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Tesoro's Tongue — Made in America

Come with us behind the scenes of Tesoro Design! Here, we document our experiences of running a handmade in America leather handbag company. Updated daily.

The Patriarchy and Handbags as Status Symbols

How do you define luxury? For a small business like mine, in an industry where what you buy can often change people's perception of  your  social status a  luxury handbag does a lot more than just hold your stuff. When I started my business at 23, my main experience with the handbag industry had been in Florence, Italy. A place where artisans are deeply appreciated and valued.. I was approaching the development of my product from the Italian, artisan perspective: well made, well designed, functional. Naively, It didn’t immediately occur to me how obsessed we are with brand labels--particularly when it comes to handbags.     And why is that? Why are we so obsessed with a label? Why do women...
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Pricing Transparency - Find out how we price our bags

The Chelsea bag is one of our most popular bags. We love it because you can you can wear it as a crossbody or shoulder bag. Some can even also be worn as a backpack. Switch up the chain color or crossbody strap to make it your own!  Raw Materials-  Leather- About $70. Leather is tough to price because it doesn't come to us like fabric. Certain hides can be shorter, wider, some have more scaring and others have a wide variation of weight which can't always be used for each bag piece.  Short Strap- $17.50. The short strap is made by an equestrian company in the Lancaster area. They are sturdy and sleek! I don't have the machine that...
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DIY -- A Tool Everyone Should Own

A rotary hole punch. A tool as useful as a drill or hammer. I genuinely believe that after years of leather working, and owning a retail store, you need one of these tools. My most requested “repair” or easy fix is adding a hole to a belt or purse strap. The wheel turns so you can pick the size of the hole you need to punch. Then, all you have to do is squeeze the handles and VOILA, you have a new hole that you are able to adjust your belt to. The kicker? A rotary hole punch only cost around $20-$40, depending on the quality. Check out the links below to grab the most useful tool in my studio...
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The dangers of letting fast fashion companies off easy.

Welcome to the rant wheel! (Lovett or Leave It podcast listeners, welcome!)  I recently read an article that H&M is now using wine waste to create their leather products Cool. I guess? There are a lot of companies bragging about their newfound desire to be more sustainable, and I am on board for it. But I think there is something so telling about the fashion industry, when multiple news sources consider this a “win”. H&M is one of the largest fast fashion companies in the world. They don’t pay their Retail workers and garment workers a living wage, either here in the US in store or overseas. I can’t help but think that this new race to be more sustainable...
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An Ethical Diaper Bag is Coming!

My journey into the market of all things pregnant women/babies/toddlers started when my baby sister got pregnant in 2019. It was the first time I really did any research into the mommy market (my term, not an industry one). I quickly realized that most of the products out there are either so plain it hurts, or so girly/paisley patterned, lace trimmed and just straight up unattractive. This description fits for strollers, car seats, baby clothes and more than anything else, diaper bags.  After lots of searching I couldn't find any diaper bags made of high quality leather, that was functional both while you had a little one, and once you went back to your work life, or just your regular...
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Clapping back at Vogue

I used to read Vogue like it was the guide book of my life. It was my favorite thing to get in the mail, it was my daily outfit inspiration in high school (instagram and pinterest didn't exist back then), and I felt that if I was going to be a designer, getting published in Vogue would be the only thing that would make me a success.  Boy have my feelings changed. I recently started reading some of their articles about ethical and sustainable fashion and found myself deeply frustrated. They were talking to big brands/names like Stella McCartney, and I found myself wondering what the hell she knows about ethical or sustainable fashion, so I started trying to research...
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On Transparency

How we price Tesoro products Pricing products is a constant battle of balance. There are so many factors that go into the pricing of each product. Not to mention the importance of being competitive with other handbag companies.  The three deciding factors revolve around variable costs, fixed costs, and profit margins.  Our variable prices include things like the cost of our raw materials (leather is measured by the square foot, so I calculate how many square feet of leather per bag to find the cost), hardware costs, the amount of time each bag takes to make times how much I should be paying myself for the time, and other costs like shipping for the raw materials.  The second big factor...
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Made for you, By you!

GUYS!! I cannot contain my excitement. After years of wanting to teach you amazing humans a little about leather work, I have finally found the time, help and location that I needed to make it work. I have always really enjoyed learning, and teaching. From my youngest art classes to soccer camps and a gazillion other things, teaching has become something I really enjoy. Last summer I had the opportunity to have my first leather working intern, and after a summer of teaching her the basics, I was reminded how much inspiration I derive from it, and I am here to tell you that I will now be offering bimonthly classes at the shop. For now, each class will be...
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Grinches Guide to Gifting

The way I see it, we are a country divided. Not to worry, this isn’t an opinion piece on the extreme political polarity of America, as tempting as that is with mid-term elections being last week. I’m talking about the “Christmas Elves” and the “Grinches”. Almost all of us fit into one category or another. Either you are the sprightly little beings who turn-up to the Christmas Classics the day after Halloween (Thanksgiving? What’s that?). The ones who are Mrs. Claus incarnate and do their shopping months in advance, taking their time to artfully wrap gifts - in between cookie baking, putting up a 5th Christmas tree, and hanging mistletoe in the most essential places. And then… There is the...
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Finding Sanity

The Summer of change.  Hey, again guys. So as you guys know, so much has changed in the past few months, and I am here to tell you that there is more change to come.  Over the past couple weeks, I have been asking you guys for your advice on updates to the bag designs, and this is because I am hoping to work with this great manufacturer I found in LA. I've been looking for help for a while, but it has been difficult to find manufacturers who don't have huge minimums. These minimums are often around 50 bags minimum per leather color so it can get really expensive really fast. I finally found one that has been super transparent...
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