Leather craftsmen reveals if your designer bags are really worth the money

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A leather craftsman is lifting the lid on which designer bags are worth the price by cutting them apart to inspect the quality of the materials and construction.

The brands that do – and don’t – get Volkan’s stamp of approval 

WORTH THE MONEY 

  • Bottega Veneta
  • Coach
  • Kate Spade 

NOT WORTH THE MONEY 

  • Louis Vuitton
  • Brooks Brothers 

Volkan Yilmaz, 36, is known as ‘Tanner Leatherstein’ on TikTok, where he has more than 360,00 followers thanks to his eye-opening videos about leather handbags and accessories.

The Turkey native, who is now based in Texas, has spent thousands of dollars on leather goods that he has ended up destroying in the name of education, but he sees it as an invest him in his own leather brand, Pegai.

‘It seems like some people benefit from [these videos], and in turn, they shop at my brand, Pegai,’ he explained in a recent clip.

‘So, it’s my marketing expense in a sense, and it’s much cheaper than my Google ads that I used to spend [money] on.’

It’s only been six months since Yilmaz launched his TikTok page last spring, but he has already taken on a number of well-known designer brands, including Kate Spade, Louis Vuitton, and Bottega Veneta.

Here, FEMAIL breaks down Yilmaz’s most popular bag reviews – revealing which high-priced purses get his stamp of approval, and which designs he believes aren’t good value for money.  

Bottega Veneta Micro Arco – $2,500

Leather craftsman Volkan Yilmaz, 36, is known as ‘Tanner Leatherstein’ on TikTok, where he shares videos of himself cutting apart designer bags to see if they are worth the cost

Yilmaz went viral after inspecting Bottega Veneta's Micro Arco tote bag, which retails for a whopping $2,500

Yilmaz went viral after inspecting Bottega Veneta's Micro Arco tote bag, which retails for a whopping $2,500

Yilmaz went viral after inspecting Bottega Veneta's Micro Arco tote bag, which retails for a whopping $2,500

Yilmaz went viral after inspecting Bottega Veneta's Micro Arco tote bag, which retails for a whopping $2,500

Yilmaz went viral after inspecting Bottega Veneta’s Micro Arco tote bag, which retails for a whopping $2,500

The leather expert was a fan of the lambskin and noted that the luxury label used an 'insane amount of leather' to construct the bag's woven design

The leather expert was a fan of the lambskin and noted that the luxury label used an 'insane amount of leather' to construct the bag's woven design

The leather expert was a fan of the lambskin and noted that the luxury label used an ‘insane amount of leather’ to construct the bag’s woven design 

Yilmaz went viral after cutting apart Bottega Veneta’s Micro Arco tote bag, which retails for a whopping $2,500. 

‘First impression, I really love the feeling of the leather,’ he said of the lambskin. 

Yilmaz performed a number of tests on the leather, including rubbing acetone on it to break down the lilac purple coating.  

He guessed that roughly 18 feet of lambskin was used to construct the bag because of its double-sided woven design. 

The leather expert estimated that the leather cost up to $130, and he tacked on another $120 for labor and accessories, but that doesn't mean it's a bad deal

The leather expert estimated that the leather cost up to $130, and he tacked on another $120 for labor and accessories, but that doesn't mean it's a bad deal

The leather expert estimated that the leather cost up to $130, and he tacked on another $120 for labor and accessories, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad deal 

'You're definitely paying a premium, but you're getting top-of-the-line leather and craftsmanship,' he explained

'You're definitely paying a premium, but you're getting top-of-the-line leather and craftsmanship,' he explained

'You're definitely paying a premium, but you're getting top-of-the-line leather and craftsmanship,' he explained

'You're definitely paying a premium, but you're getting top-of-the-line leather and craftsmanship,' he explained

‘You’re definitely paying a premium, but you’re getting top-of-the-line leather and craftsmanship,’ he explained 

Yilmaz said it is up to the customer to decide whether the cost of the bag is worth it or not

Yilmaz said it is up to the customer to decide whether the cost of the bag is worth it or not

Yilmaz said it is up to the customer to decide whether the cost of the bag is worth it or not 

‘It has an insane amount of leather — quadruple of a bag of this size,’ he said.

The leather expert estimated that the leather cost up to $130, and he tacked on another $120 for labor and accessories. 

According to Yilmaz, the bag retails for 10 times more than what it costs to make, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad deal. 

