Phone book ads, business cards, brochures, newspapers, and local radio. Fifteen years ago these were still the main components of a good marketing strategy for the leathercraft business to get the word out about their services.
When I began my business, I spent a substantial sum of money using marketing products just like these. The world of Likes, Comments, DM’s and Sharing photos to thousands of people with the tap and swipe on a piece of expensive glass was not yet a reality.
Facebook was just a place for college kids to connect and share funny anecdotes. Instagram wasn’t a thing yet. And twitter… well, twitter (if it was around) was still as confusing and useless as it is today.
The best option for connecting with our customers online during those days, was for them to happen onto our website and hopefully be able to navigate their way through the makeshift debris of photos and half written content. At best, they would be able to get our phone number to just give us a call.
Today we live in a hyper connected world where anyone has the ability to express an opinion, share a photo, or even share an hour long live video on how they prefer to assemble their peanut butter sandwich. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram have become ingrained into the fabric of a great majority of the population for staying connected with friends, family and businesses. Continue reading →
In this video, I show you my oiling and antiquing process for tooled leather projects. The finish that I did on this piece is what we call a “Light Oil Antique” and it is one of our most popular finishes in the shop. We have created previous videos on antiquing and oiling, but this video dives in a little deeper.
Here are links to those two previous videos if you want to check those out. Continue reading →
One of the most common questions that I get asked from younger craftsmen is, “When should I turn my hobby into a full time business and quit my job?”
This is a question that I do not feel qualified to answer. Outside of college, I have never had a job.
This usually gets a chuckle in response… but it is the truth.
After I graduated from college I began doing contract work for the man I did my apprenticeship with.
I use the word apprenticeship without a complete understanding as to what a true “apprenticeship” might look like to others in the craft. But more on that in the future.
After some time he offered to sell me the shop and I began my dance with banks to make it happen.
Fifteen years later, years of trial and error, and piles of debt taken and paid off, here we set.
So when someone asks me if they should walk away from a secure career? Walk away from a steady paycheck? Maybe even walk away from health insurance, dental, not to mention their own parking spot… I say maybe not.
I once heard an ole boy say, closing his business and getting a job was like “coming in out of the cold.”Continue reading →
You bought a mess of leather stamping tools for tooling leather tooling patterns.
What do all these tools for stamping leather do and where to use them?
This is a common challenge for us when we start tooling leather. We gather all the tools, a good mallet and some floral tooling patterns. Yet we are unclear of what some of tools are for or how to use them.
Other areas that I struggled with early on was the proper order to use the tools in. I found myself rambling through the patterns in a completely random fashion. This led to long tooling sessions that left me feeling a bit lost and confused.
If you are new to tooling leather tooling patterns, then you are going to find great value in this! Here you will find a 4 part video series that we created for our YouTube Channel. The series is called “How to Tool Floral Leather Tooling Patterns.”
Each video covers a certain number of stamping tools in the order that I use them in my work everyday. You will see how I use each tool for this particular tooling pattern. The use of many of these tools takes practice and sometimes requires a little trick to use and we go through this in the videos.
In this video series, we will show you the complete tooling of floral leather tooling patterns. The goal of these videos is to show you my complete tooling process when stamping leather tooling patterns.
This video covers the following tools and the order that I use them in:
-flower center liner
-undercuts (4 different tool sizes- small to large)
-crowners (2 different tool sizes)
There is a FREE PDF for this pattern that you are welcome to download using this link, just enter your email address to confirm access to download a copy to use so that you can follow along with us! Continue reading →
For the entire month of February, I want to focus on floral design and tooling. Everything from drawing leather tooling patterns, carving them, and tooling them. I want to spend the time using our different platforms to help you improve your tooling and design.
So whether you are a seasoned leatherhead or a rookie, be ready to follow us into this deep subject. We will not have enough time in one month to cover it all. We won’t even have enough time to cover a quarter of the subject. But I hope to shed a little light on the subject and hope that you will find value in it.
Tooling isn’t something that you can just read one book about, watch one youtube video, or spend one weekend in a workshop and become a master at. Learning to draw leather tooling patterns and to tool them, takes practice and commitment to the idea that you will become a true life long student of the subject. Continue reading →
In this video, I show you how to cut parts from a leather hide for many types of different projects.
Choosing the right leather and the right spot to cut the parts on the hide, is crucial to creating the most functional and beautiful piece that you can.
If you are new to leatherwork, then cutting into a brand new full side of leather can be daunting. But in this video I help to clarify some of the mystery and hopefully help you to feel confident that you are utilizing the resource to the best of your ability. Continue reading →
In this video I show you how to install the Stirrup Plate on a Cobra Class 4 Sewing Machine from Leather Machine Co. The process in this video can also be used for other sewing machines that have a similar stirrup plate option. This is also the process for installing the Holster Plate as well.
If you have been putting off trying out your stirrup plate on your Cobra machine, then I hope this video helps with any fears about the difficulty in changing this plate out. Changing the plate out isn’t difficult and is worth the steps so that you can easily sew your stirrups or holsters using these plates. Continue reading →
In this video, I show you how to make a leather Moleskin Journal Cover. I am a HUGE fan of journals and notebooks… to the point that I probably have way too many in the shop. I have to write everything down or I won’t remember it.
My favorite journals are made by Moleskin. These journals come in many different sizes as well as types of paper. This project video shows you how to make a leather cover for my favorite Moleskin notebook. The exact name the one from Moleskin that I use is “Moleskine Classic Soft Cover Notebook” and the size is 5″ x 8.25″. You can get this notebook from amazon by using my affiliate link by clicking here.
These notebook covers are a lot of fun to make and don’t take as much time as other projects. They also make great gift ideas or products to offer to your customers.