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Make it worth your while

Make it worth your while

leather tote

A new potential customer brings in a nice (expensive) leather tote bag and wants to get their company logo embroidered on it. Actually, they want to add their logo to many of these bags. How would you handle it, given the following:

  • You have never worked on leather.
  • It is a customer-provided product.
  • It is an expensive product.
  • It can be a challenging product to work with in the best of conditions.
  • It is not a supple leather, but a more stiff and thick one, so that the bag maintains it's shape.
  • They want the logo on the side with the pocket, made of that same dense, stiff leather. The customer acknowledges and accepts that the pocket will need to be sewn shut to have the logo in their preferred location.
  • You have never digitized a design to go on leather before.

This is a real life situation, brought to NNEP today by member Amy K. of Gold Medal Ideas. We chatted about the following:

  • Is the customer is willing to risk one bag to the "cause" at no cost to you, so that you can experiment with the digitizing and placement? Working on a swatch of leather to test the design may not be a good enough simulation of the product, based on its thicker and stiffer characteristics.
  • Is the customer willing to pay a fee - in addition to the digitizing fee - maybe in the $50-$75 range, for you to test the design to come up with a quality solution?
  • Is the customer willing to pay a premium for the embroidery on all the bags, if you are able to develop a solution?
  • Digitize the design specifically for leather, which means a reduced stitch count, possibly a thicker thread, and wedge point needles, which are specifically designed for leather.

If the customer agrees with all of these things, then it may lead to a great relationship with a new client. If, on the other hand, the customer is not willing to cover the R&D time or risk a bag, then you may want to pass on this opportunity, as the risks may outweigh the potential.

Would you take this job?

What would be your conditions, if any? Post it in the comments below - I would love to know!


6 Responses

  1. Teresa Sikes says:

    I would look the bag over several times. Check for pockets and zippers. Check out the logo to see how stitch intensive it would be. Let her know that I would not be replacing any bags that could potentially be a loss because she is not using anything that I can easily replace. Discuss the price and if everyone is in agreement. It is a go.

  2. Sue Bower says:

    Nope. Wouldn't touch it. I'm the same way with the long arm quilting side of my business. I have no qualms about saying "Sorry, but I am not the right person for this project."

  3. Janice Naderer JN Fabrications, Inc. says:

    This is definitely tempting to try but I would need to pass on this opportunity if the client is not willing to "give" a little for you to hone your skill on this particular material. I know my machine can do leather but sounds like this is a double layer of leather with the pocket. Not sure if the quality would be there.

  4. As a newbie, if the customer met all of the above terms I would take the job. It would require a great customer relationship from the start, one that heavily protected me from bad reviews or losses and done with the basic understanding that this job must go through a proof of concept process ( at the customer's expense (time and money).

  5. Larry Nolan says:

    I would need to see the bag, and it’s construction. Can the pocket be off the bag then final assembly in my shop?

    I am a bag manufacturer with in-house sewing capabilities.

  6. Katie B says:

    My customers have to sign a waiver that we do not replace items brought in for embroidery if damaged in the process.

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