Online retailer Owen & Fred came onto the scene in 2012, offering a handsomely edited arrangement of manly things from grooming essentials and gear to accessories like belts, socks and wallets. Everything was handsome, made with integrity and crafted here in the United States. The item that really put them on the map with stylish gents was their personalized luggage tag. Made from premium vegetable tanned leather and secured with a stainless steel cable, the popular tags got founder Mike Arnot thinking about creating his own line of bags. After countless prototypes and road tests, the result is a collection of solidly built bags that are as adaptable as they are affordable. The brand has just launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the production, so we caught up with Arnot to learn more about the line.
We found it odd that a company like ours makes very famous little luggage tags, but not actual luggage. When we started to explore our own line of bags, we realized that you can choose between high quality or an affordable price—and never both. And the big fashion companies are marking up their bags a lot for not a lot of design-related reasons. We knew we could make bags here in the US, with high-quality materials and construction, and keep the price affordable. Really affordable.
The bags are made of three types of material: canvas, nylon cordura and leather. The canvas is sourced from Fairfield Textiles, and is an incredibly durable 18 oz. duck canvas. It's been around for a long time in the marine industry. The inside of our bags are made from Cordura, which is a go-to fabric that is lightweight and has great water repellence. It also feels good. We added leather touches because a leather grip is important for when you're carrying stuff around. It'll mold to your hand over time.
The hardest part had to be not compromising on the design process. Choosing and narrowing down every element from the fabric to colorway options, and the final look of the bags, all the while paying incredibly close attention to cost. These bags will not sneak over $100, ever.
We've been pretty lucky to work with some of the best manufacturers in the United States, and we have a good sense of what can go wrong on a project and how to avoid it. We have a pretty good process in place to vet ideas and work with manufacturers, along with quality assurance and final checks. But most importantly, I think we're coming into our own with our aesthetic and design.