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Everything posted by CollinsMS

  1. Johanna I'm not fighting with you or trying to fight. I have been reading peoples posts about marketing and a lot of discussion about Etsy. After reading all the posts it became apparent that not everyone understands how people drive business to their web site or to their Etsy or ebay site. This post was informational only. If someone want's to post something on my site and send traffic back here then everyone is the winner and I welcome it. The internet is a global marketplace, if someone doesn't know how to drive traffic to your or my little part of the Internet then we are not found by customers. Last night I had a meeting with my insurance agent. He plays guitar and want's a new guitar strap. He said he has been searching all over the net looking for a good hand tooled strap. He was trying to talk me into making him one. I told him I was to busy but I said if you go out to leatherworker.net there is several people that can help you. He asked what that site was. I told him it was a forum. He asked what is a forum?? THIS IS NOT A DIG!!!! He is Joe customer, joe customer has no idea what a forum is. I am making this my last post. Apparently anything I say or do is going to be taken as I am trying to disrupt the leatherworker.net community. I play political games all day long every day and have no desire to play them here. Good Luck to everyone. Johanna please remove my account from this site.
  2. I am going to give you some information that will be considered highly controversial. What I am going to tell you happens every day and is widely practiced by marketing companies that tailor to small business. I am not looking for business even though I do this type of work, and what I am going to tell you is almost considered a secret in my industry and my fellow workers would kill me for telling you this. It doesn't matter were your selling your product. What matters is that you realize you are selling to the world. When you place an item for sale on the Internet your no longer in a defined area of the country, you are literally selling to the world. Everyone knows about ebay but not about you and your product. Ebay listings are so huge it may take a buyer all night to look at every listing for lets say a holster. Most people will do the best they can and use some key words when they want to buy a leather holster. They will then look through a few pages and then either give up or buy the first thing that is close to what they want. If you own your own web site this process is even worse. Now you have to rely on the search engines and hope they send a person your direction. If you don't know how to manipulate the search engines no one will find you. So here is how small and even some medium sized business work. Lets say I am ABC company and I produce leather goods. However in the last month my Ruger holster sales have dropped. I want to promote that product on the internet. So I go out and hire Jane Marketing expert. She finds out about the details of my holster. She then goes to work promoting. What Jane does is very controversial. She finds every forum related to shooting, SASS, Ruger, Cowboy Action, Reenactments, and others. She creates an account on every forum, this could be 100 forums. (( There is a forum for everything )) She then starts posting comments to conversations already going on the forum. Someone may say I like XYZ Ruger holster. She will post back saying XYZ is ok but I just purchased a holster from ABC and it is much better. Now she just made a bunch of people mad. However at the bottom of her post she puts a tag line. I just purchased my ABC holster from: www.website.com. Next thing you know ABC company starts seeing their web hits go through the roof. Everyone wants to see the ABC holster even if they posted they like XYZ. So the ABC company is happy now their web site is being viewed, and their holster sales are up. Jane is happy because she just made a chunk of money and the client is happy with her work. It's possible to generate an extra 100 or more web site hits a day. Over a week the hits will drop off but their is always a forum member who has not checked in for a week or more, then the process starts all over again. Now many of you are going to say that this practice is underhanded and should not be allowed..... It is marketing, period.. In the marketing world just about anything goes. The reason Jane is in business is it may take 2 -5 days to promote an item. As the manufacture you don't have time to spend 2-5 days marketing your item. All forums have this happen. I have seen it on this forum and I chuckle when I see it. The only reason I am telling you this is because I am a 3rd generation leather worker. I don't sell my items because I am busy in the Internet world. I am also telling you this because mt last post about a Leather Consortium came with a lot of opposition. I am trying to help a group of people that I believe struggles with the import market and should know what they are up against. Thanks Mark http://www.theleathercraftsman.com/catalog.html
  3. Well after receiving many emails and PM's on the board I have thought about what almost every person has said. Johanna you have a space for people to sell items and if I have a place were people can sell they just doubled their chances of selling an item. It doesn't mean they have to walk away from the leatherworker.net it just means they doubled their chance of connecting with a consumer. So for the board members that think I am trying to destroy your environment I'm not and it is your choice what you want to use or if you want to avoid me all together. The members that want to increase their sales potential can post on a second site, I only see this as helping people not hurting them. That is all I ever wanted to do was help out the person trying to make a living. I have been asked what my business plan is. There is none, my web site is a skill building environment I use to keep up my knowledge of web design and how to make Google, Yahoo, MSN and AOL find my web site. That is called SEO (Search Engine Optimization), if I were to guess this site has cost me $3,000.00 over the last year. I probably have 400 or more hours in the last year in development time. All of that is free to you if you want it. If your interested the new catalog address is http://www.theleathercraftsman.com/catalog.html Johanna what I have put together is just one concept. If you want to use the idea or parts of it please do so, I think it would work out well and blend into what you have built.
  4. I hope everyone is not to upset about all of this. I have received several emails with peoples concerns. I think Johanna should be given a chance to get this up and running for everyone. Sorry for causing all this trouble The leather Craftsman
  5. TwinOaks I agree with you. Johanna has a great site. We had some personal conversations today and I offered to have this post removed. I have no desire to step on any efforts she is making to improve the site or even provide services for all crafters to have a sales outlet. I think it is a great idea and wish her the best of luck. I have linked my site to this one.
