- Buyer's Guide
A return to craft
5 craft based carry makers
Does anyone actually know what crab sticks are made from? The highly refined white flesh has lost all semblance to whatever creatures it originated from. Crab sticks can fill a hole, but you certainly don’t feel wonderful after their consumption.
Notice any similarities with the product world?
As carry goods have been refined and outsourced and mass produced, we’ve started to create carry crab sticks. But it does not have to be this way, and the five carry makers we look at here are proving that product can still have soul…
You’ll see patterns amongst these fab five. When you care this much about product, you also end up caring about the planet and your customers. Vegetable tanned leathers, raw finishes and edges, revealed pattern work, and imperfect stitching reminds us of what Picasso said, “It’s the mistakes that make it interesting”.
More: A nice interview at A Continuous Lean
Jason Gregory used to be part of the mainstream, mass produced world, but then fled to found Makr. In his words, “It was conceived in nostalgia, nourished through new technology and has matured with a return to traditional craft.”
Makr is heavily influenced by tradition, but with a modern Californian flavour and freshness to the brand. Their Button Tote is clean yet rugged, their wallets are a staple amongst the EDC community, and their new iPad case is one of our favourites. Oh, and check out their blog – it’s pure eye candy.
Newsletter (no blog): http://www.tannergoods.com/pages/newsletter
More: A great interview and images on Hypebeast
Perhaps akin to the way Born Agains are often the most fervent Christians, many of the ‘Craft Agains’ have escaped from mass market goods to become devout followers of craft traditions. Mark and Sam are in that vein, loving the actual production as well as the design.
Based in Portland (one of the most creative cities in the world), they source all their vegetable tanned hides from within the US, and make the products in their studio on traditional equipment. Their card holders and wallets display really original patterns, their eyeglass case is really fun, and while thick, their leathers will last a lifetime.
More: There’s a beautiful video about Billykirk on The Scout.
Chris and Kirk Bray are some pretty talented brothers, crafting really sweet carry goods for over a decade. These days, the goods are put together by Amish leather makers in the US, so it’s about as traditional as you can get.
While they started in watch straps, the current range sees the typical mix of belts, bags, wallets and leather accessories. For us, their bags are the highlight, but the wallets and card cases are also pretty rad. Well worth a check.
More: The Design Files had a great write up of this Victorian based brand
We now leave the US, and head down to the south east corner of Australia. Tailfeather is the newest brand in this list, but the work that Scottie and Natalia do is really timeless.
While the labour intensive wallets have had the widest circulation so far, it’s their Hawk Owl totes that we really drool after. Their studio amongst the bush is also their production shed, and styles are available with incredible laser etched illustrations.
Blog: None. Too busy hand dying all their threads.
More: The Temono About page covers a number of the bases
Our last brand is perhaps the most craft based of them all. Temono is an amazing little label, based not far from Tailfeather (in Melbourne).
The son of a saddle maker, Jarren has grown up surrounded by leather craft, and it shows in the product. There’s incredible experimentation with leathers, colours and treatments, and a really honest approach to the constructions. You cannot buy stock of Temono products, rather they are made to order with every customer selecting the combination of style, leathers and thread that they most desire. That sounds expensive, but considering the amazing kangaroo and hand-selected hides you can have, it’s phenomenal value.