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cseeger

This Art Form Is Going Straight To Hell

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Right, I'm off . . . 

1. Johanna's way in her Tandy shop is the way Warhammer shops work now. From 0 table top wargaming players in N.I. in the late 1990s to about 20 groups (estimated at 1200 - 1500 players) now, not all using Warhammer products.

2. Tandy never had a presence in  N.I. / Ireland. Nearest was in England and until just a few years before they closed down they refused to do postal delivery to N.I. One branch changed staff a lot and whilst I found one set decent the others were only interested in chalking up sales, they had no knowledge of the products they sold.

3. the OP opening is a rant against Tandy not specifically about the 'art' of leatherwork. Tandy is not the only leather goods supplier out there, as we all know already. Other companies are doing what they do, afair Le Prevo (England) attends 'medieval' fairs to sell leather goods. They go to sell but by having a presence they promote interest in leather working

4. Its naive to believe only one country can produce quality tools. eg Snap-on mechanics tools are all made in USA but they have a poor reputation in N.I.. I spoke to a professional mechanic about Snap-on tools and their life-time guarantee and instant replacement. He told me and showed me tools which were twisted and broken, he said the tools were 'soft' and not fit to use, they broke so often that Snap-on has to replace them. This mechanic now uses a top name of tool, also with the life-time guarantee and replacement, they are made in Taiwan. He's not had a breakage due to poor materials

5. This 'art form going to hell' is because despite our efforts the general public people out there no longer recognise it as such. They are happy to buy a cheap handbag of plasticky 'leather' from Tesco/ASDA/Walmart at £10/$10 than pay £30 for a true leather one.

So what are we going to do about it?

As we are from all over the world so our markets are so very different

I read and look at the most excellent holsters on here, but thats not my market. Only two groups here use firearms; the police and terrorists. The police have to use the government issue holster and the terrorists don't bother using one. I haven't sold a belt in years. People would rather pay £3 for a PVC one from the local Tesco/ASDA/Walmart

I'm in a special group which promotes Crafters of N.I. within and without N.I. Despite my approaches they won't recognise leather work as a 'craft'.   Its far too long to explain here. Its the same with both certain bodies which promote and set up craft/farmers markets and the insurance companies

6. This 'art form. . . .' ~~ whilst in certain countries the Sheridan or Western style of carving is still wanted, outside of 'medieval' groups no-one wants viking or Celtic lace stamping. My society is very divided.; whilst some will buy Celtic lace others won't touch it with the proverbial barge pole. The 'art work' of stamping and tooling needs brought into the 21st century

7. Its up to leather workers everywhere to advance the qualities of leather and leather work. Its up to us. No one is going to do it for us. Just because a Tandy branch closes we cannot cry,. 'oh they're not promoting leatherwork in my area'   

What are you and I going to do about it.? With Covid 19 restricting and altering my plans for 2020 I have the rest of this year to formulate my plans of attack for the 2021 season, and those plans are being worked out

Are there groups out there you can do some demo or teaching classes to? I tried it a few years ago, it didn't work out, but maybe a different type of demo might. I used to get lots of people standing watching when I made a small purse at 'medieval' events. At fairs I had two Oppos who minded the stall whilst I sat and sewed or made something, that drew a small crowd. Maybe the same in your area, get an Oppo to help out on the stall, do a 'demo' make at that farmers market next Saturday. Whilst show casing your work it also leads to interest of doing from others, especially if you put together some easy to make kits

 

*waffle mode off*

Edited by fredk

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On 2/14/2020 at 4:53 PM, terrymac said:

I am going to take a different track on this one.  I am noticing improvements in Tandy sin e the new CEO has taken over. I think she is really trying to improve product selection and especially in their pricing.  I can now go into the local store and pick up a quart of Barges for the same price as on Amazon.  With my business discount, it is actually cheaper than Amazon.  I saw where they are bringing Angelus paint into the store and have greatly expanded their Fiebings inventory. It appears their push toward their Eco Flo products is backing off. Now if they would just bring Neatlac and their top of the line leather, I would be a happy camper. I am lucky in that I can go down to the store and dig thru a pile of leather and usually find something that will work.  They aren't Barry King or Herman Oak, but at least are trying.  You can go down to the local store on a Saturday morning and see quite a few people seated around tables taking lessons.

