What to Look Out for When Buying Leather at A Flea Market ~ It May Not Be a Great Find After All

Recently a friend came to me with an idea for a design she wanted to have made, a hippie style leather pocketbook pouch. I get excited when customers and friends have ideas. It challenges my creative juices to come up with a design that reflects their personality, style and soul, so I was totally on board with working with her.  

She told me she would send over the leather in a few days. Now I normally don't work on leather that I don't purchase myself because I purchase leather from one or two dealers whom I have been buying from for the last 11 or so years. I know the quality of their leather hides, and their customer service is outstanding. Any problems with the hides not being up to par, I know they will work with me because they have in the past. That, and I guarantee my work so the leather must be up to my standards.  

Being a friend and all, I agreed to do the work using her leather.  I asked where she got it.  She said she had purchased the hide at a flea market up in Maine somewhere. She was so excited on the find and the deal she got. I on the other hand, well, my eyebrows were raised and concern immediately set in. Why you may be asking. Well when you purchase leather from anyone other than a reputable dealer, along with the hide, you are purchasing a lot of unknowns like, was it stored in a dry environment away from water and moister? Was it folded while stored so now there are creases that will be next to impossible to remove? Was it stored wrapped in plastic or a plastic bag which will cause the leather to dry out faster? Was it in a smoke and pet-free environment? Has it been exposed to direct sun light and has fade spots and sun damage? I could go on and on.  

Today her leather hide arrived!  And oh boy, my suspicions were spot on. It reeks of mold and there are places on the hide where the mold is clearly visible. The smell is so bad I cannot be in the same room or even an adjacent room with it. Granted I have the ability to pick up scents like a K-9 but it's pretty obvious this hide was stored in a damp place, or sometime down the line it came into contact with water.  

spot or spores of mold on rust color leather hidespots or spores of mold on rust colored leather hidespots or spores of mold on rust color leather hide

So now what? Well, I know there are natural remedies for cleaning and removing mildew off of leather. Honestly, I have never tried them because, I have never needed to. I'm extremely careful as to how I store my hides and where I store my hides. I will have to do some research and a bit of testing before we begin to do anything with this hide. 


Please know who you are purchasing your leather hides and leather goods from!  Whether it is a big business or a home based business, ask questions!  Find out how often they purchase their leather, how it stored, where it is stored, and how long it has been stored for.   

My leather goodies? I make everything to order so I only purchase a few hides at a time and as I need them.  My hides are rolled on big cardboard tubes then wrapped in paper and stored in a dry, water and moisture free, pet and smoke free environment. Leather is an expensive investment and should be treated as one. Keep your leather items dry and conditioned and they will last a lifetime. 

If you have any questions on this subject, please post them below and I will do my best to answer. If there are any leather experts reading that would like to add information to this blog entry, also, please post away! All are welcome!

Thank you! And until next time...peace and blessings!


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