JazzBass

The Business of Leather

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Not sure if this has been addressed, and maybe I just missed it within all the sub-categories, but I don't see a forum on how to get into and run a business based on leathercrafting.

As a 1 year amateur who might like to work professionally in the future, tips and pointers about starting a leather business, marketing/advertising, required systems for orders/customers, etc. would be quite helpful.

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There is an abundance of information that has been posted over the years under the topics of Marketing and Advertising that should help you get going on this.  It may take you a bit to find everything you are looking for as there are thousands of posts out in there but that would be the go to place here for that.

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Thanks, Richard. I don't mind "digging"...the search tool has often helped as well.

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Also, check out the blog pages on Don Gonzales's website. He has some great stuff including free PDF print outs for costing out shop rates. Really great stuff.

And then watch some of the craft show videos from wortheffort.com. His marketing strategy for crowd working is really thought out well.

Edited by bikermutt07

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Thanks, Bikermutt :)

Yes - costing things out was one of my questions. I know what the leather costs, but then there's all the "smalls" like dye, thread, finishes, etc.

Edited by JazzBass

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Dont forget the selling costs, it's easy to add up the costs of leather dye and time etc, but, and a big but, selling your products takes a massive amount of time, and that sort of time, is very hard to break down, be it running e=commerce, or driving two hours to visit the bank or accountant, all take actual leatherworking time out of what's available to make things

With e-commerce Search engine optimisation is a constant hurdle taking up great amounts of time just on the hope that what you are doing is going to improve your clicks per day/ month

It's also very easy to get depressed when you consider all the hours you could have spent on the bench rather than admin

 

Have a great Christmas and very wealthy new year 

Edited by chrisash

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46 minutes ago, chrisash said:

Dont forget the selling costs, it's easy to add up the costs of leather dye and time etc, but, and a big but, selling your products takes a massive amount of time, and that sort of time, is very hard to break down, be it running e=commerce, or driving two hours to visit the bank or accountant, all take actual leatherworking time out of what's available to make things

With e-commerce Search engine optimisation is a constant hurdle taking up great amounts of time just on the hope that what you are doing is going to improve your clicks per day/ month

It's also very easy to get depressed when you consider all the hours you could have spent on the bench rather than admin

 

Have a great Christmas and very wealthy new year 

Indeed. Serious hurdles, to be sure.

Funny...I thought that I was just a "hobbyist" until 2 things happened - First was a limit on what I could spend. (no surprise there), but the second was showing things I made to friends, and having them ask me to make something (whether the same, or something unique) for them. Currently, I'm hoping for enough to keep me always working on varied projects, and maybe come out on the plus side, if I don't spend it all on new tools! LOL.

Thanks for the insight.

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Businesses are a money eating machine,it will take a lot of money making machines to feed it , its a very difficult circle! . sorry but its all about the money IMHO.

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On 1/2/2019 at 12:12 PM, Samalan said:

Businesses are a money eating machine,it will take a lot of money making machines to feed it , its a very difficult circle! . sorry but its all about the money IMHO.

I certainly agree about the first part of your statement, but must take some small issue with the second.
If it were "all about the money", we would do something else - I've said this about the music business countless times, and live it day by day...but you are still, unfortunately, correct. When you make something a "business", then it is the bottom line on the balance sheet that determines whether it is a success or a failure.

It's clearly the reason that currently, I hope to simply "pay for my education" regarding the craft, which would hopefully give the option (along with the proper perspective), to decide whether or not try to make it a business. 

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15 hours ago, JazzBass said:

I certainly agree about the first part of your statement, but must take some small issue with the second.
If it were "all about the money", we would do something else - I've said this about the music business countless times, and live it day by day...but you are still, unfortunately, correct. When you make something a "business", then it is the bottom line on the balance sheet that determines whether it is a success or a failure.

It's clearly the reason that currently, I hope to simply "pay for my education" regarding the craft, which would hopefully give the option (along with the proper perspective), to decide whether or not try to make it a business. 

You are right Christopher go for it .

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The main problem, as I see it, is you have to stand out from the competition in some clear way, It's easy to cast the far east products as rubbish but in fact, many are well made and sold at prices that reflect the low labor costs in that area, to break that, you need marketing to show the world your product is better or perceived to be better, many of the top fashion houses make the same old items year after year which are quality made but questionable if they are really worth 20 or 50 times over what some experts that show on this forum could reasonably get

You need to find a niche that you are comfortable with and do it well, but i expect the largest untapped area may be in tooling where skill and design still leave a open playing field

Anyone can have a hobby and fool themselves they have a business, but to make it a real business you have to have enough work to pay all the bills and be able to have holidays and a bit but away for future changes you may need to make to stay competitive

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Leather seems to be like what we always said in aviation, "you can make a small fortune in aviation, if you start with large fortune". I look at what I make per hour in leatherwork, and compare that to the $100 dollars an hour I get for keeping my hand in my previous work, and it doesn't make business sense, so I'd better enjoy it!

I do it MOSTLY because I enjoy it. If it only pays for itself, it's a win for me, as I've recently retired, and am trying to keep from tapping into Soc. Sec. and my retirement funds. So far, so good.

Jeff

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