If you’re an artisan dedicated to honing your craft, growing on Instagram might not be front of mind. Crafting a wallet that will be passed down through generations, though? That’s what drives master leathercrafter Joey Verzilli, founder of Lockeland Leather.

“I want to make something that's beautiful and timeless. I want somebody to discover their grandfather's wallet thirty years from now, in a basement somewhere and to be able to pull it out from the bottom of a box and look at it and go, ‘I want to use ths now,’ and still have it holding up, still have it kind of maintain a classic aesthetic, no matter when it's discovered.”

Born in Nashville in 2015, Lockeland Leather has quickly become known for their attention to detail and their meticulous craftsmanship of a carefully curated product line. This reputation has led to collaborations with Harley-Davidson and Lincoln Automotive—as Verzilli puts it, “clients who appreciate our quality and craftsmanship and attention to detail.”

By “keeping design simple and allowing the natural beauty of the leather to shine through,” Lockeland Leatherworks honors “the skills and techniques that have been present in leatherworking for hundreds and hundreds of years.” Those techniques require time. And when you’re a one-man operation, like Lockeland Leather, your time for Instagram marketing is in short supply.

That’s why Verzilli uses ToneDen by Eventbrite’s Instagram Growth Playbook. “Using the growth campaign, I gained almost 500 followers in two and a half weeks. Over the last two and a half years, I hadn’t gained more than a hundred.”

“I needed to be more conscious about where we're approaching potential clients”

Before founding Lockeland Leather, Verzilli worked a 9-to-5 in marketing. Once a guitar builder, he found himself drawn to the tidiness of leatherwork when he moved to Nashville. “It was easy enough to pack up all the tools into a toolbox. I could take a roll of leather and stow it away on a shelf.”

What began as a hobby became a passion. Unfulfilled by the corporate life, Verzilli was at a crossroads. In 2016, he made the leap: He left his day-job to devote himself to making leather goods. “I'll never forget how overwhelmed and stressed I was trying to make that decision,” he says. “Looking back on it now, in a heartbeat, I should have never hesitated.” 

While Lockeland Leather has grown, day-to-day the company consists solely of Verzilli. For the small batch production required from corporate clients, he leans on Nashville’s thriving creative community. A network of skilled craftsmen aid him with assembly or stitching when projects call for extra hands. Unsurprisingly, marketing was not a top priority. 

“Up until this past year, there was no marketing initiative,” he laughs. “It was always just word of mouth. I feel fortunate that I've been able to grow my business up to this point now by word of mouth—it's a good indicator that people appreciate the work that we're doing and see the value in it. But I reached a point where I plateaued, where I needed to be more conscious about how and where we're approaching potential clients. That's what drove me to ToneDen.”

Reaching “Consumers Who Are Going To Be Interested in Our Product”

A relaunch of his e-commerce site led Verzilli to reconsider his brand’s social media presence. He had been inactive for years; his followers were mostly other leatherworkers. Working with ToneDen, he shifted his thinking.

“I realized very quickly that I'm not going to be selling anything to other leatherworkers who can make the same things I make for themselves,” Verzilli says. “I began using ToneDen as a tool to advertise and expose our brand to consumers who are going to be interested in our product.”

“Using the growth campaign, I gained almost 500 followers in two and a half weeks. Over the last two and a half years, I hadn’t gained more than a hundred.”

With the holiday marketing push behind him, Verzilli shifted his focus to growing on Instagram. He used ToneDen by Eventbrite’s Instagram Growth Playbook at the end of December to reach people who would likely be interested in the brand through Instagram Stories ads showcasing the clean, timeless Lockeland aesthetic. In a matter of weeks, he had added nearly 1,400 new followers, at just $0.31 a follower

Instagram Growth Campaign Insights

Running the Instagram Growth Playbook is not only a pathway to followers; it’s a learning experience. Analyzing the campaign reports, Verzilli has gained invaluable insight into where his clientele is based and what’s driving them to Lockeland. “We’re in the exploratory phase of figuring out who our demographic is and where to find them, and we’re already learning a lot.”

“A New Perspective on the Business”

While Lockeland Leather may have been out of the Instagram loop for a couple years, they’ve quickly made up for lost time—without having to sacrifice time from their product. “Using ToneDen by Eventbrite for the growth campaigns and being able to push ourselves out there, the response has been awesome.”

Verzilli recommends ToneDen by Eventbrite for other small business owners. “For anyone who is wearing a lot of hats, who doesn't have all the time or resources necessary to learn every single detail about how to create effective ad campaigns, the platform lets you be very effective in the short time it takes to create a campaign.” 

With ToneDen by Eventbrite, Verzilli can use his marketing to learn more about his business so he can continue to share his passion for the leatherworking craft. “I thought I knew who our clients were and I thought I knew who we should be communicating with,” says Verzilli. “But it turns out that I was wrong. It's good to take a step back and get a new perspective on the business when you're so ingrained in something every day.” 

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