  6. I have a test site operational so you can see what I am talking about. First some words then pictures. At some point it would be great to have a site that is like an ebay, but in today's economy I am not ready to put up the capital to do that elaborate of a site. Development, lawyers and accountants are all very expensive things. So here is what I will start with. You the producer will send The Leather Craftsman an email with your items. In that email you will provide: Pictures Descriptions Is this a one time item or do you make as ordered Price Estimated shipping cost would help even if you only define ground USPS. The email address you want to monitor for sales!!!!!! Don't go crazy on the description but you want it to point out what you think is important. I the operator of The Leather Craftsman will post these items in a catalog format. Items will be separated into categories. When a person finds an item they like they will fill out the purchase form on the right hand side of the screen and select the PURCHASE button. An email will be sent to you the producer the customer and to an account on my site. When I get the email I will check to make sure it is not a one of a kind item, if it is I remove it from the site. The transaction then takes place between you and the customer. You can define payment method and final shipping cost. Here is the part some have told me is crazy. I will do this for FREE to get it started, I will attempt to keep it free until end of year 2008. Your asking why????? Well I have been through more than one business. Some very successful and a flop or two. This is a new concept, something I can not find on the Net, not organized the way I think it should be. If this is successful and you are all making money and items are selling good then you may want to consider sending something to The Leather Craftsman so i can continue to develop the site. I will be evaluating the process all the time. Give suggestions I am more than happy to take them, I just may not be able to do them quickly. Not to be mean or to sound selective but I will review the items your listing. If they are questionable in quality I will email you and have a discussion about them. I want to offer everything possible. Speaking of offerings, this is not necessarily limited to leather items. I have seen some great knifes on this site, one person who does rope harness lead lines and other rope items. I am open to other items, send me an email and we can talk about it. The web code is basically ready ------ The Leather Craftsman Catalog I hope you like it
  7. Very different for you but wow looks great. I agree the color is great. I also agree that it may have looked better without the rivets. 2 thumbs up
  8. You have all overwhelmed me a little. I am trying to take all this in. There has been many ideas put on the post and there has been some email exchanges. Keep the ideas coming. I will be posting more info as I sift through it. The ideas of many will fuel this fire. Thanks Mark
  9. Sorry not sure what happened to the link. It works now. I would like to find out who and how many are interested and then as a group we can work out the details. I don't mind doing the organizing, web work and search engine optimization and I am not looking for some big percentage. I am looking for a way to get quality products to the consumer with the dream that some day Cabelas is nocking on our door. Ok so I dream big, my wife has to remind me all the time to start with a smaller dream. Thanks Mark The Leathercraftsman
  10. I have been thinking about this for some time now. Maybe this idea is not even an original but I will pitch it anyway. There are many talented leather producers that post on this site. Some of you already have businesses both on the net and in a store front. Some of you produce leather goods for friends and family and some just because you like it. Any way you look at it there is a lot of leather goods produced by many talented people. The people with a business I am sure have items that for whatever reason have not sold or maybe have what could be considered as seconds, still a nice product but not up to your normal standards. Others may have items that they have made and the item is sitting on a shelf or your not sure what to do with it, it was fun making it but now what. Any way you look at it an individual can not establish a name or a popularity of a Hunter or Oklahoma Leather. Yes I know that as a craftsman you don't want to be compared to a mass producer. You do have goods and services you want to sell and getting yourself in the top Google search list is a job all it's own. I live in two distinct worlds. I love leather working, the art and usability of the products produced. I do some leather work myself but everything I do is for myself due to my actual job. My job is Information Systems for a 4 billion dollar distribution company. I have a good understanding of the Internet, web sites construction and SEO (Search Engine Optimization). SEO is how your customer finds you, it is what put's you on page one of a Goggle search. I constantly work on my web site to increase the number of times it makes page one of a Google search (the page started as a hobby). In doing so I now have people asking for products and I have none to offer. People have asked for everything from typical cowboy gun rigs and saddles to saddle bags for a bicycle. I would like to gather a group talented people that I can advertise your product and charge nothing unless a sale is made. If you have extra stock your trying to move those items could be listed as a BUY IT NOW. Times are hard in todays world and I fear they will get worse before they get better. Why not use outlets other than your own to sell your product especially if it costs nothing unless a sale is made. Please respond to this post and let me know your thoughts. This is only a rough outline of an idea. Details would have to be worked out. Thanks Mark The Leathercraftsman web site
  11. Thanks Hilly, I thought it was a fun character. Thought I would get more comments???
  12. This is my favorite type of leather work it is all based on what your own eye sees. In the past I always used nothing but leather stain, this time I mixed in some acrylic paint. Hope you like it, but I am also always open to comments. That is what this site is all about.
  13. I don't know anything about the stamp other than I like it. Good job.
  14. Looks great, a lot of work to hold pencils.
  15. I think you did a great job on the straight and accurate lines and keeping it symmetrical. They look good, the colors work good for acrylics. Maybe it is just the lighting but how did you get that bumpy looking background? I am amazed at the number of clients you have that use these. Very cool.
  16. Love them all but I agree with Sodapop something about the leafy one that stands out from the rest for me.
  17. Looks good, the colors are great.
  18. I love them. They are both great. The card player is very cool.
  19. CollinsMS

    Tried a skull

    Well I guess I didn't show you the whole thing. Thanks for the support.
  20. CollinsMS

    Tried a skull

    Thanks Tom, I think your giving it more credit than it deserves.
  21. CollinsMS

    Tried a skull

    Gave it a good try, learned a lot.
  22. That is great work. You should be very proud of yourself. You have every reason to ride tall in that saddle.
  23. I like the way you gave the top of the holster and the snap keeper a good clean look. Good job, hope it was a good watch.
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