How to Own A piece of cdk leather and make a statement of style, craftsmanship, & art.
If you are inquiring about a quote, or maybe you already have.. Here is a brief page dedicated to my operating process; this is intended to let you know what to expect when having a custom piece built by CDK Leather.
I build most projects in batches of 1-4 pieces as at time. Which usually allows for me to cut, design, carve, paint, build, stitch, cure, then ship about 2-4 client projects per week depending on the amount of work involved.
Each project that I produce receives my personal attention from start to finish. Being so, there is usually a 4-6 week waitlist when first confirming your project. Winter gift season is my busiest season; and can often lengthen my wait list to well over 8 weeks a peak times of year.
Step 1: Inquiry
inquire via my website to receive a quote and confirmation directly from me that I have read & responded to your project inquiry. In this initial email I will respond to you with my current pricing and the current time-frame for your project along with some brief details of your project.
Step 2: Confirmation
After you have received my quote and have decided to move forward with your project; I will need you to confirm with me via email that you are ready to do so. I will place you into my project books, this is a log book I keep of all past, present, and future projects listed with client name, contact info, project description, & project due date.
Along with your confirmation I will ask that you provide any images that will inspire your piece such as a brand, logo, photo, or screenshot of previous works. The only thing you will have to do after you have confirmed with me is to patiently wait for me to contact you to begin your project. I will usually make a direct contact with you via phone call, text, or email within 1-2 weeks depending on my current project scheduling.
*if you do not hear from me within 2 weeks; I could possibly be swamped with work, feel free to reach back out to me for an update on your project stat date.
Step 3: Briefing
When I have reached a starting point to begin your project I will reach back out to you; I generally prefer a phone call so I can better understand your wants and needs for your project. Here I will get to know a little bit more about you, and you about me, your color preferences, and sizing if necessary.
Step 4: Project Build
Your project is done in a series of steps; each of which is equally important & requires a great deal of attention. Most projects ie. Belts, Wallets, Spur Straps, Dog Collars etc.. will take about a week to make. Here is a breakdown of the build process.
Cutting, Design, Carving & Tooling - I will cut all the necessary leather pieces for your piece from a cured & tanned cow-hide to spec and begin drawing your design directly on the leather with a light pencil. You can expect me to usually send you a photo of this step to confirm you are happy with the rough design. Once we both agree on the layout and design I will begin the carving & tooling process; which you will often receive a picture of immediately following this step is complete.
Paint & Stain - your piece is then painted/stained to your spec. Or if you are daring enough, customers often let me "wing" this step which usually results in a very unique piece. I often like to experiment with different color & stain combinations.
Skiving, Glueing, & Stitching - This is a very important step that is often one of the most under-valued and over looked in the process. This is the step where you piece comes together and starts to resemble what you have ordered. Buck stitching is considerably more time consuming and labor intensive for me as I do all buck stitching by hand, generally this will extend the time frame and almost always come with a higher price tag.
Slicking & Finishing Touches - This step is intended to give your piece a finished look and feel as well as to help edge lock the leather for longevity. I will often go back over everything and re-touch any tooling or detail that needs to be fine-tuned.
Step 5: Payment & Shipment
As your project nears to completion you will probably pretty used to/sick of regular contact by me about the process of your project. You will in most likeliness have been receiving regular photo updates of the process and will have been sent photos of the near finished or finished product. When you have confirmed that you are happy with the work, this is when I will reach out to you for your payment. I accept payments in the form of Venmo, Paypal, Credit Card or debit card (card numbers are usually taken over the phone) or if you are local to Central Texas; I will meet you for hand delivery and accept cash.
Once payment has been received I will ship your piece to you; safely packed shipped via UPS or USPS; I can provide you with tracking info upon request. I can provide expedited shipping upon request, Expedited shipments will be at customers expense unless the piece is late becuase of my delay.
After Receiving & Taking care of your piece / leather maintenance :
Please keep in mind; like a baseball glove, true leather needs to be broken in. This will take time and regular use of your piece. You will notice when first receiving your piece that it is quite stiff; with regular use it will begin to break in within a matter of weeks.
Natural darkening of your piece is to be expected; when skin oil, moisture, and daily wear begin to set into your piece you will notice the leather to darken. Don't be discouraged if it begins to look a little different from when you first received your CDK piece.
I highly suggest keeping your leather dry and away from complete water submersion. Structurally, the leather itself will generally be fine with getting wet, but the shape and paint coloring of your piece may disfigure & fade quicker if it is often exposed to constant wetting. Wetting leather can speed up the darkening process and shorten the durability of the leather.
It is okay to every once in a while to go over your piece with a little oil to keep it shiny, and the colors popping. I suggest lightly padding it with olive oil or palm oil. There are many vegetable based oils that will work just fine, just a tiny dab goes a long way.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How long does it take to build my project?
The build process is about a week - the entire process is usually 4-8 weeks.
Are prices negotiable?
My pricing is mostly concrete; In some cases I will be able to come down in price; but I do have set minimums. This varies from project to project and special cases.
Do you take multiple payments?
I can work with you when it comes to a payment schedule; if you need to pay in 2-3 installments; just let me know and we can work out a pay plan that works for you and your budget. Please note though - I DO NOT ship your piece until I have received full payment; I will hang on to it in a temperature controlled setting until I have been paid in full or to an agreed upon amount.
Can you tool anything?
In most cases I can pretty much tool anything that you throw at me; however in some cases your request may not be very aesthetic or for various technical reasons may not be the wisest to put on your piece. Fresh leather is temperamental and tooling can only be done so small; some details may need to be omitted because of this reason. If for any reason I am uncomfortable with your tooling request I will let you know; and provide a reason as to why we should probably find an alternative concept to the piece.
If I do reject a custom character request design it is usually due to space constraints or aesthetic placement of a character relative to the rest of the piece. Not the level of detail required.
Do you tool School logos & sports teams?
I probably build a school logo, state logo, or a sports logo once a week. But you probably wont see your piece showcased up on my instagram.
Will you showcase my piece on your Instagram?
Most of my work is put up on instagram, especially the pieces I really like or showcase something new. The best way for your piece to be showcased on my feed is to request something unique. I usually don't tag people on my posts, but feel free to tag yourself or comment.
Some pieces don't make it up; this may be becuase they are either very common, showcase a logo you do not own, or is too offensive for the public; or in the very rare case that someone stiffed me!
Why aren't you working on my piece!?
If you are starting to get a little impatient with me and are following my feed but not seeing your piece; please know that what I do requires a ton of attention and that as an artist, I will often deviate to a side project every now and again to stay creatively "fresh". I love what I do, and do not wish to get burned out so I will often keep a project or two that I am working on the side. I will often make these available to purchase for auction via social mdeia such as instagram.
You may also notice on my instagram feed that I will show a leisurely look into the life of Clayton Kinney out on a hike, camping, eating, drinking, or playing outside. I often need R&R to stay creatively fresh; please do not get discouraged if you are waiting for me to start your project. I am working on getting to your project as reasonably soon as possible, I promise!
What happens if I do not pay you?
If you are unable to come up with final payment for shipment I will hold onto your piece for usually up to 3 months. I will reach out to you periodically within this time to see if you want to pay your balance and receive your piece. After the 3 month time frame if I have not had any commitment or heard from you then your piece will be repurposed and sold if possible or given away to a shop visitor.