We’ve been designing our leather bags for over 10 years and have never really shared our story. A lot goes into the process from finding inspiration, to creating something as functional as it is stylish and lastly, making sure it is top quality so our you, our customers can enjoy it for years to come. As some of you might know, Carl first found an old leather school satchel at a market whilst traveling through India, taken by the style and quality of something so old, he wanted to create something similar. He found expert craftsmen in India who made a small batch of traditional leather satchels for him. Fast forward 10 years later, and we still work with the same artisans in India. We continue to make our classic leather satchel, but you’ll know that we’ve expanded our range of bags immensely.
We have a pretty small team which is spearheaded by Carl, design meetings are frequent where we discuss existing bag designs, customer feedback and look at things we can improve on. Then the exciting meetings come and we discuss a possible theme or collection of what we’d like to do next. It’s a balance, but ultimately the most important thing is, is that we stay true to who we are as a brand whilst creating something new for our customers. Alongside Carl, we have Katie-our marketing manager, who worked for years in fashion in New York doing merchandising and management for a major NY fashion designer. And Georgia-our buying manager, who went to college for fashion and merchandising. With both their backgrounds, they are able to bring new styles/ideas of bags that are on trend without being trendy and most importantly classic designs that will stand the test of time. They both understand what Carl has created and are equally passionate about his goals and have adopted his vision for another successful 10 years.
Once we start meeting about the next new collection we want to launch, we of course look for inspiration and we all come to the table with ideas. This year we have been very inspired, aesthetically, by utilitarian, outdoor, military, rustic bags and moved by accomplishments of pioneers of decades past. Since it’s our 10 year anniversary this year, we thought that incorporating the idea of paying tribute to the past us, as well as looking towards the future was the perfect combination and represents exactly where we are today as a brand. So we asked ourselves, what is a modern pioneer? We found answers once we started designing. A modern pioneer or urban pioneer even, isn’t someone who necessarily has to reinvent the wheel, but rather, someone who does things their own way, makes their own impression. Someone who draws inspiration from the past and uses that in their modern everyday life.
We take pride in knowing where our leather comes and that’s one of the reasons we keep working with the same artisans. Rather than going around looking for the best price in leather, we know that our ethical standards are always meet with whom we source from. This means however, that sometimes our designs are great impacted by the leather available, so we’ll spend a of time choosing the right leather for the right bag.
Carl will most times bring leather samples back from India and describe the differences and advantages to some over the others. As some might know, we make most of our bags from our original Hunter leather because one, it has a tight grain which means it is somewhat weather proof. Two, it’s tanned in an eco-friendly way and three, it not dyed, so each bag is truly original because no two pieces of Hunter leather ever look the same.
Once we have samples made in the correct leather, then the functional part of the design process begins. We start to ask questions, like will it fit certain size laptops, are straps the right length and well as you can imagine, this takes a very long time! Once we have all these questions answered, then we’ll get more samples made and more, until it’s right.
Bags are sometimes easier than accessories, as technology changes so quickly, we must stay on top of what people carry around with them and will it fit. And yes, we still hand draw designs!
One of the great things about Carl is that he really values everyone’s opinion, so after the initial design stages we’ll all sit down in a team meeting with everyone from the company and go over the new bags. It’s a neat time because we get to hear what people think from their perspective; being a mom, dad, someone who travels or someone who hates taking off a backpack to get inside….then we’ll make even more changes. This is important because everyone, from our warehouse manager to our accountant have a part in creating something and we truly feel like a little family.
As you can see, this is indeed your first glance at our NEW SS16 collection, which will be available from April 10th. It is very different from anything we’ve done, as it combines canvas and leather. We’ll of course be sharing more and more pictures with you as we get closer to our launch date, but let us know your initial thoughts.