‘Out of all my reviews, I’ve never seen such intricate design in all the details, inside [and] out,’ he explained. ‘You’re definitely paying a premium, but you’re getting top-of-the-line leather and craftsmanship. You decide if it’s worth it or not.’

Louis Vuitton Porte-Documents Voyage PM – $1,830

Yilmaz took issue with Louis Vuitton's Porte-Documents Voyage PM bag because most of it is made out of coated canvas - not leather

Yilmaz took issue with Louis Vuitton's Porte-Documents Voyage PM bag because most of it is made out of coated canvas - not leather

Yilmaz took issue with Louis Vuitton’s Porte-Documents Voyage PM bag because most of it is made out of coated canvas – not leather 

The French label clearly states that its LV monogram bags are primarily made out of canvas, but Yilmaz pointed out that there still could be some confusion

The French label clearly states that its LV monogram bags are primarily made out of canvas, but Yilmaz pointed out that there still could be some confusion

The French label clearly states that its LV monogram bags are primarily made out of canvas, but Yilmaz pointed out that there still could be some confusion

The French label clearly states that its LV monogram bags are primarily made out of canvas, but Yilmaz pointed out that there still could be some confusion

The French label clearly states that its LV monogram bags are primarily made out of canvas, but Yilmaz pointed out that there still could be some confusion 

Yilmaz made it clear that he thinks Louis Vuitton’s Porte-Documents Voyage PM is a rip-off because most of the bag is made out of coated canvas — not leather. 

The business bag retails for $1,830 on the label’s website, though he said he paid slightly less for the designer piece. 

‘You think this Louis Vuitton bag is worth $1,700?’ he asked in a recent video. ‘Let me tell you why it is trash for the money I spent.’

The French label clearly states that its LV monogram bags are primarily made out of canvas, but Yilmaz pointed out that there still could be some confusion. 

‘Louis Vuitton is associated with leather and luxury,’ he noted.  

'Whatever little leather use for the accents and the handle is mediocre at best,' he added

'Whatever little leather use for the accents and the handle is mediocre at best,' he added

‘Whatever little leather use for the accents and the handle is mediocre at best,’ he added

Yilmaz explained that the leather accents are made of top grain cowhide with a corrective finish on top, which is nothing special

Yilmaz explained that the leather accents are made of top grain cowhide with a corrective finish on top, which is nothing special

Yilmaz explained that the leather accents are made of top grain cowhide with a corrective finish on top, which is nothing special

Yilmaz explained that the leather accents are made of top grain cowhide with a corrective finish on top, which is nothing special

Yilmaz explained that the leather accents are made of top grain cowhide with a corrective finish on top, which is nothing special

The business bag retails for $1,830 on the label's website, though he said he paid slightly less for the designer piece. Even with a $130 discount, he insisted it wasn't worth it

The business bag retails for $1,830 on the label's website, though he said he paid slightly less for the designer piece. Even with a $130 discount, he insisted it wasn't worth it

The business bag retails for $1,830 on the label’s website, though he said he paid slightly less for the designer piece. Even with a $130 discount, he insisted it wasn’t worth it 

The leather expert said he was waiting in line to buy the bag when a sales rep told him that the most common material used is coated canvas. 

‘What is that? I realized it’s a glorified plastic,’ he said. ‘Whatever little leather use for the accents and the handle is mediocre at best.’

Yilmaz explained that the leather accents are made of top grain cowhide with a corrective finish on top, which is nothing special. 

‘You can make this leather using most of the cowhides available on the market because you have the flexibility of covering the imperfections,’ he said.   

Yilmaz noted that the canvas was durable, but at the end of the day, it’s not leather. 

‘As a leather craftsman, after taking this back to my workshop, I knew I didn’t get what my $1,700 is worth,’ he said.  

Coach Theo Tote – $450 

Yilmaz was a fan of Coach's $450 Theo Tote, which he thought was a good deal

Yilmaz was a fan of Coach's $450 Theo Tote, which he thought was a good deal

Yilmaz was a fan of Coach’s $450 Theo Tote, which he thought was a good deal 

The TikToker noted that he 'loves the leather' and 'insanely good brass accessories' on the bag

The TikToker noted that he 'loves the leather' and 'insanely good brass accessories' on the bag

The TikToker noted that he 'loves the leather' and 'insanely good brass accessories' on the bag

The TikToker noted that he 'loves the leather' and 'insanely good brass accessories' on the bag

The TikToker noted that he ‘loves the leather’ and ‘insanely good brass accessories’ on the bag

Yilmaz estimated that the bag cost roughly $130 to make, including $30 for the leather and $70 for the labor

