Marketing Manager Joyce Laituri Bids Farewell To Spyderco

Marketing Manager Joyce Laituri Bids Farewell To Spyderco

The company’s long-time marketing manager retires after nearly 30 years of service.

Spyderco has been one of the most successful factory knife companies of the past half century, and a not-so-secret key to its success over almost 70 percent of that stretch has been Joyce Laituri.

Joyce’s last day at Spyderco, June 1, will be only slightly in the rearview mirror when you read this, but that’s probably the way she likes it. That’s because she’s not into personal glorification and wouldn’t want anyone to make a big fuss over her departure—which is just one of her many admirable traits.

Spyderco makes great knives. However, like all products, if not promoted correctly, the knives would not have sold like gangbusters the way they have over the decades. Such promotion has been Joyce’s bailiwick for most of the nearly 30 years she’s been with the company. From customer service circa 1995 she soon went to marketing, eventually becoming marketing manager in charge of all Spyderco catalogs, most of the ads, public relations, and most of the company’s relationships with writers, editors and many other industry pros.

Joyce Laituri
Joyce Laituri

The Spyderco catalogs and ads under Joyce’s direction are industry standards. Chock full of detailed color images and incisive information about the knives, their backstories, materials, designs, collaborators and more, the catalogs in particular are among the best of any knife company ever.

As super as Joyce is at promoting Spyderco knives, it’s her ability to be friendly, funny, informative and genuine in her dealings with folks that stands out. A former airline stewardess from a time when all airline stewardesses had to be pleasing to the eye, Joyce is very pretty—though there’s much more to her than that. Her sparkling eyes and engaging smile and manner immediately put people at ease and make them enjoy working with her.

She is a master of customer relations and excels at keeping a running tab on everyone’s likes and dislikes. For instance, she and I share a love of dogs, and when we communicate we almost always talk about them. She adores her boxers, emails images of them and always asks about our animals, too.

A highlight of any SHOT Show was visiting the Spyderco booth and having a sit down with BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall-of-Fame member Sal Glesser to go over the latest Spyderco knives. Running interference for Sal would be Joyce, all smiles and ready to provide the inside scoop on all the new knives, provide quality zippered bags full of samples and, of course, a few pieces of chocolate to satisfy the savage sugar beast in all scribes.

Joyce is a fountain of knowledge not just on Spyderco knives but knives in general, and BLADE® depended on her for conveying that knowledge. A veritable quote machine, she covered everything sharp, from knives for kids, the kitchen, rescue and more. She is a knife person and it shows. “If you live an out-of-doors Colorado lifestyle you own a pocketknife,” she once noted of Spyderco’s location in Golden, Colorado. “Most likely, you own several.”

She provided a much-needed feminine perspective for the male-dominated field of sporting knives, one she indicated wasn’t all that much different from the male viewpoint. “Honestly, my personal opinion is that women don’t vary much from men when choosing a knife,” she said, adding, “Sal has a saying that when you buy a drill you really don’t want the drill. What you want is the hole.”

Good times or bad, Joyce always adapted. The pandemic was no exception. Speaking of the adjustments the industry had to make to cope with the shutdowns, quarantines and the like, she related how Spyderco emerged from the storm as strong as any knife company. “These past months have been a testament to the leadership and health of our business,” she said toward the north end of the crisis. “Whoever could have imagined shifting literally overnight to work systems not used before in knifemaking? I raise my hat to all of us! We’re a feisty bunch, aren’t we?”

Yes—though none are feistier than Joyce. She educated many thousands of people on the utility and value of Spyderco knives, and by extension enhanced the popularity, importance and relevance of the entire cutlery industry. In her field of endeavor, none have done it better.

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