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Katto was founded two years ago by me (Josh, on the left!) and my best mate Thomas.
The idea came to me after I had a mental breakdown in 2016 which culminated in me being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. There’s no doubt that my breakdown was the most horrible, turbulent time in my life; but there were a few positives to come out of it. Namely, that it helped me uncover a deep and passionate love for food and cooking. I suppose I’d always been a keen cook; but it wasn’t until one of the doctors recommended it as a way of keeping my mind busy and feeling purposeful, that I really began getting obsessed.
And it worked.
In just a few months I found the daily ritual of planning, preparing, cooking and eating made a real and lasting difference to me, my mindset and my mental health. In a way, I guess that isn’t surprising. Ask anyone why they cook and the answers they give will be much more than “to survive”. They’ll be about expressing creativity, the enjoyment of making things, the pleasure of sharing food with friends and family.
Having discovered how much I enjoyed cooking, the next obvious question was what kitchen equipment to buy. Which sounds easy; but was actually pretty tricky. Particularly when it came to knives, there was just so much choice, technical jargon and wildly different pricing.
Researching the options there seemed to be a choice - either I could buy highly commercial, big name brand knives which were cheap but lacked quality and creativity; or I could go for handmade, artisanal knives which looked amazing but cost a gazillion pounds.
Neither really fitted the bill. I wanted knives that were super sharp and well-balanced; but also characterful and a bit unique. Plus I was adamant that I wouldn’t spend over £100 on a single knife. I couldn’t find these mythical knives anywhere and after a few months of searching I had the slightly bonkers idea of making them myself.
It was at this point - over a rather disappointing green curry (I said I was a keen cook...not a good one!) - that I decided to rope in Thomas. Much to my surprise he liked the idea. He’d just moved house and was similarly stuck for high quality kitchen gear that didn’t break the bank. That night we agreed to do all the research and to see if it might be possible.
Fast forward two years; endless hours of research; countless meetings with suppliers; and goodness knows how many trips to see blacksmiths and carpenters and packaging people; and we finally felt ready to launch in December 2019.
We launched with a very limited range of three knives, all in the same size and - to our surprise and shock - we sold out in three weeks.
It was the most brilliant, gratifying experience and we resolved to double our efforts, introduce more designs and sizes, and to really work on ensuring that every one of our customers enjoys a brilliant experience.
Of course, there’s always further we can go; but if you do order from us, I hope it’ll be the best knife buying experience you’ve ever had. And if for any reason it isn’t, then please email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call us on 07922 994 549.
Thanks for reading!
Things we believe
I think because of the circumstances and time in my life in which Katto was born, it’s always felt more to me and Thomas than just a job or a knife company. About a month ago we wrote down exactly what we’re about / the things that we believe. Here they are:
1. Making is important
We believe that making things is a powerful antidote to the pace, noise and chaos of modern life. So whether it's a craftsperson making one of our knives, or someone making supper for their friends, Katto exists to help and celebrate people who make things with their hands.
2. Individuality is awesome
We make all of our knives by hand. We do this because we believe that handmade knives are stronger, more balanced and more beautiful. But it also means that no two Katto knives will be the same. Yes, they'll be made and tested to the same exacting standards; but they'll also come infused with character, individuality and personality. And we're really proud of that.
3. Effort is everything
We believe that easier isn't always better and that the best things in life require effort. That's why we design every product in-house, make and test every knife by hand, wrap and dispatch every package from our workshop and speak with every customer who places an order.