Let's Talk About Customs

Posted by Bria Kanas on

What's the deal?

Customs, they're all the rage in the leather world. Everyone wants one. Because who wouldn't love an idea turned into their very own piece of art? Customs make excellent gifts and keepsakes, and there's something special about having something that is one of a kind. Yes, we will be opening back up for limited customs on January 5th, 2022.

To take customs or to not, that is the question...

Why have some makers gotten away from this kind of work? I asked one to tell me about the pros and cons of custom work from a maker's point of view.


"The pro is the money that comes in from them. People are always looking for custom items. The biggest con is the stress of dealing with some customers who can be very vague or pushy, even when clearly communicated to. As a bonus I’ll add, keeping a schedule is extremely stressful, especially when you have outside factors that can interrupt a day of work." -anonymous

What's the big deal?

Its stressful. From a manufacturing standpoint, one little glitch can put your orders days or weeks behind. One small mistake can cost your reputation as a business. Supplies that you order frequently can go out of stock or arrive late, pushing your schedule further out. This is why so many makers say they don't want to do customs anymore. In the horse tack world, many have converted over to premades only.  

What's my personal view?

I've taken very limited customs in the leather work realm, and all of my customers have been wonderful people. Which has increased my desire to continue to take a limited amount of items going forward. I just adore when an item comes out as expected and everyone is happy. But in my life before leather, I made other unrelated items and got burnt out pretty quickly due to a lack of creativity in my work, communication struggles with customers, problems with scheduling, payments, etc.

But its not just about a handful of bad experiences spoiling the whole bushel. Another reason that makers don't like to do customs is that it stifles their creativity. Often orders are based on past item styles, and then the maker has very little time to come up with new styles. It really limits what the customer has to choose from in a maker's portfolio.

Occasionally customers will give a maker an idea and then ask them to complete it trusting their abilities as an artist. If you're one of those people who is willing to let go of the outcome, we love you. It can be downright anxiety inducing to come up with exactly what the customer is looking for though we all strive to make that happen.

Crazy long wait lists...

There are makers out there with wait lists of six months or longer. And rightfully so, as their items are amazing. Personally, I fear issues with time management. As I am just one person, I also have a full time job with responsibilities that can sometimes vary from a steady 40 hours to lay off weeks to 50+ hour weeks and weekends. I have started conversations about customs and then had a crazy schedule change or a family emergency that left me having to cancel, which happened back in the spring. My apologies to those who wanted customs then, as my life was turned upside down more than a few times this year. To date the amount of full custom dog collars I have done I 2021 is two, the ones I just posted in November. I have also done a small handful of what I would call semi-customs. Designs I created and then let someone else choose how they were finished. 

So what does 2022 look like for customs here? 

I open back up for custom orders on January 5th. I'm actually very excited for some downtime after the holidays that will allow me to create some new styles as well as bring your ideas to life. Keep an eye on the Facebook page and this blog for more details about what's coming in 2022!


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