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Tesoro's Tongue — Made in the USA

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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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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Slow Fashion for all sizes in Philly

PLEASE NOTE - THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE DUE TO COVID-19.  We've partnered with Alice Alexander to bring you a weekend long IN PERSON event on Saturday May 16th and Sunday May 17th in Philadelphia celebrating inclusive, sustainable, ethical fashion. A weekend of community  Mingle and network with likeminded folksEat, drink, and enjoy live music Shop our slow fashion marketplace with diverse retailers (in price point and size). All apparel retailers will carry up to a lease a size 22 with the majority of retailers carrying up to a 28/30 and several plus size exclusive retailers. Vendors include slow, sustainable, ethical brands as well as vintage and consignment. A little bit of everything!Dynamic speakers ready to inspire and uplift Interactive panels facilitating...
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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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5 Things to Know Before Buying a Leather Bag

Not all leather is made the same. Whether this is a new or old fact to you, there are many things that go into producing leather goods, some of which are very easy to overlook. I have compiled a list of my top 5 things you should know before purchasing a leather bag, to help guide you during your next leather purchase.  1. Keep an eye out for leather with a cross-hatch finish. If you see a finish on the leather that resembles light scratching or cross-hatching, it is very likely that this leather is a bonded leather. Bonded leather is made up of the hide leftovers. This includes dust and shavings. These are bonded together using polyurethane or latex...
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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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Why Leather?

Leather often gets a bad wrap, let's talk about why.  Fashion revolution week is here, and we want to take a couple of minutes to talk to you a little about leather, and where it all belongs in the movement for ethical fashion and sustainability. I often tell customers that the last time a burger is eaten in America will be the last day that I use leather in my products. Leather gets a bad wrap for a couple of reasons. The main one being that cows are a contributor to greenhouse gas emissions because of the amount of methane cows produce. We cannot deny that farming has a major impact on global warming. But a large percentage of all cows are...
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Permanent Changes

Hey guys!  Happy new year! I can't believe I haven't written on here since November. Lots has happened since then, and the Holidays were our best yet here at Tesoro. There are a couple quick things I would love to update you guys on with timelines and collection, and then I am going to tell you guys about some new product in the works.  So, first, I wanted to take a second to explain the seasonal changes going on with our collection. The bags that came out in November (The Nora, The Chelsea, The Audrey, The Anne, and The Ellie) are now, and forever more, stapes in the Tesoro collection. Since 2015 when Tesoro became my full-time job I have been...
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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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