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7 Essentials for the One Man Workshop

For many of us in the saddle making or leatherworking industry, we are a shop of one or maybe two people.  This business model has both its advantages and difficulties.  Finding time to design the products, build the products and market the products all while keeping a handle on the administrative aspects of our business make for a challenging day to day.

While most of us can not afford to hire a full time office manager or marketing manager, we can use the wonderful technology that is right at our fingertips and virtually free when compared to adding staff.

In this article, I will show you the 7 essentials for a one man workshop in my opinion.  There are definitely more apps, tools, and systems that can be put into place to help you accomplish your business goals, but this short list is what I would call the minimum to help you minimize the work involved in running a one man show.

1. Smart Phone

The first in our list is the smart phone.  Whether you carry an iphone or Android, the majority of the population to date is carrying some sort of phone with internet capabilities.  This little device, although sometimes very intrusive and time consuming, can be your best asset to help you run your small business.

At first glance, the infinite availability of apps for these phones is astonishing to say the least.  You can download apps to give you access to all your marketing and social media channels so that you can monitor and update on the go.  You can get apps to edit photos and even your website straight from your phone without having to sit down at a computer.   You can access all your email addresses and contacts from this device.

Outside of being completely available and connected to your customers all day everyday (which can be hard on productivity at time), the camera available on these devices has brought a quality to our workshop photos that before was limited to only those who dabbled in photography along with their craft.

The ability to capture quality photos of your works in progress, completed works, and videos of work being done has opened our shops up to both interested consumers as well as fellow craftsmen through social media and these devices.

In my opinion the smartphone is one of the most essential tools for any one man craftsman looking to grow his/her business.  Never before have we had so much marketing power and access to our customers wrapped up in a device small enough to fit in your pocket.

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How to Prep Belts for Tooling

In this latest short video, I show you how to prep belts for tooling.  When tooling belts, they will usually want to stretch some because of the stamping process.  This is the method that I use on virtually all the belts that I make to help prevent this.

Many leatherheads will use a heavy packing tape on the back of the belt blank and then remove it when the tooling is completed.  I find the tape a bit hard to deal with so I use poster board strips in my belts.  I find the added body that it gives my finished belts a nice plus.

This is a short video just to show you how I prep my belts for tooling and should clear up some of the questions that I get concerning this important step.  Thanks so much for checking it out and I hope it offers value in your shop!

If you are interested in more information about making custom belts, I offer a short ebook that shows my entire process available for $5.  Click this link to purchase “Custom Belt Design and Layout

 

Tooling a Leather Wallet

For many of us that start in leather work, we start by making small leathergoods such as wallets, belts, and knife sheaths.  In this video I show you my process of tooling a leather wallet.  Everyone has a different approach to tooling floral design so keep in mind there are other ways of doing this. Continue reading