With a reputation for delivering quality insight and perspective on lifestyle products, we were honored when HiConsumption gave us a call to feature our founder, Ryan Coulter, on their sharp minds list. Alongside other legends from the category, Ryan sat down to talk about how a love for knives that started as a kid in Illinois evolved into a small company and an epic community in Portland, Oregon.
HC: What got you into knife making/designing in the first place?
RC: I had always carried knives since I was a kid. I still remember my Dad giving me a 3-bladed Case that was a gift to him from his job. He worked in the coal mines of Southern Illinois. Getting that from him was a big deal. I was also a Boy Scout and always used knives in that experience, so I have always been into knives. More recently, I was having a hard time finding EDC knives that I really liked. I felt like everything was big, overbuilt, and not very refined from a design perspective. I’m a designer and creative director, so design and the entire brand and product experience is very important to me. Basically, I couldn’t find the knife, or the knife brand, that really spoke to me, so I decided to gather up some friends and start making what I was looking for. The hope was that there would be other people out there like me who felt the same way.
HC: What is your all-time favorite knife and/or the knife that first got you interested in the craft?
RC: It’s hard to argue with the Victorinox Swiss Army Tinker. It’s such a nice blend between being a pocket knife (in form and size) and being a tool. It’s really handy to have a flat-head and Phillips screwdriver around. It’s also got some questionable stuff, like an awl and that pen-knife blade, that you could do without, but it’s a very handy knife to have around and it’s so approachable and available. It’s not scary or tactical. It’s just something you can slip in your pocket, leave in your purse (like my Mom does), or keep in your car and you end up using it all the time. To me, it’s a really nice example of true EDC functionality and form.