The Supplies We Sell are the Same Supplies We Trust

Did You Know?

Weaver Leather has an average of 4.3 million pieces of hardware and 50,000 pieces of leather in stock at any given time.

As a manufacturer with 45 years of experience handcrafting quality leather goods, we’ve learned a thing a two along the way about the importance of having the right supplies for the job. When you purchase leather and supplies from Weaver Leather, you can be confident in knowing that they were hand-picked by our team of experts for the ultimate in performance and quality.

LEATHER

As a leather supplier, Weaver Leather is unique in that we cut, sew and work with many of the leathers you’ll find on our website. We source leather from some of the world’s top tanneries and work with them to develop high-quality leathers that ensure beautiful end projects.

HARDWARE

Our team knows the right hardware can make all the difference in the beauty and function of your end product. Our team works closely with our suppliers to bring you hardware that meets our strict specifications and quality requirements. If you look closely at our hardware items, you’ll notice that our dimensions are oftentimes thicker than others you’ll find on the market.

TOOLS

From hobbyists to professionals, everyone will find just the right tools to meet their needs and budget. A great all around selection from Master Tools, C.S. Osborne, Horse Shoe Brand and more ensure everyone has access to the same tools our craftspeople depend on every day.

MACHINES

With a shop full of machines our team counts on to enhance productivity, we understand the importance of choosing the right machines and having expert technical support available if you ever have a problem or questions. From sewing machines from Adler to Weaver-built Master Tools machines, we have machines to make any task easier.

Swivel Knife Tips for the Beginning Leatherworker

By Jim Linnell, Elktracks Studio

Something I wish someone had shown me when first starting out is how to properly use the swivel knife. Learning how to work this tool is hard enough, but learning how to use it if were dull and not working right makes it even harder.

One of the first things you need to do is learn how to get it sharp and keep it sharp. Keep it polished up so that when you’re working, it’s not dragging in the leather and making it more difficult to control than what it would be.  Leather is tanned with a variety of oils and minerals, which can cause a build up on the knife and create friction when trying to pull the swivel knife through the leather. By stropping the knife regularly with jeweler’s rouge, you are polishing the blade to keep it working smoothly.

The next thing to note is that this is a fingertip-controlled tool. When you’re holding this tool, what I show folks initially in a beginner’s class is how to grab it, you hold it with just your fingertips. You place your forefinger into the yoke up to about the first knuckle and your thumb is on one side. Your other fingers are on the opposite side and I have my ring finger resting on the side of the blade here. That’s pretty much the grip.

Then I let the side of my hand here rest of the table or on the leather so that I get good balance with it. You make the cuts by sticking just the corner of the blade into the leather and drawing the knife towards you, making the cuts. It gets its name, swivel knife because the body of the knife turns. That’s what aids you in doing nice, smooth, curving cuts. When you’re doing these swivel cuts, you do all of the rotating with your fingers that are along the side of the knife and then you do all the pushing down with that yoke, with the forefinger that’s in the yoke up there.

That’s the basic grip and that will be something that you’ll have to practice with because you probably don’t use any other knife in that kind of a fashion. As you’re cutting, you want to try to follow the lines that you’ve sketched on the leather as closely as you can. You want to put enough pressure on the yolk so that you get good depth in your cuts. I usually try to get the cuts to go maybe 1/3 to 1/2 the thickness of the leather. That usually gets you a maximum amount of depth out of a piece of leather when you’re doing the other stamping steps. It gets the design to really stand out.

You need to always keep your leather turned so you can see what you’re doing. If you watch any of my videos, you’ll see that I rotating the leather frequently so I can get a good look at what’s I’m doing. Learning how to get good, clean cuts and learning how to do them accurately, is an important thing.

What’s even more important than that is you gotta do it. You have to do a lot of practicing.

I wish somebody had told me that early on, too. I’ve practiced a lot over the years but if I’d had put some time and effort into practicing how to really use this tool properly, it sure would have made a lot of that a lot easier. It would have made my projects better.  It would have saved me a lot of frustration if I had just practiced more regularly on some scrap leather.  Early leather instructors such as Lou Roth and Jim Gick would have their students practice just swivel knife control up to 30 minutes a day.  After 50 years of practice, I understand why they started their students that way.

You just have to be willing to take some time, take some scrap, and learn how to use your tools. Learn how to make them do what they’re supposed to do. If they’re not, then work at it until you can make them cut the way they’re supposed to, but the hand holding the swivel knife makes much more of a difference than the quality of the tool itself. You just have to spend time practicing.

Born and raised on a ranch in eastern Montana, Jim Linnell has had leatherworking in his blood ever since his first visit to the Miles City Saddlery. The sounds and smells of those visits are some of the most vivid memories he has of that early introduction to the leatherworking world. Now, after spending the last 47 years working with leather, those sounds and smells are still a part of his life. Jim has conducted classes or workshops on leatherworking in 42 states, including Alaska and Hawaii. He has also taught in Canada, England, Norway, France, Spain and Puerto Rico. Jim’s leather art has been featured on magazine covers, catalog covers, in galleries and at countless shows. In the leatherworking world, he has received some of the most prestigious of their awards. The Al Stohlman Award, the Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Master Leather Artisan award from the Academy of Western Artists are some of the better known.

