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Interview for The Holborn Mag

How did Holdall & Co start? 

I did fashion design at university and I left wanting to be a designer. But I then went on and worked for a number of friends buying products and managing websites. Over this time, actually from the start of university, I have been collecting old bags, luggage and cases. Then it came to me – wouldn’t it be good to buy a quality British made product, but at the start of it’s life, unlike all the vintage pieces I had been collecting. I wanted to start creating a little story with a new product, an item I could pass down to my kids, that would last and wouldn’t fall apart like the very old pieces I had been gathering.

The business followed and the project came on very naturally, from finding people with these traditional skills, using old-age techniques, and finding quality materials that would last. My background was in fabrics and working with leather was an entirely different beast, I had to start hand stitching thick cardboard to just get a feel for it. In the end it took eight months of work to get the right people, the right materials and the right design.

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After all that searching where did you find those elusive craftsmen and set up base?

You have to be part of the industry already to know where these people are. So when we started we had to knock on a lot of doors and we travelled up and down the country looking. Eventually we found a company just thirty minutes from our door in Northamptonshire. They to our surprise were just a team of two using age old skills working with British tools and machines. 

The leather industry is not what it was in Northampton - after so many factories shut down in the Eighties and Nineties, it is a shadow of its former self. There is now a renewed interest and there are around forty factories doing good business. Though as the leather industry in Northamptonshire has always been focused around shoe making, we are pretty sure that on our side of the trade our craftsman are some of the last people making in this way in the UK.

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How has been getting your products out there been over the first two years?

We’ve encounter the usual challenges of being an online brand. Our sales have been growing and they are quite consistently 50/50 between UK sales and International sales. We have found that in particular US, Asian and German customers have responded strongly to the fact that it isn’t just about provenance – but marrying that with great craftsmanship and a quality finished product.

Things are changing in the UK – we are still undergoing a re-education here after being used to cheap fast fashion for so long. People are starting to understand why our products cost what they do and how they differ from the high street. They understand they don’t have to throw away a product – that it can last and even get better with age.

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Tell us about the leather you use.

It is full grain vegetable dyed leather – it’s the top layer, like the top layer of your skin it’s very strong. Meaning you can see all the growth marks and the life of the cow – it is the leather that ages best, is the strongest and will develop a great patina.

Alot of designer brands and design houses don’t use this type of leather, they will use cheaper leather that allow them to achieve a level of uniformity in their products and a clean aesthetic. The further down the skin you go the cheaper the leather gets and the more fat is involved- it's why many products can claim to be ‘real leather’ despite the fact they are really just using the waste product from the process, which they then chemically treat.

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What were the design considerations for the collection? 

We were looking for something simple and classic, the designs were then 1930s inspired as we went for a traditional underarm document case. The classic uncomplicated design made the production easier and allowed me to make them for an affordable price with the materials I was using. By picking a timeless design we wanted to avoid the product looking ten years old in ten years times. They are made with the view to last a lifetime and beyond.

With the sizing we have designed with modern life in mind, so they will fit your tablet, laptops and Monocle magazines in – but we haven’t designed them specifically for them. As they are designed to last a long time alot of these gadgets won’t be around later in the bags life, but it is still appropriate and functional for today.

 

Interview by Morgan Hamilton-Griffin at www.theholbornmag.com

Garcon Jon - Father's Day Gifts

GarçonJon is a menwear style & fashion blog by Jonathan Daniel Pryce, an award winning street & fashion photographer.

He has picked his favourite gift ideas for Father's Day, which includes our 12" Organised folio in Black.

"As my Father's new obsession is his iPad, it's about time to get him a great cover for it. This Holdall and Co folio is the perfect size and will also fit a Monocle and wallet - perfect for a meeting."

Shop : http://www.holdallandco.com/collections/12-folios/products/12-classic-folio-black

 

 

Read more from GarconJon here: http://www.garconjon.com

Mademoiselle Robot

Mademoiselle Robot aka Laetitia recently featured our 12" Organised folio on her blog. She said:

"The Holdall & Co folio. Why is it exciting? Well, first I would encourage you to look at it up close: it is a beautiful bag, handmade in England from thick navy bridle leather. It is unisex, fits an iPad and more bits in this size (and there is a larger one that will fit your laptop)." 

Shop: http://www.holdallandco.com/collections/12-folios/products/12-classic-folio-mid-blue

Read more from Mademoiselle Robot here: http://www.mademoisellerobot.com

 

The Financial Times Gift Guide

Our 12" folios were featured in the Financial Times How To Spend It Gift Guide.

Blog De Luxe

Victor Philpott of Blog De Luxe took his 14" Professional Folio to London Fashion Week, here's what he had to say:
My first day was full of shows and running around but more on that later… In this post we are focusing on Day 1′s outfit which featured my beloved Marella, inspector style jacket paired with my brand new Holdall & Co folio which facilitated in me attending as many shows as possible due to the ease of use that the one pocket, organising system enabled. It also helped me protect my cherished gadgets including my multiple phones and my iPad. I spruced up the classic look of this traditional folio with a Hockley fox tail in a bright neon orange which seemed to bring the whole look together!"
Read more from Blog De Luxe here: http://blogdeluxe.net

Buffalo Dandy

"The case is perfect for carrying a few business cards to that holiday work mixer, and the subtle elegance is sure to make a lasting impression on anyone who happens to lay eyes on it. The case could easily double as a wallet, but with all the cards I have to carry these days, I didn’t want it to get wrecked and thought it was too nice to use as my every day wallet. If you’re looking for quality made, beautifully crafted yet affordable leather goods, I highly recommend checking out Holdall & Co’s new line."

Grey Fox Blog; review of our new wallets.

Our new Cardfold and Wallet was developed with the help from Grey Fox readers, so who better to review our Chestnut wallet than the man himself. This is what David had to say;

"Rai Navickaite of Holdall & Co has developed beautiful leather wallets and cardfolds. Her designs take into account the views of customers, many Grey Fox readers, obtained by questionnaire. The result has been that both items are very slim in size. I've been using a wallet for weeks and have found it ideal as it's slim shape doesn't show or place a strain on the pockets of jackets, jeans or trousers."

Rai gave me more information, as follows:

When I did the questionnaire the general feedback was that a wallet must be slim and fit in their jacket/suit pocket, yet have enough space to fit different currency notes (for when traveling) and space for 2-4 cards.

The other thing that everyone agreed on was that they wanted it made from good quality leather because they want it to be durable, as wallets get so much use. The other points where that they wanted the design to be simple, fuss-free and have no branding on the outside - preferably it shouldn't cost more than £100.

Some mentioned they own two wallets for day and night (as most only wanted to take a few cards with them), which is why I launched the wallet and cardfold, to allow a choice but kept them really affordable so that both could be purchased for only £90.

All of the products are 100% made in England by the same craftsmen that make the folios, using the same leather so that they'd match and be just as durable and handsome.

The result of this market research is a slimline wallet you can carry in your trouser, jacket or suit pocket. With its hand burnished and stained edges this wallet is refreshingly simple - a minimalist dream. It fits up to three cards in each card slot and first a wide range of international notes with ease, all without stretching or weighing down your pockets.

The cardfold fits up to 3 cards in each card slot; the slots take Oyster cards, business cards and folded notes as easily, making this a useful case all without stretching or weighing down your pockets.

Both items are made from full grain naturally tanned leather with hand burnished and stained edges (a true mark of craftsmanship). Each wallet and cardfold gets inspected and polished by hand before being shipped out in British made gift boxes (with traditionally applied-by-hand wax seal) and tied with twine.