Etsy has an overwhelming amount of leather goods, perhaps too much. Here is a selection of some of the better options on Etsy.
One of the excellencies of Etsy that larger leather companies cannot easily emulate is the uniqueness of each product since they are handmade. You can have a bag that is like none other. Of course this can have its drawbacks if the maker does not have a critical eye for quality control. A reputation for quality counts for quite a bit in the handmade world.
Peter, the CEO, CFO, CMO, CTO, and production manager at Bay Towne Leather USA (it’s a one man shop) responded with this thorough explanation when asked if he planned to expand his operations in response to interest from a large online retailer.
Nah, I just want to keep it a one man shop. Two at the most. I may be wrong, but it seems there’s a fine line between hand made and volume. When the large retailers become involved and want a piece of the ‘action’ so to speak, before long you’re right back to mass produced crap. There’s no other way around it…
For instance, I can teach 5 people to hand stitch, and increase my volume, but I would be hard pressed to find 5 people who wanted to work that hard! LOL.
I could add lasers to cut out the leather, but it then becomes machine produced.
So, before i know it, I’m outsourcing my hand sewing someplace else… and I’m using machines to produce my goods.
It takes a couple years to learn how to hand stain leather… as it’s more of an art than a science. Before you know it, i’m no longer hand staining and using the predyed leather the tanneries produce… like everyone else is using… because I can’t stain it fast enough to keep up with the volume the retailers want.
Problem, Nobody knows how to do anything in the US anymore. We’ve been outsourcing skills so long, the work force doesnt’ have the will or the skill to do certain types of work. It’s a double edged sword. And if they did the work, then you have a lot of other (people) problems that creep into the mix.
So, for me, staying small is the only way I can do it. I was a professional accountant for 14 years, with all the frill and chills the rat race had to offer. One of the main lures to leatherworking for me is that’s is a WAY OF LIFE that’s gone by the wayside. That’s why I love it. I don’t want to ever do anything to make it a ‘rat race’.
Sorry about the rambling. But we are walking a fine line between MONEY and ART. Right now, I choose to keep it as an art….with sufficient money to live within my means and be happy with what I’m doing.
Putting this list was quite enjoyable. I hope you appreciate these works of art as much as I did. My personal favorite is the leather satchel by Cratgo.
– postal messenger bag – $450 –
– the messenger in pullman brown – $280 –
– antiqued leather briefcase – $475 –
– the hand stitched leather satchel – $495 –
– medium leather satchel – $285 –
– Devina brighton leather satchel bag – $400 –
– grizzly bear portfolio briefcase – $319 –
– horween chromexcel briefcase – $650 –
– honey messenger bag – $225 –
– wood teak briefcase – $400 –
– the flat flap satchel – $295 –
– handtailor briefcase – $473 –
– the goliath leather camera bag – $550 –
– william james 256 leather briefcase – $775 –
– buckskin messenger bag – $199 –
– european briefcase – $450 –