Industry Veteran Launches V Nives Production Brand

After years in the industry, knife maker Mike Vellekamp is striking out on his own under the label V Nives. The industry veteran launched his new brand coincident with a Kickstarter campaign and promises to offer a full lineup of V Nives models by Black Friday.

Most companies start with two or three designs, testing the waters before they commit to further growth. In contrast, Vellekamp decided to jump into the deep end. By the fall, he plans to have 20 different models available for sale. The initial V Nives offering will hit every price bracket, ranging from the $30 Stout all the way up to nearly $400 with the Atmosphere. “This is no joke – we are really going to make a splash with this product line,” Vellekamp promises.

Fixed blades, flippers, assisted knives, and manuals will all be on the menu. Steel choices range from 8Cr13MoV and AUS-8 on the low end, to D2 and S35VN on the high. All V Nives products will ship in a locked and sealed waterproof case.

V Nives Ti Sportster

Among the initial offerings, three knives will be made in China, five in Italy, seven in Taiwan, and five in Vellekamp’s Puyallup, Washington facility. But he tells us all the knives are made to the same exacting standards – and to prove it, the country of origin will only be disclosed on a product information card included with the packaging. On the knives themselves, the only origin marker will be the words ‘Human Made.’ “It’s my way of recognizing the people all around the world who work hard to make our products,” Vellekamp says.

Vellekamp drew up every knife in the initial product catalog but plans to bring on outside talent as soon as he can. He has already spoken with Wally Hayes and Lee Williams and even reached out to Ken Onion. “I’m going to be picky about the designers,” he states. “I’m not going to take just anybody.”

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The 12 years Vellekamp spent at Spyderco, working his way up to become Factory Manager, made a lasting impression and ultimately led him down this entrepreneurial path. “There was a cross in the road between custom and brand knives. Did I want to be a Ken Onion, or a Sal Glesser?” he says. Ultimately he took inspiration from Sal’s accessible, open, R&D focused production approach. “I intend on becoming another Spyderco,” Vellekamp states. “We’re here to stay. And we’re modeling our company after one of the best on the planet.”

According to Vellekamp, the plan is to have the first batch of V Nives products – all 20 models – available for purchase at the beginning of October. “We’re for sure not missing Black Friday,” he says. Knives will be available from V Nives direct as well as through dealers. The company is currently running a Kickstarter campaign offering four models at discounted prices. It has already exceeded its funding goal and closes on August 29th.

Knife featured in image: V Nives Rocky

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