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Okay, I remember why I don't do those shows.  Heavy snow the first day - actually half day, Friday evening - so I wasn't expecting much traffic.  In fact, heavier the snow got I wondered why I was there myself :o

But the plows went through, and the crowd normalized next day.  I'm quite good at "reading" people - good enough my son does it already.  The boy is good, but I'm gonna say that about 6 in 10 came just to hang out and have some company.  Social hour.  Maybe 2 more in that batch who didn't come to purchase anything, but would if they saw something unusual, nicer than "normal" stuff.  And maybe 2 in 10 who actually came to buy something IF that something is available.  

This was the first one I've been in on in about ... maybe 7-8 years?  I've been to a few here 'n' there, basically watching the crowd (though I would have bought something if I found something interesting, so not "just" a "looker").  Nothing changed, but it's good that I checked.  So at least I'm not wondering.  Not that they're useless, but rather I should have somebody doing it FOR me.  If they have any questions at the tables, THEN they could contact me.  Call me right from the table, if it helps you, and IF you have any reception at all.  These things really notorious for crap reception, and this one I had trouble just staying connected to my card reader.  Fortunately, there was a cash machine at one end of the building.

Unlike some, this wasn't just acres of overpriced cheap junk. One big fella had some fairly nice gun slings you could buy on the spot.  Told him gotta be worth $50, and he told me some complained about $40 for a 9 oz rifle sling, suede lined and stitched. Don't know for sure, but I didn't see him sell any of the 20+ he had there.

One gal said she wants THIS holster but for THAT gun, so I gave her a card and GAVE her a mag pouch, told her contact me after the weekend.  Of course, my boy said he thought I talked to that girl quite a while, and he thought it "almost' looked like flirting. :blush:  Who.. moi ??@!

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YIKES ITS GETTING WORSE...

Everywhere seeing "tooled" leather, that clearly isn't.  Apparently, a knife is a " hand tool", so if you cut the leather with a knife it's "hand tooled". :o

 

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Dont sound very appealing .........So how DO you generate some sales without setting up at the shows

Quote

 

 

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4 hours ago, JLSleather said:

YIKES ITS GETTING WORSE...

Everywhere seeing "tooled" leather, that clearly isn't.  Apparently, a knife is a " hand tool", so if you cut the leather with a knife it's "hand tooled". :o

 

You aught to see all the crap labeled "handmade" on ebay that clearly isn't.

 

On 1/21/2019 at 10:00 AM, JLSleather said:

Told him gotta be worth $50, and he told me some complained about $40 for a 9 oz rifle sling, suede lined and stitched. Don't know for sure, but I didn't see him sell any of the 20+ he had there.

Yep, pretty much my experience.  Everyone wants that "handmade" price they see on Ebay.

YinTx

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Hey @YinTx  Don't forget all of those "handmade" and "hand tooled" items that are spread across Etsy and every other Marketplace like that.  I have a shop on Etsy and I frequently get contacted regarding why my pricing for the "same item" is more than "Joe So & So"?  I have to explain to them that first of all, I don't have or make the same thing as "Joe So & So" nor anybody else; and the second thing I point out is that I cut each piece of leather I use on everything I make and then do all of the work by hand whereas "Joe So & So" and his buddies (the vast majority of the other sellers) purchase their items as kits from a supplier or have someone else make them for them and then they put their name on it and that the vast majority of the items made by others are not really made by hand.  I end many of the conversations with the statement, "just because someone touched the leather doesn't mean that the finished product is handmade, it is just manhandled."  

Bottom line, if you want that "handmade" eBay, Walmart, Etsy Kit Crafter, or other "bargain basement" price then go ahead and buy it from one of those sources but don't expect me to come down to their valueless level because it ain't happening; I make items that will last you for decades and even a lifetime, not some garbage that is intended to be replaced within the next 6 to 12 months (and that is if you are lucky).

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7 minutes ago, NVLeatherWorx said:

Bottom line, if you want that "handmade" eBay, Walmart, Etsy Kit Crafter, or other "bargain basement" price then go ahead and buy it from one of those sources

Spot on.

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20 minutes ago, NVLeatherWorx said:

"bargain basement" price then go ahead and buy it from one of those sources but don't expect me to come down to their valueless level because it ain't happening;

Agreed, but sadly that still leaves the "big fella" in Jeff's story holding the bag (of low priced high quality slings that he can't sell).

