Being a bit of a Ray Laconico fan, I follow him on Instagram/IG. Not long ago, that lead to running across two companies launching very shortly. Alliance Designs says their mission is to work with designers who are unable to meet market demand, by delivering extremely high end production versions of customs to market. They’re launching with a Black Friday release of 6 versions (3 handle options, two blade choices, each) of the Ray Laconico EZE. Production for the EZE is handled by Reate, though it seems Alliance will be working with multiple production companies. Alliance has also teased pictures of their second project, a Pat Hammond design. Most recently, they’ve also teased a hint that they may be making a Jasmine. Adding to the excitement, one of the first Likes on the Alliance IG page was Gareth Bull. I don’t know if we should take that as a sign of things to come, but it struck me as noteworthy, since he was literally one of their first five Likes. Could be nothing. Could be something huge. Monterey Bay Knives is Ray Laconico + Sanford Owen (dealer). They’re aiming to launch Dec 2018 or Jan 2019. They have two models slated for their kick off. One is the Kizer produced EZC, which they’ve said should hit at around $225. The other is the Minpin, which is being produced by a smaller OEM out of China. The teaser pics of the Minpin make it look very similar in terms of F&F to the WE produced Massdrop x Laconico Keen. When I asked them if it was WE, the person running the MBK Instagram account (presumably Owen, based on the way he approached answering) said MBK won’t be partnering with WE or Reate, and clarified that this is a smaller scale OEM. I don’t know for sure if their plans are to stick to Laconico designs, or if they’ll bring in friends like Mike Vagnino, or collaborative work like the LV Lancer. Personally, I’m giddy that there are so many Laconico designs coming to market. I’m equally fired up about a sliver of hope for a WE or Reate produced Shamwari. Anyone else excited about these?