 

I am with you on this.  While i usually buy my leather from actual tanneries, it is nice to be able to go into my local Tandy (90 miles away) and the girls that work there actually know their stuff.  They are always very helpful and since the transition within the company, have tried to always accommodate me.  They do in a pinch for the small things I need and occasionally have some pretty nice clean shoulders and double shoulders for a decent price.  Plus when i run out of pro dye, they always have it in stock.  I needed some pro black the other day and I ordered it on Thursday and they immediately UPS'd it to me and I got it the next day.  I like that.  It was awesome that they actually take pride in servicing their customers.  Now, these guys might be the exception to the rule as I have had a lot of conversations with them in the store.  They come from leather working backgrounds and their fathers and uncles are in the craft back in Mexico.  So maybe I am just lucky to have some good ones here.

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I'll only be repeating what I said earlier on this topic :

https://leatherworker.net/forum/topic/88893-this-art-form-is-going-straight-to-hell/

If only Tandy tried opening in the west and not the east of Oz , they might have had a chance. My leather supplier has a some tools supplies etc. but thats just one supplier of leather supplies....thats it.. just one  in all of  Perth WA !!! Without them, everything would come from the east.   I know there are leather crafters in Perth because I've seen their work  when I've Judged at  shows , one being  the Royal Show ( huge event here in WA) 

10 hours ago, fredk said:

Are there groups out there you can do some demo or teaching classes to? I tried it a few years ago, it didn't work out,

Same here, I have tried, but never worked out 

That'll be 10 cents now.....thank you .....COVID  surcharge   :)

HS

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12 hours ago, fredk said:

Are there groups out there you can do some demo or teaching classes to? I tried it a few years ago, it didn't work out, but maybe a different type of demo might. I used to get lots of people standing watching when I made a small purse at 'medieval' events. At fairs I had two Oppos who minded the stall whilst I sat and sewed or made something, that drew a small crowd. Maybe the same in your area, get an Oppo to help out on the stall, do a 'demo' make at that farmers market next Saturday. Whilst show casing your work it also leads to interest of doing from others, especially if you put together some easy to make kits

I’m personally not of the opinion that our art form is going away anytime soon, but this is a great approach anyway. I’ve been to a couple of the Maker Faire events and they are fantastic for all ages. Something like this would fit right in.

What’s with your crafters’ group not recognizing leatherwork though?? That’s nuts.

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28 minutes ago, Retswerb said:

I’m personally not of the opinion that our art form is going away anytime soon

I do have many people that  still do appreciate the hand made item and/or custom made  to their specs   , but I still have those that say" I can get that online for xxxx$$ "   ( cheap cheap in other words)   . Perhaps its not going "Going Straight To Hell " , but it certainly has diminished somewhat ( here in west Oz), and I do believe online shopping as attributed to that . Apart from seeing others work Judging at shows, I never see any other leather workers or their work. 

O'h well, I'll just carry on as usual, educating & promoting the craft  :) 

HS

 

 

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Great conversation indeed. Here's my take on Tandy as well as the problem. They, Tandy, are going through the exact same problem we are. Trying to compete and survive in a global market that has been taken over by China and the Mega giant internet selling agents such as Amazon and Walmart that are making TRILLIONS off of selling the world disposable crap made in China. Tandy cant do anything but resell  Chinese products or they simply cant compete and that's the bottom line. How many people could afford to buy their kids a CS Osborne  basic seven kit like Tandy used to sell ,cheaply, as  a Christmas gift for example. that's how thousands of young people got into leather work or the boy scouts with limited funding? Right now Tandy is fighting as we all are years of bad trade agreements that have created a super industrial country that uses their people like slaves. No one can compete and right now there is exactly one person on the globe in power that understands this. We all see it but refuse to believe it and why is that? Because a very few people with a lot of money at stake are doing everything monetarily possible to convince us he is wrong.  Right now I'll bet anyone form any country that's on here can go to their eBay site and find Chinese products being sold and shipped from China selling cheaper than the exact same Chinese product being sold in their country by local retailers on ebay. The problem is right in front of our faces yet we refuse to see, why , because we are doing it too. How many of us are wearing shoes right now made by a local company or a fellow leather worker here? Tandy isn't the problem.

