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Beginner looking for marketing advice.

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I'm not so much a beginner in leatherwork itself. But i am a newb on selling handmade leather goods. I'm looking for advice as to how to start a buisness. I tried selling on etsy and it went ok but it wasn't really a buisness.


Does anyone have any ideas on where i could start? There is this farmers market every saturday in my city and i was thinking I could try selling there. Im open to any ideas whether it be online or out in the real world. 

What worked for you?

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These are some very broad questions with no simple answers.

During my 43 years in the leather business my specialty was firearms-related products (holsters, belts, accessories). Even within that limited field there is tremendous variety (western, competition, concealed carry, law enforcement, etc). I have completely lost track of how many folks who, upon learning that I did leather work, wanted shoes repaired, automobile upholstery work, motorcycle apparel, saddlery or tack, doggy collars, even a little S&M stuff.

There are many talented leather workers who are interested in nothing more than a personal hobby. There are many whose focus is on producing for others as a means of perpetuating their hobby. Then there are those who actually make a business (full time or part time) of leather work. Some produce products that are utilitarian or simply functional, and others produce artistic master pieces with leather as the medium.

Identifying your market niche should be the first consideration. What types of products do you make that people actually want to purchase? Where are those potential customers likely to be found? In what price range will your products be competing for customers?

You may find that displaying completed products at the farmers market, fairs, gun shows, or other venues will generate sufficient sales to justify the time, effort, and investment. You may also find that all you accomplish is standing around for hours while engaging in endless discussions or question & answer sessions.

What worked for me was on-line marketing. Putting up a website is easy enough to do and quite inexpensive, especially when compared to brick & mortar stores or space rental at markets or fairs. The key to success is finding ways to drive traffic to your website. Social media (Facebook and others) and internet forums (sites for those of a shared interest to discuss specifics) can be good ways to get other people talking about you and your products, pushing traffic to your website. From that point onward potential customers will be telling you what they like, what they dislike, what they want to purchase, and how much they are willing to pay for specific items. This will allow you to expand or narrow your product line to meet actual demand, and to set prices at levels other people will want to pay (as opposed to making what you like, expecting everyone to want what you like, and pricing based upon wishful thinking).

Until you have established a level of business that will support your lifestyle, I strongly recommend that you keep the day job!

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