If you like working with leather, you know that it can be difficult to find leather craft supply at regular craft stores. I guess that's because it's not as popular a craft as, say, knitting, so the big stores don't want to devote a lot of shelf space to something they don't think is going to sell well.
That's unfortunate for people who need leather craft supply, because you might end up having to make a special trip to a specialty store or even go online to find your most basic leather craft supply needs.
Tandy Leather Factory
My favorite stores for leather craft supply are those run by Tandy Leather. This company has been in business since 1919 and provides leather, tools, and instructions for a legion of crafters at more than 90 stores across the country.
Unfortunately my local Tandy store closed a few years ago, so I have to do my shopping online. The good news is the Tandy website is clean and easy to browse around on, though it doesn't seem like there's as much inventory online as was crammed into the little store in my hometown.
Tandy has a "wholesale club" that costs $35 a year. Members get reduced pricing on all items as well as a newsletter full of projects and tips.
Another option for those without a local leather craft supply shop is ELeather Supply. This Oregon-based company sells tools, hardware, leather, kits and more too get you through all your leather craft projects.
Shipping is by priority mail and starts at $6 per order. Wholesale pricing is available to businesses, scouts and other groups. A $15 minimum before shipping is required. Catalogs are also available.
Standing Bear's Trading Post
Crafters who are looking for leather craft supply with a Native American twist should visit Standing Bear's Trading Post, a California company selling leather crafting kits, custom leather, hides and supplies for beading, pow wows and more.
The Trading Post is also a store but will ship nationwide. The only hitch is that there are no prices on items on the website, so you must call or send an e-mail to get the prices for items you are interested in. Still, there are many unique items on this site so it's worth a look if you're looking for something specific you can't find anywhere else.
Other Leather Craft Supply Sources
Here are some other places to look for your leather craft supply needs:
Evaluating Your Leather Craft Supply
Of course the most important aspect of your leather craft supply is the quality of the leather, along with the available varieties and the price. It is important for you to keep track of the pieces you order from different companies so that you can evaluate whether you are satisfied and want to keep ordering from a particular vendor. When you first start ordering from a new leather craft supply, start by ordering the smallest quantity of leather you can. This piece should be big enough for you to see the quality or lack thereof, and probably will be enough to make a small project. Don't buy so much that you will be stuck with it if you don't like it.
Speaking of which, always check out the return policies of companies you order from. You should be able to return things simply because you aren't happy with them, as long as you haven't cut the leather.
Once you have gotten a chance to work with a small piece of their leather, you should know right away if you are going to be happy ordering from that company. Other considerations should be ease of ordering, selection, price, speed and cost of delivery, return policy and how easy or difficult it is to reach someone in customer service.
Once you find a leather craft supply outlet that you like, stick with them. Many of these shops and websites are small businesses that need the support of crafters. Tell all your friends (and the company itself) when you find one you like.