One recent post said we spent the first part of the thread saying people were stupid. People have had the exact same brain capacity for thousands of years so no more or less stupid than any other generation of people! What is different is what we have been taught or how we have been taught to use our grey matter. Universities used to be called schools of higher learning for a reason. They taught a person skills that could be used to better them selves personally no mater what career course they took in life afterwards. Now they are used to teach people how to be a good employee and a good socialist ready to do their best for the mega buck company that funded their education. When you see companies wowing you with the monetary support of your local college they aren't doing that for the personal good of the student but to fill their company with employees who can hit the floor running. Plain and simple the educational system of most of the world has been corrupted in this manner and that too is right in our faces, we go to college to get a "better job"! A better job? what is that? Its what your parents never had! lol What  load of crap we are being served and we eat it up and send our children to those schools so they are taught to eat it up too.

As far as a craft every craft is taking the hit. Its no longer cheaper to make your own than buy it and that's where crafts started, people making their own clothes, food, shoes, quilts, whatever. I can t make my own jelly for example cheaper than i can buy it why because i have to buy the jars, canning lids, sugar, pectin. All these items have been priced up to sell to the public by the same companies that sell the Jelly they have "DEALS" with the makers of those items or own them outright. Same with leather crafts.

So what is the solution? That's very complex but i would add to the solution by saying  Buy locally and from small business, Buy quality, Get involved with your community and create diversity in your areas you don't have to teach someone personally u tube shows us that but you do have to instill the "want to" in a generation that is being mis-led by their cell phones.  Attack bad laws that hamper the small business man. Right now I'm setting in Wyoming the heart of Beef country, eating beef from Mexico and buying leather from Bolivia. Why is that? Because of bad  local/ state government regulations put in place that prohibit ranchers from selling their beef to me or even to a local butcher shop. No beef sold here no tannery just that simple. But there is a Walmart and I can order from Amazon lo. Wouldn't it be cool if my, or your, local Tandy could buy tools from local tool companies and local tanneries and still be competitive with CHINA.

 

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58 minutes ago, chuck123wapati said:

Great conversation indeed. Here's my take on Tandy as well as the problem. They, Tandy, are going through the exact same problem we are. Trying to compete and survive in a global market that has been taken over by China and the Mega giant internet selling agents such as Amazon and Walmart that are making TRILLIONS off of selling the world disposable crap made in China. Tandy cant do anything but resell  Chinese products or they simply cant compete and that's the bottom line. How many people could afford to buy their kids a CS Osborne  basic seven kit like Tandy used to sell ,cheaply, as  a Christmas gift for example. that's how thousands of young people got into leather work or the boy scouts with limited funding? Right now Tandy is fighting as we all are years of bad trade agreements that have created a super industrial country that uses their people like slaves. No one can compete and right now there is exactly one person on the globe in power that understands this. We all see it but refuse to believe it and why is that? Because a very few people with a lot of money at stake are doing everything monetarily possible to convince us he is wrong.  Right now I'll bet anyone form any country that's on here can go to their eBay site and find Chinese products being sold and shipped from China selling cheaper than the exact same Chinese product being sold in their country by local retailers on ebay. The problem is right in front of our faces yet we refuse to see, why , because we are doing it too. How many of us are wearing shoes right now made by a local company or a fellow leather worker here? Tandy isn't the problem.

One recent post said we spent the first part of the thread saying people were stupid. People have had the exact same brain capacity for thousands of years so no more or less stupid than any other generation of people! What is different is what we have been taught or how we have been taught to use our grey matter. Universities used to be called schools of higher learning for a reason. They taught a person skills that could be used to better them selves personally no mater what career course they took in life afterwards. Now they are used to teach people how to be a good employee and a good socialist ready to do their best for the mega buck company that funded their education. When you see companies wowing you with the monetary support of your local college they aren't doing that for the personal good of the student but to fill their company with employees who can hit the floor running. Plain and simple the educational system of most of the world has been corrupted in this manner and that too is right in our faces, we go to college to get a "better job"! A better job? what is that? Its what your parents never had! lol What  load of crap we are being served and we eat it up and send our children to those schools so they are taught to eat it up too.

As far as a craft every craft is taking the hit. Its no longer cheaper to make your own than buy it and that's where crafts started, people making their own clothes, food, shoes, quilts, whatever. I can t make my own jelly for example cheaper than i can buy it why because i have to buy the jars, canning lids, sugar, pectin. All these items have been priced up to sell to the public by the same companies that sell the Jelly they have "DEALS" with the makers of those items or own them outright. Same with leather crafts.

