It is always a good idea to sell fashion items. Fashion never runs out of style, as it is always a fundamental right for humans to be properly clothed (and accessorized). Leather handbags have always been the prime fashion accessory, from the Instagram fashionistas to the simple office ladies and gentlemen. Starting your own leather handbag business can be fun and challenging, but you have to know the basics before setting up shop.
How do I start a leather handbag business? You can start your leather handbag business with at least $2,200, based on the sampling fees and materials alone. You have to prepare more depending on how you want to sell it: be it Facebook ads and website design or setting up your physical store.
In this article, we will discuss the different factors to consider when starting a leather handbag business. We will also discuss the different types of handbags a starting craftsman can make for his/her/their leather handbag business. We will also talk about the starting capital a craftsman must have to start his leather handbag business well, along with some other requirements. Lastly, just to inspire and motivate you, we will also discuss handbags that made the world go round with their timelessness and overall fashion appeal.
Several Factors To Consider When Starting Up
Overall Personality and Aesthetic of Your Products
Handbags are always seen as an accessory, meant to complete or complement one’s overall fashion style. Thus, you have to consider the personality and overall aesthetic of your products.
You can go for a sophisticated vibe, or you can also go funky and eclectic. There are a lot of thriving styles on the market, such as simple and classic, modern, avant garde, and overall functional. It is very, very important to have the distinct personality seen in your products because without that, your product is just another handbag in an ocean of bags.
Inject your own flavor in designing and conceptualizing where you are going with these handbags in mind. Your personality should come out so that people would know that this particular handbag is designed by you, even without checking at the logo up close.
Consider Your Target Market And Audience
You also have to gear your products towards your target market properly and you will perfectly capture their attention and make them want for more. This is very important because they are the ones who hold the key to the success or failure of your handbag business. In short, they are the ultimate make or break factor for your business.
You might be thinking of targeting fashionistas on Instagram, or the professionals in the corporate district. You can also try targeting the millennials, which compose a lot of the demographic that buys handbags these days. You can also align your market to the rich women in the urban areas, who are very much willing to spend money just to have a functional yet fashionable accessory perched on their arms.
Whatever your target market is, you have to remember to find the balance between your personal identity as a craftsman and the ability to capture the eyes of your target market. Do some research about the bags your target market usually buys and uses. Whittle down some choices from there and make sure you can produce these kinds of handbags with no pressure at all.
Always Prioritize The Function Of Your Handbags
It is also important to have a clear idea on what your handbags are for. Be it for function, aesthetic, fashion, or simplicity, it is very important to know what the purpose of your handbags are.
Make bags that are always functional because that is why people carry bags in the first place — to put stuff in it so that their hands are free. Handbags are first and foremost a storage item on its own, so remember that your buyers should be able to use it perfectly THEN flaunt it around to everyone.
Also, do not compromise the quality of your bags just because you want the items to match your preferred or expected function. Always remember that quality should be put first and foremost, especially when starting a small leather handbag business.
Think Where You’re Selling Them
There are so many ways of selling handbags nowadays. Thanks to the growing advancements in technology, you can now build a business without actually having a physical store to build.
You can use your online marketplaces, such as Facebook marketplace, eBay, Etsy, or Amazon, or you can also sell in trade fairs and also build a small shop. This online selling approach is much better for those who are starting with just the right budget for the materials and have no more allowance for building a physical shop altogether.
You have to build your social media presence if you want to sell online — post catchy images, curate and coordinate with your personal aesthetic, and so on. You should also think on how to promote your products to your target market, be it by sending free items on Instagram or social media influencers, or paying for ads on social media to run for your business.
There is still a choice of you to open a physical store to showcase your products even better. You can also sell your bags in your village stores, small boutiques, malls, or joining trade fairs. Think about these factors carefully especially if you are considering building a physical store for your handbags.
Types of Handbags Perfect For Business
Leather Tote Bags For Overall Functionality
Most people, especially women, like using tote bags when they go to work. They can put a lot of stuff inside and they can also use it most of the time — at work, going to the supermarket, going on short trips. They are a bit bigger than the traditional handbags but you can still consider them as a handbag.
Tote bags are known for its functionality, so you can capitalize on the functionality aspect by focusing more on its durability rather than making it flashy and flamboyant.
Leather Satchels For The Work-Personal Balance
Leather satchels are known for its versatility in terms of function. You can use it as an office bag during the day or a small handbag for catchalls when going out at night for dinners. Some people prefer satchels over conventional purses and handbags due to its extra durability and its rugged, rustic, vintage aesthetic. Make sure to create satchels made with good quality leather so that it would last a long time.
Men’s Backpacks And Leather Messenger Bags
A lot of men are huge fans of leather bags. Leather backpacks are in trend these days due to its sophistication and relatability as a backpack. Messenger bags are also popular to men, especially office workers and young professionals. These kinds are popular because it can serve both fashion and function, such as having a roomy space for all needed stuff while remaining chic and classy.
Your Stylish Conventional Leather Purses
You can never go wrong with a simple purse. Hermes made tons of money with its Birkin purses, each costing a fortune. Some people even consider buying a Birkin purse an investment, same as buying gold or stock.
They never go out of style, especially the simple designed ones. Women always love having a handbag with them whenever they go out, be it going to the supermarket to buy daily needs or going out with friends for some wine and cheese. Make sure that you are always knowledgeable of the season’s trends and fashion moments so that you could create more unique and on trend handbags for your customers.