YinTx

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Just now, YinTx said:

Agreed, but sadly that still leaves the "big fella" in Jeff's story holding the bag (of low priced high quality slings that he can't sell).

YinTx

That is true but then he probably needs to start looking at some of these shows a bit deeper to see what, and who, is out there trying to peddle their low quality junk and then find an alternative venue.  I do this all the time if I find a show that I am interested in the first thing I will do is visit it and spend some time walking around the entire thing to see what is out there on the "sales floor" and then talk with some of the other vendors to get an idea of what their processes are and all that stuff.  If I find that the event is actually more inclined to gather the low-end seller community I move on and continue my search.  This has worked very well for me as so far, for the past 8 years now, I am the ONLY leather craftsman that is in the shows I participate in and some of these shows have upwards of 200 vendors.  I participate in shows that cover the entire Northern half of Nevada as well as some out of State shows that are in close proximity to my region.  I can tell you that there are several leather workers in my area but none of them "come out to play" and it is because they admit that they just don't put the time into their craft to be good enough with their skills to sell in person.  I know some of them have Etsy shops or sell on eBay but they often tell me that they are having a difficult time getting sales even when they drop their prices; they basically chalk it up to their unpracticed skills and end up giving their things away as gifts to friends and family.  I even have one of them who actually purchases his personal use goods from me instead of making them himself even though he has a small shop in one of the retail centers in Reno; don't that beat all!?

Bottom line is that you will not be successful if you are trying to compete with other "makers" or sellers of similar items that are just trying to get a little spending cash back on their materials; if you are trying sell serious you need to be in a serious venue/event/show and you need to sell your product for its value and merit.  We have all fallen victim to it at one time or another but we learned from it that we need to change our "environment" if we want to succeed and that is exactly what the "big fella" in Jeff's story needs to do if he wants to sell some of his wares.  I don't compete with other makers/sellers/craftsman because I am not them nor like them and none of us are the same as another and I darn sure don't compete with the likes of eBay, Walmart, and every other low-priced low-quality no value merchandise or the seller of such items; I am a business with all of the things that go with it and I know that what I make is quality because I have been making and selling custom pieces since 1978 and have customers around the globe that have never had to contact me with an issue yet, guess something is going right somewhere.  And yes, I get to converse with one or two every now and then just to let them know that I am still around and if they need anything just holler.  I don't make my bills and everything else on Etsy because that market is just flooded with sub-standard junk of all kinds and there are so many leather goods pedlars that make the same stuff as the other guy with a large number of them actually just finishing kits purchased from Tandy and calling it handmade and explaining all the work they put into the design and blah blah blah; have to laugh every time I run across one of them and it seems that there are at least 3 to 5 new "craftsmen" every day that fall into this category of skill level.  I just have my shop out there for those who are serious about quality leather to be able to get in touch with me and have something special made.

I spend a large amount of time teaching the craft and trade of leather work with the emphasis on the intricate skills and techniques required for detailed carved & tooled designs; which you have become very good at if I you don't mind my saying so.  It is listed as you interest in your profile and I must say that you are achieving it quite well.  Always love to see what you and others are working on and how you have all come along over the time since joining these forums and your successes are what makes the guys like me who have been lucky enough to be doing this as long as I have feel good about the future of this craft and trade.

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This guy's stuff wasn't the cheap crap you sometimes see.  Just basket weave with a name stamped, so not "intricate" or what i would call "tooled", but still solid leather and nice looking - don't doubt it would last for YEARS.  Buy this today, your grandchildren will hunt with it. 

Think his name was Ed.... maybe he's around here sometimes?  He came over to raid the candy dish more than once, and I tried to get him to take more so I wouldn't eat it ALL ;)

On 1/25/2019 at 9:32 PM, NVLeatherWorx said:

I don't compete with other makers/sellers/craftsman because I am not them nor like them and none of us are the same as another and I darn sure don't compete with the likes of eBay, Walmart, and every other low-priced low-quality no value merchandise or the seller of such items

Well, actually you do.  Maybe not because YOU care to, but OTHER PEOPLE WILL compare you to all of the above.  That can be a GOOD thing (when people pick up your item and say "it aint like that cheap crap on Ebay", that's COMPARING). 

