What type of items do you suggest for leatherworking? I currently make holsters & slings for myself and friends and I am considering expanding to other items. I know it’s a silly question and you’re most likely too busy running the blog to have time for this but figured it never hurts to ask a question. Thank for all you do and taking the time to read this. – Chuck
My advice on developing a leatherworking business is a follows:
- Recognize that this is a fairly crowded and competitive market.
- Keep your overhead low.
- Keep your quality high.
- Be realistic about about what will sell. Don’t build an inventory of slow-selling products.
- Keep your prices low, until you develop a large backlog of orders.
- Stick primarily with STANDARD not-model-or-barrel-length-specific items with broad/generic appeal, such as slings, Yaqui style holsters, buttstock shell/cartridge holders, and a magazine pouches.
- Don’t get bogged down in custom work. (Charge premium prices for that work, and it won’t become a problem.)
- Develop your own Brand Name, and proudly stamp the BACK of every piece with your name/logo.
- Avoid making any items larger than purses or saddlebags. (Shipping is problematic.)
- Recognize that overseas (Mainland China) competition is inevitable, so be innovative in design.
- Scale your advertising and publicity to speed up or slow down your business, as needed.
One unfilled niche in the market that I’ve noticed is making replicas of the sadly now-discontinued Milt Sparks Six Pack magazine pouch design.
Here are two examples of well-run businesses that mostly do standardized products. They are worthy of emulation:
I wish you he best for your venture! – JWR