Food and drink / Startups

Why this knife startup is keeping things simple

Misen is doing for cooking knives what other startups are doing for clothes, beds and sheets.

Josh Moses cofounded Misen this year. (Photo by Tyler Woods)
Josh Moses has an idea about millennials.

“Better and less stuff is, I think, is our generation’s thing,” he said over coffee at Freehold in Williamsburg this weekend.
Moses is the cofounder of Misen, a cooking knife company which will launch today with a Kickstarter campaign. The knives are custom designed by Moses and his partners Omar Rada and Peter Mueller, and will be price competitive by removing the traditional middleman of brick-and-mortar retailer.
“I use Brooklinen sheets, I shop at Everlane, I’m a sucker for all this stuff,” Moses said, also noting Brilliant Bicycles and Casper. “And, I feel more attachment to Brooklyn because you’re supporting people here and not, like, Bed Bath & Beyond.”
If the first wave of online shopping was that you could buy anything in the world at your fingertips on Amazon or eBay, companies like Misen might represent the second wave: uncluttered websites where you can buy just one or a few things from brands, or better yet, people you trust.

“I honestly think people have decision fatigue,” Moses, who said he debated for weeks before pulling the trigger when he was shopping for a knife for himself, said. “You’re trying to look through all the features and price points and it makes you nervous about the quality.”

The idea for Misen, which comes from the restaurant world phrase mise en place, which is how a chef sets up his station, came when Moses was trying to buy himself a good knife. He found hundreds of different options and specs and steel qualities and prices. When he’d ask professionals at kitchenware stores, what would be the best knife for him would be, they’d tell him whatever feels best to him.

“If I’m trying to spend a few hundred dollars on a knife, that’s not really an acceptable answer,” he felt.

So he made his own company. He realized that by taking out the retailer, as companies like Casper and Brooklinen do, he could reduce prices.

“The knives are going to be $65. It’s definitely not the least expensive knife you can get but the value is it’s objectively better than a knife twice our price,” Moses said. “We’re taking much a less of a cut ourselves.” 
Misen will also include lifetime sharpening as part of the deal. Where users will be able to send in their knives and have them sent back sharp. “Those sharpening trucks (in Flatbush and Crown Heights), I want one of those. Honestly, that would be the coolest. A dude on a bike comes to your house with a bunch of whetstones. That’s 2.0.”

Josh Moses, of Misen, shows off his knife prototypes.

Misen’s Josh Moses shows off his knife prototypes. (Photo by Tyler Woods)

Series: Brooklyn

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