives, which are created by TB Groupe and are 100% French-made, are a perfect example of this new commitment to producing incredibly high-end products.
  • Organizing global events, such as the very first global cutlery meetings that were held in May 2015 in Thiers, is proof of the drive that is feeding this commitment to promote and preserve this traditional craft while bringing value to the highly-competitive knife industry.

Today, 60% of all French cutlers work in Thiers – a city located in the Auvergne region. This city is being called upon to play a pivotal role in the future of today’s cutlery industry. At its height, the city employed 20,000 individuals and today it employs 10 times less…

What is in store for the cutlery industry of Thiers and France?

The Thiers Meetings

In order to fight against Asia’s competitive low prices, French cutlers led by professionals from Thiers, have decided to band together and communicate with each other on an international level.

In 2016 28 countries manufactured knives on 5 different continents. The Thiers Meetings were created to gather the greatest of these cutlery-manufacturing areas in order to share their knowledge and defend their values.

This alliance should increase its number of members quickly through teamwork and regularly scheduled meetings aimed at sharing ideas about designs, traditional knowledge about the craft and innovative technologies.

The first global cutlery meetings gathered representatives from 10 different countries, including Germany, the United States, Italy, Japan and Russia among others. The statue by Jakubowski is a celebration of this new partnership, which has been established between Thiers and the other cutlery companies from around the world. The first Thiers Meetings were a great success and the next meeting will take place shortly.

The French cutlery industry is on the right track

The cutlers from Thiers and the other French knife manufacturing regions hope that the dark period that the cutlery industry went through in the 1980s is far behind them. Jacques Raynaud, the president of the French Cutlery Federation stated that “The economic crisis is over; I am less pessimistic about the future because the remaining companies carefully follow the market demand.”

A return to popular demand for French-made cutlery

Ever since the majority of cutlers from the Thiers region committed to producing high-end innovative products, the number of kitchen knife sales has increased, especially in the export area. This new business strategy, whose goal is to effectively compete with foreign competitors selling cheap products, is paying off.

By opting to increase the quality of its products, French-made cutlery is being sold throughout Europe, the Americas and in Asia.

New markets are appearing for artisanal cutlery, notably pocketknives. The number of consumers looking for well-made products has increased over the past few years.

If you are going to be passing by Thiers you should make a detour and visit the town center and see the statue that symbolizes the comeback of French-made cutlery. If you stop in Thiers you will be exploring an authentic city located in the heart of Auvergne, a magnificent French region. Feel free to leave a comment about this article on our Facebook page. Thanks and see you soon.