So what is the solution? That's very complex but i would add to the solution by saying  Buy locally and from small business, Buy quality, Get involved with your community and create diversity in your areas you don't have to teach someone personally u tube shows us that but you do have to instill the "want to" in a generation that is being mis-led by their cell phones.  Attack bad laws that hamper the small business man. Right now I'm setting in Wyoming the heart of Beef country, eating beef from Mexico and buying leather from Bolivia. Why is that? Because of bad  local/ state government regulations put in place that prohibit ranchers from selling their beef to me or even to a local butcher shop. No beef sold here no tannery just that simple. But there is a Walmart and I can order from Amazon lo. Wouldn't it be cool if my, or your, local Tandy could buy tools from local tool companies and local tanneries and still be competitive with CHINA.

Chuck, regarding you last point, sure, it would be nice if Tandy could source all of its tools domestically and be competitive with China, but it simply can't happen.  Not in the current environment.  Now having said that, they COULD offer a line of U.S. made tools in addition to the cheaper alternatives and at least offer a choice.  Last year I was in the market for a new pocketknife.  Like I really needed one having a drawer-full already.  But I'm one of those that thinks the proper number of knives to own is N + 1.  So anyway, I narrowed the search down to Kershaw.  And I narrowed my choice down further to a model called Dividend, which is made in the U.S.  Kershaw sells knives made in Japan China, but this particular knife is from Oregon.  I chose to pay a little more than I could have for a comparable knife because it was domestic.  My choice.  I was just happy they made that choice possible.

The thing is, some people get frustrated when a company can't be all things to all people.  Tandy will never be perfect.  Still, they are responsible for bringing more people into the field of leather work than any other company, bar none.  They may not cater to the professional in every way, but they know their audience and they cater to the beginner very well.

58 minutes ago, chuck123wapati said:

 

 

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I found this article very interesting.  It deals with running shoes, which if you haven't checked lately, cost on average around $120.00 per pair (for popular, performance-quality shoes).

https://www.solereview.com/what-does-it-cost-to-make-a-running-shoe/

I think it applies to many products , perhaps even leather working tools.

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12 minutes ago, Tugadude said:

Chuck, regarding you last point, sure, it would be nice if Tandy could source all of its tools domestically and be competitive with China, but it simply can't happen.  Not in the current environment.  Now having said that, they COULD offer a line of U.S. made tools in addition to the cheaper alternatives and at least offer a choice.  Last year I was in the market for a new pocketknife.  Like I really needed one having a drawer-full already.  But I'm one of those that thinks the proper number of knives to own is N + 1.  So anyway, I narrowed the search down to Kershaw.  And I narrowed my choice down further to a model called Dividend, which is made in the U.S.  Kershaw sells knives made in Japan China, but this particular knife is from Oregon.  I chose to pay a little more than I could have for a comparable knife because it was domestic.  My choice.  I was just happy they made that choice possible.

The thing is, some people get frustrated when a company can't be all things to all people.  Tandy will never be perfect.  Still, they are responsible for bringing more people into the field of leather work than any other company, bar none.  They may not cater to the professional in every way, but they know their audience and they cater to the beginner very well.

 

I agree completely Tug and was the fundamental intent of the first part of my comments they cant compete so have to submit to selling the same junk. Sure they could but at what point is trying to compete with American tool makers that have already a following in a very limited niche market, that being providing tools for professional use, going to be profitable. We have to see Tandy as we see ourselves. 

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Tandy DID have a line of good tools, the Craftool Pro line (not sure where they were made). I guess they weren't exactly best sellers because 2 years ago, they announced they were discontinuing the line!

Does anyone know WHY they did this? Were they not able to compete with tools like Barry King, etc.?

I've watched what's happening with the kits they sell, and they are eliminating most of the kits that require extensive tooling. So, seems to be a trend to get out of the leather tooling business. 

Really, it has me scratching my head. Maybe the current generation just wants something that's cheap and quick to put together - instant gratification!  :dunno:

 

Edited by Sheilajeanne

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25 minutes ago, Sheilajeanne said:

Tandy DID have a line of good tools, the Craftool Pro line (not sure where they were made). I guess they weren't exactly best sellers because 2 years ago, they announced they were discontinuing the line!

