Yes, it's a salacious title but how else can one get eyeballs diverted from the ass grabbing "Show Off" section? Be that as it may, if you have made it this far then perhaps you're a thinking person. Welcome.
The following is a rant about the state of the leather working craft industry. In my opinion, it's an appalling state of affairs. Please weigh in with your thoughts.
The other thing that I seem to be the only one who gets this, which means the only one to think about and be pissed off about, concerned about it, would like to do something about it.
And that my fellow leatherwokring compadres is that our industry is the red headed step child of all the crafts and it's shrinking .
It pains me that the craft I love so much is represented by a company as clueless and as incompetent as Tandy is. I'm specifically referring to their abdication of responsibility as the defacto industry leader. Self interest alone should be motivation enough to take a leadership position in our micro market. But honestly, in the fourteen years I've been working with leather, I cannot think of one single innovative anything that has come out of the Tandy camp. They are the industry leader, but they do nothing to advance the craft. Just the same old boring crap, frozen in time....1964.
By my estimates, our micro craft market here in the US is around $300M year in revenue. That includes all the retailers and the micro tanneries who cater to us and all the handmade goods we make and some of us sell.
You may not know this since Tandy looms large in our minds as the largest retailer in our micro industry, but Tandy is a tiny company at $83M in revenue. To put that in perspective, the average new car dealership in the United States does about $40M in sales per year. A car lot, for Pete's sakes, is half the size of Tandy. Wrap your mind around that for a moment.
In contrast, The total US crafting industry which we are a part of is...drum roll... a whopping $50 BILLION industry. F I F T Y B I L L I O N U N I T E D S T A T E S D O L L A R S. Are you familiar with the Scrapbooking craft, that frivolous fluffy stationary craft that glues various items to stationary to decorate scrapbooks? That goofy craft is a $1.5 Billion market and that is down from its height of $2.5 Billion a decade ago. But leathercraft can only command $250M?
Our craft is a useful craft. We actually make stuff that is useful and has purpose, and yet we weigh in at just one sixth the size of a useless, whimsical craft like Scrapbooking? How in the hell is that even remotely possible? And while the US crafting industry is growing and forecasted to continue growing, leathercraft is forecasted to contract 5-10% in the mid- term.
Who, I ask you, is minding the ship here?