News – The Intrepid Bag Co | Leather Bags and Accessories
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News
About The Intrepid Bag Co. Leather

The Fall season is upon us and our workshop is humming with activity as we produce our new line of items. When it comes to crafting leather goods, one of the most important things is, of course, the leather. Quality leather makes a big difference between a bag that will last you a year, and one that will last a lifetime. We spare no expense on our leathers and are extremely proud of the product. So check out the pictures below to learn about the 15,000+ decimeters of delicious Coffee leather and the 8,000+ decimeters of warm Mahogany leather currently being used in our workshop to make brand new bags for all our favorite people.

Leather hides waiting to become bags

Full Grain Leather, All Day.

There are a few interesting things to note with the leather we use in the construction of all of the Intrepid Bag Co.'s products. Our leather is a thick, high quality, full grain leather tanned with high grade oils to preserve the leather and protect it. Full grain leather is the best leather money can buy, and it ages beautifully with use. As you use the leather, the oils from your hands rub off on the leather naturally burnishing it. The more you handle the leather, the more unique it gets as it ages with you and takes on a unique patina all its own. Perhaps only 2% of leather bags on the market use genuine full grain leather like ours. It is expensive and difficult to work with, however it will last you a lifetime.

There are a few other kinds of leather out there- 'Top grain leather' is the second highest quality leather. It is leather that has been shaved down a bit and then sanded to remove any natural scars or marks. This technique is popular because it allows for lower quality hides to be used since the sanding and shaving process removes any blemishes. 'Genuine leather' is the third tier in terms of quality. This leather is made from whatever is left over after the top grains have been shaved off. Usually it is refinished to make it look better. It is commonly used as suede for lining bags as it is more durable than cloth but will not last long on the exterior of a bag. Lastly there is 'bonded leather' (yuck). This is essentially the press board of leather. It is the shavings and trimmings ground up, glued back together, and spray painted to look like an actual piece of leather. It is weak, degrades very quickly, and is used in many cheap bags and leather products.

Fully Tanned and Fully Dyed

Intrepid leather takes a good deal longer to produce than other leathers because we make sure it is both tanned and dyed all the way through. Tanning and dying is the process where you put oils and preservatives and color into the leather by tumbling it in gigantic tumblers for hours and hours. By doing this you prevent cracking, dryness, and degradation over time. However, this takes a long time. Our leather is tanned for anywhere from 10-20 hours to insure it is tanned 100% of the way through, and our tannery uses high-grade hypo-allergenic oils and preservatives to ensure premium results.

You can see this in the closeup below. Both the front and the back of the leather are richly dyed and tanned. Also, if you look closely at the edges, you can see that the color goes all the way through, and that it is a single piece of thick latigo saddle leather.

Dyed all the way through. Isn't it purty?

"Why is this interesting?," you might ask. Great question! To save money, many "luxury" leather companies use inferior leather that is only tanned on the outside 10% or so, leaving the inside to dry out and crumble. Kind of like putting a shiny coat of paint on a rust bucket of a car. Sometimes that leather is then spray painted on the edges and made up of multiple pieces of thin scrap leather glued and pressed together to fool the customer.

This kind of leather is much cheaper to purchase, easier to work with, and faster to produce. However, the lifespan of that leather is, well... about as long as it takes you to leave the store and lose your receipt. Additionally, it is often made in sweat shops in India or Bangladesh where the working conditions are horrendously dangerous, the workers poorly paid, and they are treated even worse. Not with us! We make sure everything is ethically sourced.

We've found, perhaps, one of the most expensive tanneries on the planet, personally inspected the working conditions, and discovered that they also boast one of the highest ratings in terms of environmental cleanliness and worker pay. Knowing this lets us sleep soundly at night, and hopefully you too!

Rich coffee leather soon to become Wayfarer and Journeyman bags

We are committed to making only heritage quality products with ethically sourced materials that will last a lifetime of adventure. Hence, the leather we use in our bags and products is only the best of the best of the best from the most reputable of sources.

Happy Adventures!

-S&T

P.S. In other news, our Journeyman Commuter bag was featured in print in the latest issue of CNET magazine! Pick up a copy wherever they sell magazines these days, and show your friends. :)

On Customer Satisfaction

One year ago on Kickstarter we promised you the best bags we could give in the Journeyman and the Lillium. We delivered, and the feedback has been incredible. Take a look at what some of our customers have to say about the bags:

 

After a fun weekend out in the city Nathaniel G. of Canada said that the Journeyman is a "Perfect balance of simplicity, function, and style; without any compromise. I forget I'm wearing it its so comfortable."

 

Tao of TaoWriter.com put it short and sweet, “From Fiji to LA to Salzburg, Austria, this bag rocks big time.”

Chris B. of Chicago, MA uses his Journeyman daily as he commutes to work saying, "I think these bags find the perfect balance between professional and casual.  I take mine to work everyday.  It fits my 15 inch laptop perfectly, and fits snugly enough that it doesn't get in the way during my train commute.  Worth every penny."

 

Garett S. got a Lillium for his wife as a gift and said, “Love is not a strong enough word for how much she likes it.”