I INVITE people to compare my stuff to other stuff.  I ASK them to.  But DON'T just compare it to low priced items on (to use the most used cliches) ebay or amazon.  One of the more popular CONS these days is to price your cheap crap about 8x or 15x what it's actually worth, hoping that people will then "think" it's worth more than the "cheap" stuff with the lower price tag.  So common there's a name for it.  But then, there's a name for those boys who "date" boys too, so ... :dunno: I ask 'em to compare my stuff to ANY you find.  I'm not afraid to learn something .. SHOW ME something better, and I may buy it myself ;)

OH.. 2 recent examples of exactly this:

There's a guy in South Carolina (he says, though I didn't verify that).  Posted some pics of holsters made using my designs.  Clearly low-rent materials, and pretty obvious LACK of skills.  So, you have basement grade leather, done poorly, with a pattern given to him for free.  Priced about double what I would have charged for that holster, done right with Grade A materials.  So PUH LEEEZE compare the goods... I WELCOME it (incidentally, a guy asked him why he was passing my designs off as his own, and he claims he's never heard of me, so you can almost guess what his "warranty" is worth :rofl: ).

AND... I had a guy show me a pic of a holster on Ebay, for a model of gun I make holsters for.  Wanted to know what I "think about this one".  Well, I think it's a hustle.  I think IF that material is actually what it says, it still doesn't make up for the lack of regard put into making it.  Somebody clearly "banged out" what they called a holster and were hoping somebody would get sucked in.  Only point here --- I don't let price tell me what's good and what's not.

But this guy at the show didn't have those issues.  Nothing wrong with those slings. Not quite the way I do it, but they were solid, decent stuff.  He wasn't "competing" either, since I think my boy was the only other one with leather, and that wasn't slings. I had one in my hand.. felt it, looked it over, and I know a bit about leather myself -- and I would have priced those about 25% higher than he did.

Oh, long as i'm on the soap box....

I don't care to hear speeches about how long they've been doing it.  I DO NOT CARE if a guy made them since 1947, or if he made them since 7:00 am this morning. I'm looking for GOOD quality leather, done with GOOD skill -- folks can SAVE the stories.  If it's done WELL, I'm interested.  I've personally seen people do things for YEARS and still SUCK at it.  Not just leather either. One guy at the gym telling people what they should do, and how they should do it.. his "selling point" is that he's been doing it for 15 years.  Uh.. EXCUSE me.. if you were doing it RIGHT for 15 years, you wouldn't look like you do, and you wouldn't need to hang around gyms talking at people who don't know you!

On the other hand, I once hired a kid for our construction business who admitted he can swing a hammer straight but doesn't know a lot of stuff.  Gave the kid a shot.  I think by the time he was 3 months in I'd told the accountant give him a raise TWICE.  Wife asked why I like that kid, and I said cuz he LEARNS.  He might ask a question, but I couldnt' remember when he'd ever asked the same question twice!  And he didn't ask questions while he was being payed to do something else - which I dare say many HERE can't say.  We don't even do that any more, and last I heard that "boy" is now in his 30's and owns his own contracting business (and unlike so many, he actually DOES the work - not just "sub it out" and take a cut of the next guy's pay - meaning, he's a man - which has become rare these days).

But, I've gone on way too long.  Perhaps soon Pastor Dwight will chime in and simply say that "wisdom comes not from age .."

Edited by JLSleather

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A few years ago I decided to try selling at one of the local craft show that was supposed to be "handmade goods only". Well I paid my fee for table space and set up a couple of table to display the items I had made. The show was in early November and I had made a bunch of leather Christmas stockings alone with a few other things. After I set up I decided to take a stroll around to see what other vendors had on their tables. The more I looked the more disgusted I got, there were a few folks with truly "handmade" items but the vast majority of items being sold were the same junk you can buy at Hobby Lobby. There were a lot of people that attended the show but they weren't buying anything except the imported junk. To top it off they are bringing their kids along and letting run wild grabbing everything. They were serving food at concessions stands and kids with greasy fingers were picking up the stockings staining the leather, you think their parents said anything??? Take a guess.