 

Where We’ve Been. Where We Are. Where We Are Going.

No matter where we started and where we are today, it has always been our goal to exceed your expectations. It’s what we do every day and we pride ourselves on this 45-year tradition of serving. The foundation of exceeding your expectations is a commitment to serve not only our customers but also the industries we participate in, our employee and the community. Our dedication to these priorities has helped us grow, sustain our business and continue developing cutting-edge, high-quality products for the future.

OUR PRODUCTS                                                                                    

You trust us to bring you quality, reliable products. We take great pride in our impeccable craftsmanship and use only the finest materials to bring you quality, reliable products at reasonable prices. And we back you with the best customer service you’ll find.

OUR INDUSTRIES

By being in tune with the industries we serve and making it a priority to serve the arenas in which we work, we will continue to be able to provide you with not only the products you need but all of the educational information that is needed to be successful.

OUR EMPLOYEES

Empowering our employees is important to us at Weaver Leather. We invest in resources like our leadership program, family resource center, and character building program to give them the tools they need to bring you your best customer experience.

How to Wet Leather

By Jim Linnell

Something I get asked often is “What are some of the important things that someone should know when they first get started in leatherworking?”

One of the first and most important things that I wish someone had shown me was the proper moisture content in a piece of leather. Having it properly dampened, having just the right amount of moisture in a piece of leather, determines how well your tools react. It determines how much color and the burnish you get out of your leather. Getting the right amount of moisture in it is critically important. In leatherworking, we refer to the dampening process as casing the leather.

When I case my leather, I use just regular water with a sponge.  You want to avoid kitchen sponges because often they have soap added to them when they are manufactured, but other than that, really any sponge will do.

What I try to do when I first initially wet down a piece of leather is dampen it so that the moisture gets maybe halfway through that piece of leather.

It is important that you don’t start working with it right away. When you let the leather start to return to its original color, that’s usually when it will work the best. Then you’re ready to start cutting in your design. I usually only apply moisture to the grain (smooth) side of a piece of veg tanned leather. Applying moisture to both sides often results in your leather being too wet.

Leather that is too wet will take cuts and impressions easy enough, but cuts will want to close up and stamp impressions will not be crisp. Leather that is too wet will usually not give you that rich burnish in the impressions. The result is a design that lacks crispness and detail.

Leather that is too dry will be difficult to cut and cuts will not open up nicely. Your swivel knife will feel like it is dragging rather than gliding smoothly through the leather. Impressions will take a lot of force to get any depth and while they may have a little burnish, they will not have the rich color that they should. As you do more leather carving, you will learn to recognize these signs and learn how to keep your leather at that perfect moisture content that gives great results.

Another common question is “How do I know when I need to re-wet my leather?” Generally, I let the leather tell me since everything from humidity to elevation can impact the rate at which the leather dries out. Some people have different theories or techniques for figuring out if the leather needs to be re-moistened, however, I’ve found what works best for me is to look to see if the cuts are opening up like I want them to and if my tools are getting a good burnish. If not, the leather may either be too moist or too dry. This is something that you’ll get better at determining the more and more you work with leather.

To learn more, watch the video below: “Leathercraft Tips for Beginners with Jim Linnell”.

5 Golden Rules for Success at Your First Craft Market

By Mary Savel

As someone who has sold my leathergoods at many craft shows over the years, I know what it’s like to make mistakes in the beginning. I know what it’s like to not be prepared for a market and ultimately not make the sales that I had hoped for. 🙁

But I also know what it’s like to have super successful craft shows where you sell out, meet new customers, get wholesale contacts and walk out of there feeling like you’re on cloud nine.

All of the market preparation and things that you do during the market has a direct effect on your overall success.

That is why I’ve created what I call my Golden Rules for success at your first craft market. Follow each of these Golden Rules and you will be way ahead of the game and on the best course for success at your first market.

1 | Do your research before you sign up for a craft market.

Not all markets are created equal. Not even close! And some markets are better for some leatherworkers then others.

The markets that I have participated in run the gamut. I have done some of the biggest craft markets like Renegade Craft Fair which hosts events in 12 major cities across the US and at the time of this publication, attracts an audience of 300,000 annually.

And I’ve also done small local craft fairs, hosted by a high school PTA and located in a high school gymnasium. These are 2 very different markets but at each one, I had success because I did my research beforehand.

Visit the craft market ahead of time if you can.

A lot of craft markets happen annually or sometimes twice a year. If you plan ahead, you can and should visit the market before signing up. This is important because it allows you to gauge the market in person to see if it would be a good fit for you.

If you can’t visit in person, then reach out to past vendors that sell similar goods to you. Usually, the craft market website will have a list of past or current vendors.

Ask them how the market was for them. How were the sales? How was foot traffic? Would they do it again?