Does anyone know WHY they did this? Were they not able to compete with tools like Barry King, etc.?

I've watched what's happening with the kits they sell, and they are eliminating most of the kits that require extensive tooling. So, seems to be a trend to get out of the leather tooling business. 

Really, it has me scratching my head. Maybe the current generation just wants something that's cheap and quick to put together - instant gratification!

 

I'm not sure why they discontinued the Craftool Pro stamps. I think they wanted $20 each orginally (at my store, they've been marked down to $3 a piece). Maybe at the time they did not make a strong enough case that the Pro tools were better quality than the regular $6 stamps? It seems they are keeping the Pro line of other tools, (edgers, chisels) or maybe I'm mistaken.

Do you mean the boxed kits, or the small ones that come in plastic baggies? I haven't seen too much of a decrease in the baggy kits, though it would be nice if they brought back some of the older discontinued kits (but that's just me). Baggy kits can be tooled as much (or as little) as one desires. I think the acrylic template kits they sell now are overpriced for a piece of blue plastic (but I don't know much about how much it actually costs to produce something like that).

@fredk I agree that there needs to be a new, modern take on tooling other than Celtic knots and Sheridan floral, niether of which really tickle my fancy. Personally, I am not even sure where to start with tooling. Yes, I could find an image or pattern from a book or the internet that I like, but I don't know which stamps I'd need to achieve it (e.g., maybe Art Deco or Art Nouveau). I guess there's the old "trial-and-error" method...

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Alaisage, both types of kits are disappearing, and being replaced with ones that require little if any tooling. (Sorry, I can't get rid of the bold font... have tried and tried!!)

Some of the more popular kits that require fairly extensive tooling are still there, but this is an example of what I'm talking about. 5 years ago, these wallets would all have been shown with tooling on them: https://tandyleather.ca/collections/kits/kits_wallets?page=2

Edited by Northmount
fixed bold font

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37 minutes ago, Alaisiagae said:

I'm not sure why they discontinued the Craftool Pro stamps. I think they wanted $20 each orginally (at my store, they've been marked down to $3 a piece). Maybe at the time they did not make a strong enough case that the Pro tools were better quality than the regular $6 stamps? It seems they are keeping the Pro line of other tools, (edgers, chisels) or maybe I'm mistaken.

Do you mean the boxed kits, or the small ones that come in plastic baggies? I haven't seen too much of a decrease in the baggy kits, though it would be nice if they brought back some of the older discontinued kits (but that's just me). Baggy kits can be tooled as much (or as little) as one desires. I think the acrylic template kits they sell now are overpriced for a piece of blue plastic (but I don't know much about how much it actually costs to produce something like that).

@fredk I agree that there needs to be a new, modern take on tooling other than Celtic knots and Sheridan floral, niether of which really tickle my fancy. Personally, I am not even sure where to start with tooling. Yes, I could find an image or pattern from a book or the internet that I like, but I don't know which stamps I'd need to achieve it (e.g., maybe Art Deco or Art Nouveau). I guess there's the old "trial-and-error" method...

I suspect the Craftool Pro stamps were just not big sellers.  I looked at them in person and I felt they were of great quality, but I don't stamp or tool, so I'm not a customer for them.  I've purchased the Craftool Pro Diamond Stitching Irons and a Craftool Awl and Haft and they are great.  They listened too, when the irons were first introduced they had a one-tooth and then jumped to 4-tooth.  I told my local store they needed to provide a 2-tooth in order to do rounded corners more efficiently.  Apparently others suggested it too because very soon after, they introduced 2-tooth irons.  

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On 8/24/2020 at 9:44 PM, chuck123wapati said:

Buy locally and from small business, Buy quality, Get involved with your community

That rings true for me, being in a small regional town  with  approx 1700 people . 

HS

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In the spirit of Halloween here's a little thread necromancy (bringing it back from the dead). ;) It was the thread that prompted me to finally join the forum, although I've been chewing on a response for a while. For the record, I work on the Demand Generation Marketing team at my company (in the software industry), so the question of "How to get new prospects and turn them into customers" is something I always have to think about. This thread got all those marketing brain wheels turning for the past few days!