Yilmaz estimated that the bag cost roughly $130 to make, including $30 for the leather and $70 for the labor

Yilmaz estimated that the bag cost roughly $130 to make, including $30 for the leather and $70 for the labor

Yilmaz's comments about the bag were mostly positive, he took issue with the salesperson incorrectly telling him that the inside was lined with suede when it was clearly fabric

Yilmaz's comments about the bag were mostly positive, he took issue with the salesperson incorrectly telling him that the inside was lined with suede when it was clearly fabric

Yilmaz's comments about the bag were mostly positive, he took issue with the salesperson incorrectly telling him that the inside was lined with suede when it was clearly fabric

Yilmaz's comments about the bag were mostly positive, he took issue with the salesperson incorrectly telling him that the inside was lined with suede when it was clearly fabric

Yilmaz’s comments about the bag were mostly positive, he took issue with the salesperson incorrectly telling him that the inside was lined with suede when it was clearly fabric

Coach fans will be happy to know that its bags got Yilmaz’s stamp of approval. 

The leather craftsman bought the brand’s $450 Theo Tote while shopping in the store, and he didn’t waste any time tearing it apart. 

He noted that he ‘loves the leather’ and ‘insanely good brass accessories,’ but he wished the story patch inside was also made of real leather and not polyurethane. 

Yilmaz also took issue with the salesperson incorrectly telling him that the inside was lined with suede when it was clearly fabric.   

He estimated that the bag cost roughly $130 to make, including $30 for the leather and $70 for the labor. 

‘Doesn’t sound like a bad deal,’ he said of the $320 markup. 

Kate Spade Satchel – Estimated Price $119

Yilmaz recently tackled a light pink Kate Spade satchel bag that a viewer had donated to him for inspection

Yilmaz recently tackled a light pink Kate Spade satchel bag that a viewer had donated to him for inspection

Yilmaz recently tackled a light pink Kate Spade satchel bag that a viewer had donated to him for inspection 

The owner paid $80 for the bag, which some viewers insisted must have been from an outlet. A similar version is selling for $119 on the Kate Spade website

The owner paid $80 for the bag, which some viewers insisted must have been from an outlet. A similar version is selling for $119 on the Kate Spade website

The owner paid $80 for the bag, which some viewers insisted must have been from an outlet. A similar version is selling for $119 on the Kate Spade website

The owner paid $80 for the bag, which some viewers insisted must have been from an outlet. A similar version is selling for $119 on the Kate Spade website

The owner paid $80 for the bag, which some viewers insisted must have been from an outlet. A similar version is selling for $119 on the Kate Spade website

'The viewer who donated this bag said this was very stiff and "plasticky" - and I totally agree with her,' Yilmaz said

'The viewer who donated this bag said this was very stiff and "plasticky" - and I totally agree with her,' Yilmaz said

‘The viewer who donated this bag said this was very stiff and “plasticky” – and I totally agree with her,’ Yilmaz said

The first bag that was ever donated by a viewer for Yilmaz to inspect was a light pink Kate Spade satchel bag that the owner bought for $80.

The exact design doesn’t appear to be available at this time, but a similar version of the bag is selling for $119 on the brand’s website

‘The viewer who donated this bag said this was very stiff and “plasticky” — and I totally agree with her,’ Yilmaz said. 

After scraping off the bag’s pink coloring, he deduced that it is made out of buffalo leather with a ‘very heavy finish.’  

‘It’s a pretty common practice to offer a lot of color options,’ he explained. ‘They choose a pretty neutral base tone and heavily finish it on top to offer 20 different colors using the same base leather.’

The leather expert deduced that the satchel is made out of buffalo leather with a 'very heavy finish,' which allows the brand to offer multiple colorways using the same material

The leather expert deduced that the satchel is made out of buffalo leather with a 'very heavy finish,' which allows the brand to offer multiple colorways using the same material

The leather expert deduced that the satchel is made out of buffalo leather with a ‘very heavy finish,’ which allows the brand to offer multiple colorways using the same material 

Yilmaz also commended the construction, saying it appeared to be 'very sturdy'

Yilmaz also commended the construction, saying it appeared to be 'very sturdy'

Yilmaz also commended the construction, saying it appeared to be 'very sturdy'

Yilmaz also commended the construction, saying it appeared to be 'very sturdy'

Yilmaz also commended the construction, saying it appeared to be ‘very sturdy’

'The $80 that she paid for this seems like a very fair deal given it's made out of leather,' he said

'The $80 that she paid for this seems like a very fair deal given it's made out of leather,' he said

‘The $80 that she paid for this seems like a very fair deal given it’s made out of leather,’ he said

Yilmaz estimated that the total amount of buffalo leather cost $12 and the other materials such as the hardware were an additional $10. 

