Wednesday, May 12, 2010

New Arrivals

I must say, when I stumble across a new online supplier I'm a bit dubious. I've had my fair share of bad experiences - take the ten 16-inch strands of sodalite chips from Fire Mountain Gems. Most of them are all but unusable. They're either too small, or the hole is drilled so close to the side of the bead that it will (and has on a couple pieces) without doubt break with even the slightest pressure put on it by other beads. I'm not bad mouthing Fire Mountain Gems. They are a large supplier and have many, many loyal followers and customers. However, for me, their stone quality leaves a lot to be desired. I do still order my tigertail and other stringing materials from them, so it just depends on what you order. Now, I pretty much check with my local supplier to see if she has had any luck with a big online supplier or if anyone in the shop at the time has bought from them. So far as I know, Rio Grande is a reputable dealer of supplies. My local supplier buys all her silver from them. I have yet to order from them, but that's only because I have yet to have enough money to get everything I want. :)

Needless to say, though, I was a bit dubious ordering from a new supplier. Would the product be of good quality, or was I in for an unpleasant surprise as I was with the sodalite? How long would their shipping take? Would the package arrive unmolested or would it look as though my 15 month old had wrapped it and shipped it?

But, I was in the market for leather for future projects so I did a Google search for leather cord. Many, many, many search results came up, which I expected. I also did some research on different types of leather cord since it had been a while since I had not used leather for anything other than horsemanship. I found that Indian leathers tend to be unevenly dyed and the diameter of the cord itself may vary along the entire length. Greek leather, on the other hand, tends to be much more even in terms of dye and overall cord diameter. Good to know.

Armed with my newfound knowledge, I clicked on the top Google search result. As I do with any new site, I looked around and tested the checkout process as far as I could without actually buying something. I then waited a while and mulled it over. What would I be making with this leather? Would I get tired of it before I was done with the spool? Would I make enough pieces with it - and sell them - to warrant buying more in the future?

The site I found was Leather Cord USA. While I don't have any pictures of my product to put up yet, I am very happy with my purchase. I ordered the 10-meter length of round leather in the 3mm size in red-brown, and the same amount in the same color in 0.5mm. I ordered them on Monday and today is Wednesday, and they came in already. I paid for the cheap shipping because let's face it, I'm cheap. Or maybe I'm frugal. I think I prefer frugal. Anyway, I was surprised that the shipping took such a short amount of time.

The leather arrived in a small box - maybe a 5" cube. I opened it up and on top was the invoice complete with actual check marks where someone had made sure my order was correct before it was shipped. That was a nice touch. The cord is on plastic spools, neatly wound, in its own plastic baggy with a silicone gel pack. There was a piece of packing paper wadded on top to keep the spools from moving in the box, but otherwise it was very simple. I must say this is the best packaging from a large (I guess they're large) company that I have received.

I very highly recommend them if you are ordering leather cord. Again, check them out at: Leather Cord USA.

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