Now, I don't want to knock Tandy too hard. I do like some of the changes the new CEO has been making, and it is a tough situation to try to bring in new customers without alienating the current ones. But they do still have a long way to go.

Mainly, I think they (and other companies) need to put more effort into modernizing what leathercraft is all about. I think the assessment that Tandy is stuck in 1964 isn't wrong. I go to my local Tandy and it seems like it serves two groups of customers: 1) those who make tack and Western gear (or biker gear), and 2) Scout/camp crafts. Seriously, even the interior of the store reminds me of the arts 'n crafts cabin at the YMCA camp I went to back in the 80's. Now y'all who do saddlery and tack, and gun holsters and knife sheathes, and even wallets of all types (and lots of other items, just naming a few here!)...y'all keep doing what you're doing, because I feel like you've been a major force in keeping the industry afloat!

But the question is how to get NEW people into the craft itself.

(Just going to give some ideas of what I'm familiar with, so this is just some of my brainstorming!)

Camp craft kits are a nice way to introduce kids to it. You need to make sure the projects are small and quick to get kids started. I just don't think a kid these days will be really interested in making a key fob (do they carry keys of their own?), a bookmark (books on your tablet don't need physical bookmarks!), or a coin purse (especially with the coin shortage these days!), much less in a Sheridan style pattern. BUT...teach a kid how to tool their favorite Pokemon on a tablet case? How to make a bag for their Switch joy cons? Or for older kids, teach how to use leather in cosplay? Make dice bags, cups, and trays for tabletop gaming? Suddenly you're bringing in a younger market. Catch is you have to make it look easy to learn, but have cool results that will impress other people.

Another market that I think Tandy is finally touching but not actively going after is my personal interest: handbag design. Y'all, if women are willing to drop hundreds to thousands of dollars on a Louis Vuitton, and dream about dropping tens of thousands of dollars or more on an Hermes Birkin, then there IS a market that's not being courted. I noticed that Tandy just launched some new leather that looks like it can be used to make Brahmin look-alike bags, so I'm excited about the possible awareness of needing to go in this direction! BUT! Where's the hardware? Where are the patterns? I have to go to other sources for more interesting locks and clasps suitable for purses. Bringberry is constantly sold out of some of the more interesting hardware, so clearly there are people designing and making bags. Tandy sells a couple of pattern books with modern handbag styles, but not many...and they could be doing SO MUCH MORE to teach how to design your own perfect purse. If I'm a new crafter and not getting guidance on how to make a genuine leather bag with that $100+ croc-embossed side (or a genuine croc or gator hide!), then I'm gonna take my money to a fabric store or website and buy PVC vinyl for $20/yard, buy cheap Dritz hardware, a Simplicity pattern, and be okay with making mistakes because I didn't invest much money into it.

It shouldn't be hard for Tandy or other companies to make YouTube videos to show examples of what's fashionable (for men and women) and how to make something similar. I think it was Corter Leather who did the video on YouTube about how they made a blue gator wallet that looked like a $5000 one by Hermes. (Hey Tandy HQ, if you're reading this and want to send me a Sabana side, I'll stream making a Brahmin-inspired bag and plug your name! Just sayin'! ;))

And since the topic of "Why is scrapbooking so popular in comparison to leatherworking" was brought up, I think it's because the companies who run those industries do everything they can to make it look SO EASY and anyone can get good results. "Buy a Cricut and a variety of papers or materials, download these patterns for free or cheap, let the machine do the work, and you have a scrapbook in just a weekend!" There's a mysticism about leatherwork...seriously, watching other leatherworkers at work is like watching a wizard conjuring anything in their imagination. What will this hide become: A wallet? A pair of shoes? A bag? A freaking saddle? So much emphasis is put on the WORK it takes to make something high quality that it can be intimidating to potential new crafters. They freeze like deer in headlights and then go explore 3D printers instead because once again..."sure the printer was expensive, but just load this pattern you got for free or cheap, and let the machine do the work!"

And it's not just the companies who can change this mindset. We can too. When I was cosplaying, you'd see armor builds that were super impressive and looked really difficult...then along came cosplay crafters showing how easy it can be to create armor using EVA foam, Sintra, and Worbla, or how to add LED lights, or Arduino to control servo motors to make moving parts. It still takes a lot of work, but the tutorials make it look really easy and the cosplayers show confidence in how to use these materials. In the end it inspires beginner cosplayers with confidence as well. Nowadays you see a LOT of cosplayers building armor with LED lights...while a beginner's first cosplay might not be the highest of quality, they're still proud to wear it because they made it and weren't scared off.