 

Lori C. raved about her Lillium, saying, “This bag meets every promise made by Stephen & Tiffani. I am pleasantly surprised how much I can fit in it while still maintaining its sleek look. Thank you! I'm looking forward to taking it on an adventure soon.”



We really appreciated this letter from Crystel S. of the Bay Area, California, “I would like to thank you for the obvious attention put into the wonderfully convenient travel purse called the Lillium. I wasn't sure the slim design of the Lillium would hold all of my necessities, but it holds much more than I anticipated because of the well thought out design. It was also a relief to know my passport and credit cards were safely tucked away in the back zipper as I traveled through Korea and Nepal. The best part is the Lillium's versatile strap, which allows me to alternate between wearing around my hips or cross body.”



Now that's what we call Customer Satisfaction! It feels incredible to receive feedback on the products we are making. Do you have a story to tell? We’d love to hear from you about how your travels are going with Intrepid Bags in tow. We will be sure to feature them to the Intrepid community!

On Craftsmanship

"They just don't make em like they used to." This old adage holds true of almost everything these days. With the rise of mass production, synthetic materials, and the never-ending reach for the bottom line, good old fashioned craftsmanship has all but been forgotten in favor of the quick and the cheap.



This fact was made all the more real to us after a brief stint exploring the beautiful country of Turkey. There in the open fields you can walk amongst 3,000 year old buildings still standing (mostly) today. You can stand face to face with artistic sculptures and mosaics from antiquity giving living testimony to the craftsman of old who labored on them. The workers are long forgotten but their art lives forever. They built things to last in those days, hewing their legacy from the marble mountainsides, carving out their place in history with each skillful strike of hammer and chisel. As you can imagine, Turkey is the kind of place that leaves an impression.



While there we met one leather craftsman who's family has been in the leather industry for generations. Ali was his name and he was proudly carrying on the tradition in his shop in the small town of Selçuk on the outskirts of the ancient city of Ephesus. His shop is filled to the brim with every kind of trinket, bit, and bob to inspire the imagination. From exotic magic lamps swinging in the windows to Turkish archery equipment gathering dust in the corner, from handmade jewelry to jewel encrusted backgammon boards, from exquisitely handmade ottoman style shoes to beautiful unique leather bags. Naturally, we were drawn to these leather bags...



After a brief chat and a spot of tea (all social interactions are carried out over a cup of tea in Turkey) Ali disappeared for a moment and came back carrying a worn leather bag and a small smile peeking out the side of his mouth. "This is my most precious piece." he says proudly, eyes beaming. The bag itself was a gorgeously patinaed mahogany leather that betrayed its age. Hand stitched seams and hand placed hardware were showcased unabashedly with an intricately embossed bronze plate that was sewn onto the front. The leather shoulder strap was barely hanging on by a thread as a testimony to its heavy use through the years. I admitted it that it was  indeed quite beautiful and a most unique bag, which led me to ask just why it was so precious.



Ali told me the bag is over 40 years old. His grandfather made it by hand many years ago and sold it to one European man (possibly Henry Jones Sr.). "The man asked how long the bag would last, and my grandfather told him the bag would last forever," Ali told me matter of factly, and then sipped some tea. As the story goes- 40 years later the European man came back to Turkey looking for Ali's grandfather, only to find Ali instead. He told Ali that his grandfather had promised the bag would last forever but now it needed some repair. You see after four decades of use, the shoulder strap was starting to fray!

"I saw very quickly that this was my grandfather's work. The bronze plate on the front, not 10 people in Turkey can do it like this anymore." he said. Instead of repairing the bag Ali managed to convince the man to give it to him instead. Negotiate too long with a Turk and you'll end up either buying their grandmother for "a most excellent price" or giving them your own shirt and shoes. Let that be a lesson to you. After all, it was a piece of his family's history that had come back, and how often does that happen!



And there it was, a beautifully crafted leather bag made even more beautiful with age and use, built by his father's father using ancient knowledge passed down by even older generations. There is a legacy for you!

As craftsman we aren't just making products, we are building a legacy. Like the craftsman of old it is not just work, it is art. Whatever it is we are creating, we can make it "good enough" or we can build so as to weather the test of time, crafting a legacy one piece at a time. Though Intrepid Bag Co is little more than a year old at this time, our legacy is just beginning and this is the attitude we bring to every product we make and every happy customer we give it to. Because our legacy isn't just in our bags, it's in the lives and adventures of those who use them.

Happy adventures!

They're here... The Journeyman Has Arrived!

Happy to announce that the first production run of the Journeyman has arrived! We are shipping them out as I speak to our lucky Kickstarters and preorder customers. They should be arriving very shortly on your doorsteps!

After months and months of work, it feels so good to finally have the products in our hands and to be shipping them out to you dear friends. The look fantastic, feel luxurious, and smell spectacular! Tiffani and I both can't wait to hear about your many adventures with your new Journeyman bags.

Also we are happy to inform you that the Lillium bags are being produced as I speak, and we will have a confirmed shipping date for them very shortly. Due to the unique design and complexity of the Lillium, there were a few hiccups in getting the first run production set up. However, we’ve ironed everything out and all is running smoothly now.

Stay tuned for an update soon when the Lillium bags arrive and start to be shipped out!