Cutting Edge Quality: Cutco "Knives for Life"

O.C. Ferrell, PhD, Linda Ferrell, PhD, Dean Carraway, GA
April 9, 2019
North America
Strategy & General Management
8 pages
Manufacturing, high-quality, channel of distribution, social responsibility, direct selling
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This case profiles Cutco and Vector Marketing and the direct selling business model, which the company uses to market and sell their products directly to consumers through an independent, volunteer sales force. College students, which make up most of the sales force, are given an opportunity to earn a commission on the products they sell, while gaining sales experience in a flexible work environment. Cutco provides a “forever guarantee” on all of its products, which includes service or replacement of products at any time. Knives are made through a three-stage heat process to ensure the highest level of quality. Cutco prides itself on being one of the few American cutlery companies to manufacture solely in the U.S. They continue to operate in Olean, New York where they were founded in 1949.

Learning Outcomes: 
  • Understand how Cutco sells their products to customers.
  • Be able to explain the benefits of the direct selling business model for Cutco and their sales force
  • Understand how Cutco’s retail and internet sales expansion supports the direct selling business model
  • To learn about the importance of quality products in sales success