I did a shop update this week that I’ve been excited to share with you! Jeff and I have been focusing on one thing each time- the last big shop update featured our button mixes. I did some mini shop updates since then, but wholesale orders and custom orders are what we prioritize, so the larger shop updates happen when we get caught up on everything else. There’s just the two of us running our business, and these buttons are lovingly made by hand, so the process has it’s own timeline, but they are so worth the wait. That being said, it’s quite exciting when a big shop update happens!
This time, Jeff and I focused on buttons in shed deer antler, since we’d had requests for them. We love the antler buttons! Seriously, so much. Every year male deer shed their antlers and grow new ones. The antlers make for amazing buttons- not only because of how well they hold up, but also because they are so beautiful. I tell people that the antler buttons are worth the extra cost because they can become heirlooms to be passed on for generations, that’s how well they last over time. Unlike wooden buttons, they don’t need the occasional oiling to keep them nice. And the color varieties! I fall in love with each set. Pictured above is one of my very favorites, when you see those buttons in person, the grey-ish color around the edges actually has a purple tinge to it. It’s gorgeous!
We’ve had many requests for large sets of antler buttons over the years, and I want to explain why those are tricky to make. The antler can change size very quickly, tapering from inches to the pointed tip. If you are wanting a set of buttons all similar in size, Jeff can use his saw to be cutting the buttons from the same antler, and he’ll end up with a bunch of buttons in different sizes. If he goes to cut more in a similar size from another antler, the color variations and shapes are often different and don’t match. If you don’t mind the larger set of buttons not being perfect matches in size or color, than we can make larger sets, but if you want them to match- it’s usually the smaller sets that are available. You’ll notice in this shop update that there are a lot of sets of three.
Look at the variety! From a small size with the white hue, to the grey-ish ones (to me, those also have a purple tinge in person, but I don’t see that in the picture as much), to the larger size ones in this bottom picture- see the darker markings in those? It makes me wonder about what created those in the antler- like the rings in wood, I feel like the markings in the antler tell a story.
We have ONE set available of six buttons in a tiny (1/2 inch) size. These tiny sets are rare. Not only is it challenging to get that many matching in that tiny size, it’s also very challenging to sand that size without sanding your fingers. (Especially since Jeff does a “rounded sand” on his buttons, rather than flat sanding them which is more typical for handmade buttons.) To give you an idea, we could cut hundreds of antler buttons, and only come up with one or two sets like this. I want to explain that so our customers understand why they cost as much as they do. Also, the antler buttons in general cost more because we have the cost of purchasing the shed antler, and only get a limited amount of matching sets from each.
When you look at the price of a set and you divide that to figure out what it costs for each individual button, it gives you a different perspective than seeing the initial price of the whole set. I honestly think that if anyone, who thought the price of our buttons was too high, came to watch the process of one button from start to finish, they would come to the conclusion that we were not charging too much but too little. They’d need to spend more than a day in our shop, because the process takes time. Jeff wet sands each button on four grits, ending in a 1200 grit, which is super fine. That’s what makes the buttons so incredibly smooth and gives them a mirror finish. Then they need to dry before the final buffing on a polishing wheel.
Handmade things… and farm fresh food… they do cost more. Being a family that makes a humble income, though, I understand the need for budgeting. I’m sure there are plenty of people feeling that way right now, with everything that’s going on. This shop update happens to have our most expensive buttons, but I want to mention that if you are wanting to use our handmade buttons for a project, but need to keep your spending down- please contact me in the shop, we can make rustic wood buttons for a more affordable option. (And we do offer the occasional trade for things we could use, so it never hurts to ask!)
For fun, I put together some mixed sets with the buttons too. It’s usually too time consuming to list buttons as singles in the shop, or even sets of two, so when I put them in larger mixed sets it’s a better use of my time. (To give you an idea- it can take a minimum of six hours for a larger shop update- to process all of the pictures, and create all the listings. That doesn’t include making the buttons, tying them on cards, and the time included in photographing them.)
AND we have antler toggle buttons back in the shop! I’m go glad to have these back. I love them! I want to show the variety in those also. You can see in the first picture that Jeff sanded those smooth. They feel amazing. In the set of three pictured, you’ll notice a deeper brown hue and the antler left natural on the sides. In the last picture is a mix of both. The colors are different and unique with each antler- no two are alike. We have a variety of longer and shorter toggles available. There are only so many tips per antler, so these antler toggles usually cost more than our wooden toggles (the exception being specialty woods.)
Lastly… something I’m really excited about? I made a batch of antler toggle buttons myself and included them in this shop update. I sanded them, drilled them, and felt so proud when I tied them on cards. I’ve helped with slicing, drilling, and many other aspects of the button making process over the years, but Jeff has been teaching me some sanding techniques and I had so much fun making these. I call these ones our rustic antler toggles because I left the edges completely natural, only sanding them at the very ends. I didn’t sand them as smooth as Jeff sands his, and chose purposely to do this so we could offer them for a little less. I’m looking forward to making more of these! You can see the new buttons in the shop here.
Thank you so much for your support and please let us know what you’d like to see in the next shop update!