In what seems like a long time ago, in a galaxy far away, I was a lawyer. Over the years, I carried a variety of leather (and not-so-leather) briefcases. Inevitably, they would fall apart every couple of years and need to be replaced. It didn’t seem to matter how much I spent, the result was always the same. I knew this wasn’t right, but didn’t know why it kept happening.
One day, while writing a blog post for a legal site, I came across some old pictures of lawyers with leather briefcases. The pictures were probably taken in the 1940’s. The bags looked amazing, like nothing on the market today. They were solid looking, with a minimal design aesthetic. The kind of bag you picture a lawyer carrying in an old movie.
Over the years, I had met older lawyers who carried that kind of briefcase. It was usually a bag they had carried for decades and they would often reference it in their “war stories.” I had always heard that leather goods used to be made differently and built to last. So I set out to learn why.
I found a couple of vintage bags online and ordered them. They were roughly 75+ years old. Yet, when they arrived, they looked about 10-15 years old. I couldn’t believe it. This began my long and winding odyssey to deconstruct how these bags were made and create high quality leather bags for modern use.
The old school bags used full grain vegetable tanned leather and so do we. To learn more about leather grades and vegetable tanning, click the links. The short version is that full grain leather is the highest grade you can get – the strongest hide with all its layers intact and the most character. Vegetable tanning has been around for centuries and is the most environmentally friendly way of tanning. It’s often used in the equestrian industry. All of our hides are made from strong North American steers, the best hides you can get.
We use a variety of weights (thicknesses) on the Briefcase. The weights range from 4-5oz. leather to 9-10oz. and in between. Each thickness has a special purpose for the Briefcase, whether it’s flexibility, strength or shape. By comparison, most mass-market bags are made of cheap, thin leather, sometimes only 3oz. thick.
The backside of our leather is finished as well. This is important because it allows us to leave the bags unlined like the old school bags.
This is an area where the Briefcase really shines, no pun intended (okay, maybe it was intended). We use solid antique brass hardware throughout. Brass is considered the strongest and best type of hardware to use for a bag like this. And the antique finish gives it a really cool look that pairs well with the leather.
All of our hardware is functional. You won’t find cheap, fake closures. When you lift the hardware and work with it, you’ll find it feels rock solid. Yet, the bag as a whole isn’t heavy. I wanted solid hardware to pair with this thick leather. The combination exudes quality and durability.
By comparison, most mass-market bags use cheap hardware made of other metals or even plastic/composite materials that don’t hold up in the long run.
We use heavy gauge bonded nylon thread. This thread is considered the gold standard in leather work for its strength. Nylon thread has long been used in military parachutes and other uses that require high strength. Nylon is stronger than linen/cotton or polyester thread. And it’s the type of thread used in many of the old school bags that have stood the test of time.
Handcrafted in our American factory, we use quality/redundant stitching techniques that ensure the stitching will hold up long term.
While the Briefcase has a clean design aesthetic, there was a lot of thought that went into each detail.
We use a double gusset construction method. This refers to the side panels that continue around and underneath the bag. This type of construction has stood the test of time and is consistent with how the old school bags were constructed.
The top of the bag features a double layered carrying handle with a rounded piece of leather for comfort. The handle attachment points, as well as the shoulder strap attachment points are triple layer reinforced, including on the underside of the flap. So when you fill this bag to the brim and pick it up, it maintains its shape and durability.
The shoulder strap is padded and thick, using 9-10oz. leather for durability and to minimize stretching.
The back of the bag features a full width newspaper pocket. We’ve added a header to the pocket that helps minimize stretching.
We’ve finished the edges of the bag with a high quality edge finish that gives it a luxury look and promotes long term durability.
Inside the bag, you’ll find two main compartments with a variety of generously sized pockets for phone, pens, business cards, etc.
Because of the double gusset design, this bag expands with your needs and, at 6” deep, it can hold a lot. At 17” wide, it can handle most any laptop/tablet size.
Simply put, this bag is unique because it offers all of the above at a price point that is unheard of. Our competitors that make bags of this caliber, that include the above, charge at least $900-$1,500. We’re able to offer a bag like this because of our unique business model.
Apart from the numbers, this Briefcase is a unique design – there is no other bag quite like it on the market. We think it’s something truly special and we hope you do too.
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