Use their answers to help you judge if this is a good market to look into vending at.

2 | Know your financial break-even point.

If you’ve done your research, then you know that you’re interested in a good market and chances are you’re going to be successful, but nothing is worse then not making back that table fee which in some cases can be a pretty large upfront cost.

Before you decide to sign up for a craft market, it’s a good idea to crunch the numbers.

Make a list of all additional costs that will be associated with doing the market in addition to the table fee.

Things like travel costs, table display, extra chair rental, hiring an extra hand, even the sandwich and midday coffee that you will desperately need, are costs that you should include in this list.

For me, I’ve always done fairly local markets so the travel costs were pretty minimal. But one time I took a train from NYC to do a market in Philadelphia and that train ticket cost $100. I also had to take a taxi to the train station and that was an additional $20. So I added both of these costs to my list.

Once you have a list of all of the additional costs, add them up. This amount is your break-even point. The is the dollar amount that you will have to generate in sales to break even at the market.

To put it in perspective, even more, do a rough calculation for how many leathergoods you would have to sell to get to your break-even point.

If my break-even point is $500 (table fee + additional market costs), and my average leathergood price point is $50, then means I have to sell 10 of my leather goods to break even. That seems pretty doable.

If your average product price point is $5, then you’d have to sell 100 to break even. Is this doable? Maybe. Maybe not.

At this point, only you can determine what is doable or not and if you’re willing to take the risk.

3 | Have a good table pitch.

Once you actually get to the market and get all set up, it’s time to sell. Actively.

I don’t mean aggressively unless that’s your style, but you should have a few one-liners in your back pocket that can help to make people who approach your table feel at ease.

You could say something like, “Hi, let me know if you need any help.”

But usually, the response is “ok, thanks.” And then they walk away 2 seconds later.

Or you can take it one step further and say something like, “This one is my bestsellers. Everyone loves this one because of x y and z.” Or “This one sold out last mothers day. It makes a great gift for mom!”

This is a great way of showing the browser that

#1 other people like and buy your products (so they should too) and

#2 it’s a way to point out important features and educate your customer in a non-salesy “sleazy” way.

4 | Track your sales so you know when you’ve hit your break-even point.

When you start making those sales it is such an exciting feeling. It’s different than when you make a sale online because you’re looking someone in the eyes and making a real connection. But don’t get caught up and forget to track your sales.

You want to keep track of each sale so that you know immediately when you’ve hit your break-even point, without having to awkwardly count your money in front of everyone every hour.

I usually take a little business card or something small that I can keep it in my pocket and with each sale, I note the dollar amount. During the slow moments, I add up my total sales at that time so I know how I’m doing and can make adjustments as needed.

This can really help with your own morale and sales strategy.

If you know you’re only one sale away from breaking even and that any sales you make afterward are pure profit, you’ll get a new burst of energy.

On the flip side, if you’re not having a great day and you’re further away from your break-even point, knowing this allows you to turn up the heat on your sales strategy and do anything to make those sales!

5 | Bring the energy.

Don’t sit there with a sad look on your face the whole time even if it has been a long day. I know that you would never do this, but I see sooo many new vendors doing this and it’s just not a look that is going to attract people to come over and shop at your table.

No one likes a sad Sally.

If you’re able to, stand up behind your table. It’s much easier to talk to someone when you’re at the same eye level. I rarely sit when I’m doing a market. I just know going in, that it’s going to be a long day and that I can rest when I get home. (Obviously, there are still ways for you to be engaging and friendly with your customers if you need to sit.)

If the market is slow then rearrange your table display or work on something at your table instead of looking bored.

If you are truly bored (it happens), come out in front of your table and look at it from the customer’s point of view and do more rearranging. This sometimes does double duty of making it appear that you’re a customer which brings more people over to see whats going on.

Be happy and don’t be desperate even if you’re so far from your break-even point and you’re feeling pretty sad about it. People can smell desperation a mile away and it’s not going to help increase your sales.

Not every market is a going to be a massive success especially when you’re first starting, but with each one you do, you learn more and you get better at it.

Just keep in mind the 5 golden rules and you’ll be on track to maximizing your experience and sales at your first craft show!

Golden Rules For Success at Your 1st Craft Market

  • Do your research before you sign up for a craft market.
  • Know your financial break-even point.
  • Have a good table pitch.
  • Track your sales.
  • Bring the energy!

Just like there is a lot that goes into preparing for a craft fair there is a lot that goes into rolling out a new leathergood online. Knowing how you’re going to market it and who you’re going to market it too are two of the most important things to think about before you launch.

Which is why I’ve created a checklist that walks you through start to finish, pre-launch to post-launch exactly how to maximize sales of your new leathergood.

You can get your copy of the checklist at www.lucrativeleathercraft.com.

Mary Savel teaches people how to make traditional leatherwork and how to sell their handmade work online, at craft fairs and to stores. She runs www.LeatherBeast.com, www.MarySavel.com, and lives and works out of her NYC apt that she shares with 1 boyfriend and 2 cats.