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Poll: How long have you been mailling, and do you make money?

Your status as a mailler  

222 members have voted

  1. 1. How long have you been mailling?

    • Not woven anything yet!
      5
    • <2 months
      14
    • 2-6 months
      13
    • 6 months - 1 year
      24
    • 1-2 years
      27
    • 3-5 years
      44
    • 5-10 years
      39
    • 10-20 years
      50
    • >20 years (wow!)
      6
  2. 2. How do you treat your mailling?

    • Strictly a personal hobby
      29
    • Hobby, but I make a bit of cash when I can
      90
    • Aspiring to maIlle as an income source
      56
    • Chainmaille is a secondary source of income
      34
    • Chainmaille is my primary source of income
      13


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Started off becuase I love armor and the period in which it was used. Made some small things for presents, and just finishing some larger deals for myself. Plan tomake some things for myself and family as a hobby, and then have me and the wife start to do it as hopefully a second source of income.

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My partner and I have a business where we make Tshirts and chainmaille side-by-side... like a weird little department store in a 10x10 space. 

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We have been going to events for over 10 years, and chainmaille has been a part of it for 6+ years.  We go to events 3-4 days a week and consistantly sell $800-$1,000 in chainmaille per week at various locations in California.  Business has been booming since the start of Game of Thrones.  It's bordering on ludicrous the number of ppl that bring up the show when they come to the booth. 

 

We make ZERO armor.  All bracelets, earrings, necklaces, and pendants.  One scalemail loincloth. 

 

I often say "if you want to make a business as an artist, make something no one else CAN make or no one else WILL make."  That's how chainmaille is.  We have seen a LOT of crappy chainmaille at various events.  Many hobbyists think putting rings together doesn't take skill, so chainmaille is often scratchy, has gaps, or is made out of thin sterling or copper which WILL fall apart if the rings are not individually welded/soldered.  We have repaired dozens of these cheaply-made-for-fun pieces over the years.  We have tried in vain to train someone to help us out, but closing rings correctly is harder than people think and so far we have turned down 5 people who were unable to smoothly close a 16g steel ring after two weeks of trying.

 

People will pay top dollar for chainmaille but it has to be soft, smooth, and run like silky water through your fingers. 

 

Our maille is exclusively stainless steel.  It's holy hell on our wrists and elbows making it at the pace we have to to keep up with demand and I see a chiropractor twice a month to keep me going.  We have only invented two pieces that are exclusive to us, but we special-order custom rings from several places (black sharpened steel, diamondwire, sparkle wire) to keep our regulars coming back to see what's new.  We also take custom orders with a 2-6 week wait and teach chainmaille classes in San Jose, CA once a month.

Edited by steampunkgarage

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I'm just a hobbyist who would like to make some money at mailling someday. Until that day comes though, I'll just enjoy putting my rings together and trying to force my stuff on family and friends.

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I started mailling about 11 years ago - had never heard of it as jewellery til I saw some ferals selling some galvy stuff at a local market and was inspired to look it up on the net. Made lots of galvy/copper stuff with bike/hardware bits til I did my hands in.  (You should see those galvy pieces now - terribly rusty.) Five years later my hands healed enough and the Aussie dollar was low enough that I could finally buy from TRL. Have sold at markets/fairs here and there for years (always wanted to, and I have sold other crafts too), but only this week did I finally get a logo, biz cards, etc, and thinking of moving online. However, having done the mental sums, there's no way in hell this will be anything other than a hobby that recoups some money on the side unless I find the time and wellness to sell a huge volume. I enjoy anodised aluminium/epdm/saw-cut stainless/scales immensely but to build up a decent range has cost me thousands, and paying $12-$16/lb to ship it to Australia means I probably can't compete with US etsy vendors and buyers. But Australians seem to find chainmaille a great novelty.

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I've been mailing off and on for 12 years never for any real profits sold a bit here and there just to fuel my hobby a little bit more usually go all out for a while until life says there are more important things to deal with just recently picked it back up after a 3 year fast , a lot of my coworker want stuff made from amour to jewelry

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