Heartfelt greeting here,
I am taking a short break from working on creating these leather items to provide a small amount of information to you. Yes, I am aware that there will always be someone who will take offense at anything you say, so I am sure there will be a few ruffled feathers out there. That knowledge does not seem to prevent me from posting this, however. I will apologize if it is too wordy or difficult to read. I am new to this online posting, as well as talking to people.
I am going to end up saying a bit about hand-crafted-made-in-America goods, and other alternatives. If you look at the items I make and say, “I’m not paying that much money, I could make that myself.” First, that’s quite arrogant. Second, you are CORRECT, and you are wrong. Yes, if you took the time to learn the skill of leather carving, you too could make items from leather. I encourage people to do so. It is, sadly, becoming one of the lost skills. Lastly, you absolutely CANNOT make that.
Here is why: I cannot even make the same thing twice, so how do you think you can? Ok, a little over the top, but still true. My technique is mine, it is not like those who taught me, or those I hang out with on Saturday’s at the local leather shop. My style is unique to me, so much so that those who know such things can easily tell my work from someone else’s. I think one of the attractions people have for what I do is that, no matter how many Major Spoiler flasks or TMS coffee sleeves I make, every one is a one of a kind.
I will put in a little of my own speculation here. Today’s world has become so electronic, mechanical and digital, that a tactile and handmade object is becoming more desirable. I see this as a VERY slight, but steady increase, in demand for these things. Some label such things as Folk Art, or Primitive. To me, it is a craftsman creating something that someone else sees and appreciates. My items are 100% American made, since I am 100% American. I can’t say the same for some of my materials, however. I could find an overseas company to outsource to, but that would take away the biggest reason, in my opinion, for you being interested in one of these items.
It may be as simple as the subject of the piece, you are a fan of that show/company, so you want a representation of that. I like to think that there is something about seeing an object created by hard work that you can hold in your hand and feel that comes into play as well. Whether you are aware of it or not. So many things are shiny plastic, fake smooth leather, machine assembled and temporary, that too see something going against all of those things is refreshing to people these days.
Now the issue of costing too much. Yes, I will admit that not everyone in the world is willing to pay X dollars for Y item. I am the same way. I will tell you a little secret, ALL of my items are underpriced. I am pricing them as they are so the largest number of people can enjoy them, while maintaining my ability to continue doing something I enjoy. I do not expect to make a living at this, I doubt I will ever break even. If I listed out the cost in just tools I have purchased so far, I would probably become a bit depressed, not to mention dyes, leather, sealers, sponges. I am going to stop that list short, I think.
So, yes, you can laser cut leather with the designs I use. This method would be faster, so you could get a better output, as well as very precise with the end result. And every single one would look just like every other one. You are also limited in what you can do with that technology. I too purchased a $20 iPad mini case because the time and effort involved in making one from real leather are much more than that. That case is falling apart and it is not unique to me. I hope you can understand the point there.
If you want to make something instead of pay for it, definitely go for it. Eventually, you may be surprised that other people want to pay you for what you do, just like I am. Don’t just throw out that old line and keep going with your life, try something new. As a final note, I have PERMISSION to use these images in the items I make.