‘The $80 that she paid for this seems like a very fair deal given it’s made out of leather,’ he said. ‘It’s buffalo leather, not the greatest one, but still, it’s entirely leather.’

The leather expert also commended the construction, saying it appeared to be ‘very sturdy’ and ‘well made.’  

‘If I were to make this bag with my leathers that I like, it would cost me about $75 to $80, and my price point would be around $200,’ he added. 

Viewers insisted in the comments that the satchel must have been bought at a Kate Spade outlet because the brand’s handbags typically sell for a couple hundred dollars or more.   

Brooks Brothers – Genuine Leather Briefcase $299

Yilmaz slammed a briefcase bag from Brooks Brothers that his friend gave him to inspect after it started falling apart

Yilmaz slammed a briefcase bag from Brooks Brothers that his friend gave him to inspect after it started falling apart

Yilmaz slammed a briefcase bag from Brooks Brothers that his friend gave him to inspect after it started falling apart 

The bag in question is not currently listed on the brand's website, but it is available on Amazon for $299

The bag in question is not currently listed on the brand's website, but it is available on Amazon for $299

The bag in question is not currently listed on the brand's website, but it is available on Amazon for $299

The bag in question is not currently listed on the brand's website, but it is available on Amazon for $299

The bag in question is not currently listed on the brand’s website, but it is available on Amazon for $299

'The bag is labeled as "genuine leather," but that doesn't mean it's good leather,' Yilmaz pointed out

'The bag is labeled as "genuine leather," but that doesn't mean it's good leather,' Yilmaz pointed out

‘The bag is labeled as “genuine leather,” but that doesn’t mean it’s good leather,’ Yilmaz pointed out

Yilmaz explained in another video that a friend gave him his briefcase bag from Brooks Brothers to inspect after complaining that it was falling apart after just a year. 

The bag in question is not currently on the brand’s website, but it is available on Amazon for $299. 

The leather craftsman called the brand ‘crooks’ after cutting into the briefcase and realizing the only leather part is the main body of the bag. 

‘The bag is labeled as “genuine leather,” but that doesn’t mean it’s good leather,’ Yilmaz pointed out. 

The bag was made out of scraps that were covered with a plastic layer and embossed with a pattern, according to the expert. He also noted that handles and accents were fake leather

The bag was made out of scraps that were covered with a plastic layer and embossed with a pattern, according to the expert. He also noted that handles and accents were fake leather

The bag was made out of scraps that were covered with a plastic layer and embossed with a pattern, according to the expert. He also noted that handles and accents were fake leather

Yilmaz griped that 'they didn't even use the good type of foam as filler,' saying it was the type used for shipping

Yilmaz griped that 'they didn't even use the good type of foam as filler,' saying it was the type used for shipping

Yilmaz griped that 'they didn't even use the good type of foam as filler,' saying it was the type used for shipping

Yilmaz griped that 'they didn't even use the good type of foam as filler,' saying it was the type used for shipping

Yilmaz griped that ‘they didn’t even use the good type of foam as filler,’ saying it was the type used for shipping

'There are a lot of local and small craftsmen that work with that authentic leather you might be looking for - and you might save a lot of money,' he concluded. 'Choice is yours.'

'There are a lot of local and small craftsmen that work with that authentic leather you might be looking for - and you might save a lot of money,' he concluded. 'Choice is yours.'

‘There are a lot of local and small craftsmen that work with that authentic leather you might be looking for – and you might save a lot of money,’ he concluded. ‘Choice is yours.’

According to the expert, the bag was made out of scraps that were covered with a plastic layer and embossed with a pattern. 

‘It is basically the cheapest material you can find, and you can still call it leather,’ he explained. ‘The accent parts they use here and the bottom [are] not even leather. It’s what they call PU [polyurethane] leather. In other words, it’s fake leather.’

Yilmaz also noted that ‘they didn’t even use the good type of foam as filler,’ saying it was the type used for shipping. 

He concluded his video by noting that anyone who pays the premium price for the Brooks Brothers bag is paying for the brand’s status and not great leather. 

‘There are a lot of local and small craftsmen that work with that authentic leather you might be looking for — and you might save a lot of money,’ he said. ‘Choice is yours.’

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