TL;DR: Companies themselves need to expand their teaching of how to use leather for a wider variety of products. New leather and kits are all well and good, but they'd have more people coming back if they could see more examples of the possibilities for a modern market. And I think if we want others to pick up leatherworking, there's a need to emphasize--and DEMONSTRATE!--it's actually easy to get started, and to not be intimidated. Hook people with the idea that playing with leather with some basic tools isn't scary. As their interest is caught and they want to do more, they will naturally want to hone their skills. My personal wish is for more on teaching how to adapt patterns or how to make patterns from scratch, specifically for leather. Oh, and in the words of Bob Ross, telling people that their "mistakes" are just "happy little accidents" that make their item unique...or show them it's usually not impossible to recover from mistakes...will go a long way to keep beginners from getting discouraged.

Whew! Sorry for the soapbox! And this is only a small portion of what y'all got me thinking about! Great topic!

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Excellent post!

I do notice Tandy dropping a lot of the patterns that require extensive tooling from their product line, in favour of bags, purses and wallets that don't require any tooling. 

As someone who enjoys tooling, I'm not happy about this trend, but I can see the reason for it.

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Most of Tandy's tooling diagrams are now on their Library page.  The patterns now give you the drawings but no illustrations on how to put their product together.

 

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I thought the collaboration on youtube between Weaver and Corter was a good idea and must be working well for them.  Weaver (Chuck?) is loading a whole bunch of instructive videos (they're infomercials really but still, you can learn stuff from them) and Corter has a natural way of making things looking simple and achieving nice results.  I like them both and used to watch them, and I remember coming out feeling like I wanted to make something.  That's the whole point innit?

I agree the mystique of advanced leatherworking is intimidating and ultimately off putting for beginners.  But it was never meant for beginners anyway.

Another guy on youtube, probably my favourite, who I think is doing the craft a great service with his relaxed and polite manners and his simple and logical approach to everything is Harry Rogers.  Look him up, it's a pleasure just to hear him talk.  We need more like him I think.

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@Spryos -- Agreed. Harry Rogers videos are great. He's such a likable guy, so down to earth. Another point I'd like to make is there is to much emphasis on the technical aspect of leather working. What is needed is more emphasis on creativity and freeform design and frankly that means new blood and new thinking.

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26 minutes ago, cseeger said:

@Spryos -- Agreed. Harry Rogers videos are great. He's such a likable guy, so down to earth. Another point I'd like to make is there is to much emphasis on the technical aspect of leather working. What is needed is more emphasis on creativity and freeform design and frankly that means new blood and new thinking.

I agree with this sentiment.

There are some really creative people in the world and hopefully many of them will find leather and use it as a medium of expression.

 

 

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Going to have to look up Harry Rogers - sounds like a good way to spend some time.

Another you-tuber who's doing a lot to bring in new people to leather is Tony See, of dieselpunk.ro and leather-patterns.com. He started off making and selling his bags, masks, etc. but has moved completely to making and selling patterns now - he's said publicly that he doesn't want to compete with the people who buy his patterns when people are looking for leather goods. Not only has he sold 90,000 patterns (over the course of five-ish years, but the pace is accelerating) he has solid, well-produced tutorials for every pattern. He also does videos on product photography, stitching, "Why your stuff doesn't sell," and so on.

There's no tooling involved, and the patterns are made well enough that even I can do them - which has led me back to some of the more interesting and challenging things I'm trying to make. And, of course, the wealth of knowledge here has helped.

Back when The Rifleman and Gunsmoke were all the rage, Stohlman/Sheridan holsters and saddles were interesting to kids. Now, it's anime and game characters. If the craft doesn't adapt along with society, it will become even more niche.

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@JhLeatherwood --- You are spot on about Tony See.  He is singularly the bright spot in leather craft today.  I've had many conversations with him and his Facebook group are a fanatical group of fans.   Talk about creative...wow.  The guy just blows me away.

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Finally talked my wife into going to Tandy, we signed up for a leather carving class, on the way home Tandy called asked if we were husband and wife when I said yes he said I'm sorry we don't allow that. wow hell of a business model !

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