I thought maybe it was just me so I stopped by a couple of other table that had real hand made items and asked how they were doing. They were experiencing the same issues. It was supposed to be a two day show but after the first day I decided my time was worth more than sitting there all day just to barely cover the cost of the space. You would think I learned my lesson but no I was dumb and tried one for "craft Show" the second wasn't much different so I never bothered to try it again.

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45 minutes ago, Ed in Tx said:

kids with greasy fingers were picking up the stockings staining the leather, you think their parents

That's always standard ;) We used to take key fobs.. just a piece riveted to a key ring with a 3d stamp on it - dyed for the kids.  Some eagles, horse heads, monogram letters... and we just pass em out.  The kids are tickled pink, and there's no mustard on our leather!

This time I was late to the game, late even signing up.  I did find at least SOME of those 3d stamps, but don't know where the die is for the fobs, or if I even have the rings ... but we took couple BIG bowls of individually wrapped candy, so me 'n' the kids were fine.

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What makes a plastic  LV bag that may have taken 10 min to put together o and 5 dollars in material worth 6 or 8 hundred dollars some bags are thousands made in minutes.?

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21 hours ago, Samalan said:

What makes a plastic  LV bag that may have taken 10 min to put together o and 5 dollars in material worth 6 or 8 hundred dollars some bags are thousands made in minutes.?

Hype and ignorance. 

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Unfortunately that logo means a lot.  I have seen women lose their ever loving mind over a name brand wallet or purse.  Usually not that well made.

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1 hour ago, JLSleather said:

Hype and ignorance.

To a great extent I agree, but I do call out Hermes, of Paris. I have only seen stunningly well worked leather on their branded goods, but they were originally (and may still be) saddlers. Don't even look at their prices.

H

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11 minutes ago, hwinbermuda said:

To a great extent I agree, but I do call out Hermes, o

I'm not referring to any particular name -- I'm talking about any item where the material and/or the workmanship is not good.  I have seen some companies making great products, then get a reputation for great products, then start pumping out 'commercial grade' stuff and relying on that reputation to carry them.  Sometimes it worked .. largely owing to some people's fear of not being like everyone else.  

1 hour ago, Hildebrand said:

I have seen women lose their ever loving mind over a name brand

Yeah,  BILLIONS of dollars spent every year on face paint and hair dye.  And the vast majority of stores I've been in present women's "stuff" first thing.  But not just women.  I've been suckered into buying Nike shoes when the New Balance were clearly better.  I've gone to movies that were not even close to the quality I was told they would be.  And I've downloaded videos that I suspected were going to be just more marketing poo, and often found out I was right. 

BUT HEY, you don't know what you don't know, right?@!  When you buy it a SECOND TIME, then it's certainly on you.  First time maybe you didn't know.  But at a show, or rodeo, whatever .. you're standing there with it in  your hand.  Not much excuse for buying poor quality.  There WILL be some who want to buy the name just because their friends have that one. They got me with that lame approach.  In my defense, I was like 15 ...

 

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50 minutes ago, JLSleather said:

I'm not referring to any particular name

Sorry, my bad, thought I'd quoted the original LV by Samalan, but pulled down the wrong quote, please accept my apologies.

Harry

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4 hours ago, JLSleather said:

Hype and ignorance. 

That's it !

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I don't think anyone is surprised by the stories and frustrations, but it does help to "commiserate" occasionally.  Similar stories are almost universally told by artists of every genre.  Every day, we have unavoidable occasions to question whether we love the art, more than we hate the business.

Ok, ok, let's just admit it- (in jest, of course)

We all suffer from a mental illness, clearly resulting in self destructive behavior. After all, who in their right mind would keep going when everything empirical seems to fall on the wrong side of the scale?

We might as well just "own it". ;)

 

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On 2/5/2019 at 11:06 AM, Hildebrand said:

Unfortunately that logo means a lot.  I have seen women lose their ever loving mind over a name brand wallet or purse.  Usually not that well made.

I installed a wall safe for a woman that only used it to store designer clutch purses. She never carried them and bragged about their rarity. They all looked like the plain black clutch kit sold on leather crafting sites except each had a different emblem or logo. It was all fun and games til I pointed out a Prada clutch of hers that had a slightly misaligned emblem and reeked of old hot glue. The certificate it came with looked like it was worth more than the imitation purse she clearly over paid for. I guess the way to get top dollar is to make up some fancy name and print limited edition numbered certificates for each piece.