Clutch Bags For The Ultimate Convenience
Clutch bags can double as wallets or purses depending on the size. A lot of people use clutch bags as a form of handbag because it never goes out of style and its small size makes it easy to carry.
When doing clutch bags, make sure that your clutch bag prioritizes its size and weight because clutch bags that are too heavy can never be the ideal choice for fashionable women on the go.
Several brands such as Gucci, Miu Miu, Fendi, and others have capitalized on the clutch bags and have made this item a must have for every fashionista around the world.
Starting Capital Needed to Start The Business
Leather Is Still An Expensive Material
Remember, leather is not as cheap as fabric or any other material for accessories. It depends on how big you want your handbag line to expand and which channels you choose to sell your goods.
If you are thinking of lowering the quality of the leather just to make the operating expenses smaller and more affordable for you, then you should stop considering having your leather handbag business to bloom.
It is a mortal sin to use low quality leather in leather handbags. You can never compromise the quality of the leather that you will use because it will greatly affect the products you’re going to produce as well. This is very important especially in a starting business to create products with longevity and that can stay for a long time to leave a good impression on your buyers.
No Need To Take Out Huge Loans
You have to consider the different materials you’re going to buy such as the leather itself, lining, custom hardware such as zippers, zipper pullers, logo plates if any, hang tags, and so on. You should also consider the sampling fees for each unit.
For example, each style costs $300 on the average, so multiply it to three styles and that is $900 in sampling fees. For the colors of the leather, let’s say you have four colors, each costing around $100 (reduced sampling cost for additional colors), so that is already $400. Then you have to spend $100 for lining, $200 for custom hardware, and $100 for hangtags.
In total, you should have at least $2200 as starting capital.
Surprisingly, it is not that big of an amount anyone would expect from opening a leather handbag business, but it is not the sure amount you will have to prepare for your business.
Remember that this is a hypothetical amount, it is still up to you if you want to expand bigger or just stay small and limited for a while, just to gain momentum and trust from your customers This is also the price for SAMPLES only, if you want to sell online you need to consider the payment for photography, line sheets, website design, social media ads, and so on.
Do Not Spend On Too Many Samples
Do not have a lot of samples made especially for a starting business. Give your customers a taste, not the entire buffet set out for them to see. You have to give them something to look forward to, samples are only to show your craftsmanship level and overall design aesthetic so do not spend a lot on having samples made.
Spend wisely on how you promote your products. That includes not relying too much on influencers begging you for free bags; instead, focus on making your products look better and putting more emphasis on the materials used to make sure it lasts a long time. After all, not all influencers are keen to help your brand grow. They just want free merchandise and that would mean stealing the hard-earned money away from you. Leather is not a cheap material, remember that.
As soon as you find your loyal base of customers, they are the ones doing all the promotion for free, so you do not have to bother that much flattering influencers just to make them give you good reviews for your handbags. Let your products do the advertising for you.
Famous Handbags Throughout History
Hermes Birkin Bag — The Ultimate Investment
Named after the English actress Jane Birkin, these bags were created by Hermes back in 1981 and are still considered as one of the top “It” bags in the history of fashion. These bags cost anywhere from $50,000 to a whopping $500,000, which can be seen as a better investment rather than stocks or gold.
Not one bag is the same as the other, and even the stitching is completely unique to each of the bags. Nowadays, it is still hard to buy a bag on your own, and if ever you have the chance to buy one, you cannot choose a specific design or color.
Dior Lady Dior Bag — Fit For Royalty
This bag was gifted to Diana, Princess of Wales by the former French first lady Bernadette Chirac in 1995. This bag is made of stitched-leather finished with dangling letter charms from Dior. This bag also featured a square pattern that was inspired, allegedly, by the Napoleon III chairs that the famed fashion designer had used in its first-ever fashion show in 1947.
Since Diana was the most photographed woman of her time, the bag also enjoyed the same level of popularity as her. Dior named it in honor of the stunning royal, and thus another “It” bag was born.
Fendi Baguette — A Delicious Choice
This is the first “It” bag that was made popular by Carrie Bradshaw, a role played by famous actress Sarah Jessica Parker in HBO’s Sex and the City. Shaped like the French baguette, it has shorter straps, perfect for under the arm, the way most French people bring their baguettes home from the bakeries.
The handbag soon became popular amongst Hollywood celebrities and fashionistas, and even though they do not look the same as before, the brand has reinvented its look many times to include different kinds of embellishments, patterns, and fabrics.
These handbags are just examples for you to get more inspired. Remember that these big brands did not start with the same status that they have now. They all started from scratch, just like you. Coco Chanel started her business at a small boutique, then the quality of her products along with her fashion sense spoke for her, and now we are looking at a multi-million dollar company, with an immense cult following everywhere in the world.
Fashion is a never-dying industry because people need to dress themselves all the time. Leather handbags can make a good product for business, but you have to consider a lot of things before starting on a venture such as this. You have to completely know your signature personality, design aesthetic, target market, and other factors beforehand so that you will be properly equipped and guided into entering this new and exciting venture.
You will not have to get loans from banks just to start a business, but make sure that you will prioritize quality so that your handbags will speak for yourself and your level of craftsmanship as a leather craftsman. Of course, everything depends on how big you want your business to be and how the quality of your products will turn out.