for our little shop, the christmas season was slow. the weekend before christmas we had a snow storm and it really put a dent in the traffic flow. one person the entire weekend. but tuesday and wednesday were pretty good so that was nice. even some new customers which is always cool. but business is half of what it was last year so we are doing all we can to get our name and products out - primarily on the internet. we love doing what we are doing and hope to be able to 'hang in there' until the economy turns around. it's been very encouraging to know that people still like to buy handmade and if it's local, that's even better. i gave my partner a purse that i made for her for christmas. i loved how it came out and she really appreciated it.
so i liked the way the other 2 belts came out so much that i made one for my other son. he lives in montana and the color is canyon tan. i thought the name was appropriate. businesswise, we had a cold, snowy weekend. windchills of -35 and miserable weather (although very pretty in one sense). we had 1 customer total on saturday and sunday. not the christmas rush we'd hoped for. but that's the way it goes. we still love what we are doing and wouldn't have it any other way.
unfortunately business is still slow. on the bright side, however, there is time to work on projects without a lot of interruptions. i just finished 2 belts for Christmas presents - one for my partner's son and one for my son. i thought they looked pretty nice.
man, does time ever fly. after Thanksgiving we were busy at our wayzata shop getting things made in anticipation for a busy rush of shopping up until Christmas. it was interesting and fun to have sales on our Etsy site. we stayed very busy replacing product that was sold. lots of fun!! for me, the cell phone cases seemed to be a hit. my biggest sale was of a cranberry flap pouch bag. very pretty if i do say so myself and one of my favorites. with the economy the way it is in the USA it was fun to sell things to england, brazil, canada and even lithuania. but, sad to say, the Christmas season has been very disappointing. very little traffic and lots less in the sales department compared to last year. we are keeping our fingers crossed for a late surge, but...the thing we are most excited about is our internet sales through Etsy. i'm updating our website so that next year we will be able to sell our handmade items through it as well as Etsy and Lollishops. here's a big 'Thank You' to everyone who has purchased from us. Every sale via the internet is fun and certainly makes our day!! The temperature here was -16 f yesterday morning. really cold, but we stay busy working on our projects. today i tooled and dyed 2 belts for presents for luke and yuri. fun!!
we've been doing a little selling through our Etsy shop which has been fun. it got me going on making a medium sized cell phone case so i did!! it will easily hold a cell phone that is 2" x 4" x 1/2" and is like some of the other sized ones i've been selling on Etsy. i put one of them here just for fun.
i can't believe a whole week has gone by since i've written anything. but the week got tied up with me spending a lot of time working on our website. then, on saturday, both my partner and i had sales on etsy. she sold a hand crocheted potholer and i sold a small leather cell phone case which i had to make since it had been sold out of our wayzata shop. i just shipped it off to new york, city earlier today and am posting a photo of it. it's 2" x 1" x 4 1/2" and i thought it was kind of pretty.
yesterday, on sunday, my partner and i drove down to northfield, minnesota to a shop call SWAG. my partner showed the owners a selection of her handmade pincushions and handmade 'pincushion christmas ornaments'. they loved them and bought a dozen of each. it was very exciting for us to expand our business 'out' like that. i've put a couple of photos of her work here.
i mentioned previously that i had received a special order and my first attempt came out too small. back to the drawing board and i finally got the inside measurements correct. to get the inside 3" x 1" x 7 1/4" i had to make the outside demension 5" wide!! who would have thought? anyway, i'm posting both of the colors that the customer requested just because i thought they were really pretty. also, like i said, working with leather is always fun and always a new experience.
a little while ago i made up some small cell phone holders and posted them on our Etsy site. a week ago i had a 'convo' with a person who was interested in a larger cell phone holder so i made up some like the one in the pictures-back and front (2" x 1" x 7"). unfortunately it came out too small for her specifications so right now i am making a couple of larger ones. it just goes to show that working with leather is always a learning experience.
the size of the tote bag i make is 16" x 12" x 6". i also reinforce the handles. it is truly made to last a lifetime. in fact, a tote bag i made in 1974 is being used today by my partner. pretty cool...
i started making my 'pouch bags with a flap' a couple of months ago. i really like developing different styles of bags. these come in the same sizes as the original 'pouch bag'. this one is dyed 'range tan' and reminds me of the colors i used to use back in the early 70's.
this time around the first purses i started making were what i called 'pouch bags'. i make them in two sizes, 6" x 8" x 1 1/2" and 7" x 8" x 1 1/2". they have a simple pull through closure and the strap is anywhere from 42" to 50" long. what's been fun is to work with the variety of colors for dye that are available now that weren't available in the early 70's when i had my little shop/business. to the left is a small 'grape' pouch bag.
i have started this blog to share my leather work. My partner and i own a small gift shop in wayzata, minnesota. we carry lots of local and regional artisan created work as well as items we both make. (visit http://www.manitobastitches.blogspot.com/ to see my partner's work.) it's funny but i started doing leather work when i was forced to take a 'shop' class in 7th grade many, many years ago. i loved it! my parents gave me a tandy's leather making set for christmas that year and i fell in love with the idea of making leather items by hand. some years later i even had a small leather shop/business in northern minnesota where i made and sold leather purses, tote bags, belts and just about anything else i could think of. it was a riot and i thought i'd be doing it for the rest of my life. but...things change and life move me in a different direction. now, however, it feels wonderful to be back doing something i loved doing so many years ago. i hope you enjoy looking at my work.