Edited by CelticPrint

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Well, it happens every day.  Which is why I tell people SKIP the pretty stories and actually LOOK at what it being offered. COMPARE it to others of the same type.  If the emporor's clothes aren't REALLY better than some other, then just walk away.  

Some folks been doing that kind of HUSTLE for so long that they assume everybody ELSE is doing it too.  Some folks' mind so polluted they assume everybody is up to the same lame crap that they are. 

Problem is, SO MANY people get so used to finding out that the stuff with the pretty stories is CRAP that they begin to assume that EVERYTHING is crap, so no sense paying much for any of it.  So then there sits Ed.. with his slings ... through no fault of his own.

 

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May I join in?

Here in N.I. 'Game of Thrones' has been a big employer for about 10 years. Its also flooded the market with 'medieval' leather goods - items supplied to the extras on the movies, they get several new issues during the filming, so they sell off their 'old' stuff.

Problem is, those 'medieval' style leather items from GoT are fantasy designs. I used to make leather goods for the local re-enactors. I have a library full of books written by archaeologists and museums. The items I made were made according to actual period finds - but, more and more, people started telling me my stuff was historically wrong as it was so different to the 'Game of Thrones' items - people insisted that GoT was historically correct and I was wrong, even after I showed them the find example in a museum publication. It wasn't just the style and designs, it was in the quality of the leather, the way the items are sewn together. People would rather believe that medieval people could not make nice looking, robust and well put together leather goods. The buyers of GoT items would rather pay 4x for a 'correct' piece than my modest price for a better constructed item.

I stopped doing the 'medieval' fairs and such after a bit too much of this

thank you ~ rant mode off

Edited by fredk

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4 hours ago, CelticPrint said:

pointed out a Prada clutch of hers that had a slightly misaligned emblem and reeked of old hot glue.

Ouch.

2 hours ago, JLSleather said:

So then there sits Ed.. with his slings ... through no fault of his own

Our only fault is not following suit with the world, and producing the same sellable stuff that's on the shelf. I can't make myself do it, so that's a fault.  Results in fewer sales.

2 hours ago, fredk said:

The buyers of GoT items would rather pay 4x for a 'correct' piece than my modest price for a better constructed item.

:Holysheep:

YinTx

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6 hours ago, YinTx said:

Our only fault is not following suit with the world,

Well, maybe not the only fault :blush:

The wife says "you can't just make what you like".  She is wrong, of course - she's been saying that for a long time.  But I not only make what I like, I do not make what I don't like.  Generally don't even "hang with" people who make what I don't like.  I could list some of the things I have not made and will not make, but .. what point?

I have known people who actually paid money for a "pet rock".  But then I knew other people who bought that same thing simply because other people did.  They themselves would likely never admit that the only reason they did is fear of not being "like everybody else".  The first one is not being smart - the second is worse.  

Never did understand that "used car salesman" mentality - you know, somebody saying stuff they know is crap, to somebody else who also knows it's just crap, yet both continue to do it ?@!  I still remember that time I was talking to somebody... and they used "hashtag" in a sentence.  Don't remember what it was.. something like "hashtag I'm a susceptible idiot" probably ... but anyway I just turned and walked away.  Not sure how far I got before it dawned on him that I had left.  He was so involved in "everybody" saying "hashtag"-something, that he assumed I was part of the "everybody" and it would be somehow endearing to use that -well - crap.  Just walked off and left him standing there ...

But Ed was a decent guy. With decent stuff.  He clearly liked making them.  Told me a story about that "old boy" who taught him how to make leather stuff.  If he did the show down this way, I'd be willing to meet him for lunch.  But I could do that without doing the shows.  Better use of my time to let the folks who do that pass out my card, give em a cut.

 

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5 hours ago, JLSleather said:

I have known people who actually paid money for a "pet rock". 

Years ago a friend of mine cleared a load of display boxes from a cancelled order. The boxes were about 6" square base by 10" tall with clear panels on three sides. His selling was, 'quality display box with Free Invisible Man' £xx - he sold the lot, about 250, at just a few craft-fairs. - I kid you not, this is true. It was about the same time the pet rock was the rage

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