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Tesoro's Tongue — shop local

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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How are you feeling?

Hey Everyone What a crazy world we are living in. I made the graphic "how are you feeling" because it is how I have been starting all my conversations this week. Instead of "how are you doing?". I think it is pretty clear that day to day, we are doing ok. Many of us have a safe roof over our heads, access to food and medication, and clean drinking water. We are the lucky ones in many ways.   How we are feeling is a much different question. I have a lot of small business owner friends, nurse friends, new parent friends and even friends who have been laid off or have voluntarily stopped working for others safety. Day to...
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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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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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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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The #TesoroTribe Gift Guide

Hello beautiful! Christmas is only 14 days away, and Hanukkah starts tomorrow! Whatever you might be celebrating this season, we have the perfect gift for you and your loved ones. We just added a "Gifts Under $100" section to the site, and its chock-full of great gifts. Those items can all be embossed with initials or a cute but short quote to tell the ones you love why you love them.  Here at Tesoro, we also believe in supporting other makers. We have some gorgeous jewelry and useful clay pieces, all made in Philly, and all made by ladies. Those items are available in store, but if you like something you see we would be happy to take a phone order...
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Moving On Up...To Ground Level

Well, we did it. Tesoro officially has its own store! So far we have been open for a total of 32 hours, also known as four days, and it has been extraordinary. The best part you ask? Personally speaking, having three large windows is priceless. For the past year-and-a-half I have been working from a basement office with zero windows, so our new space is a literal step-up in more ways than one.  This past Friday was our soft opening. Even with torrential downpours on and off throughout the night, we had a wonderful turnout. Friends, family and loyal customers sipped champagne and celebrated with us in our new home, 230 W Market Street in downtown West Chester, PA.  Please...
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