The products need to perform.
Before being beautiful or light or heavy or durable, they need to fulfill their intended design purpose.
If a bag doesn't perform, there's no reason to make it.
When you're riding, the last thing you want to think about is your carry system.
I source the best materials I can find at the time, regardless of cost, for their intended application.
Waxed canvas, canvas and Xpac come from the east coast.
ABS and Poly components are typically USA made, sometimes not.
My solid brass hardware and nickel plated solid brass hardware comes from who knows where, but it works.
My leather is from Napa, sometimes from the shop on 17th Street. Mostly US, sometimes Mexico or Europe.
Made in the USA is important to me, well-made is more important.
Xpac is fun to work with. It has opened up a lot of design dimensions that are not possible with canvas.
It is amazingly lightweight, especially for larger bags, typically yielding a significantly lighter weight finished product.
Canvas and leather is the heart and soul of bagmaking. It's the craft. You have to love it to do it.
There is nothing that comes close to the feel of canvas during fabrication.
Working with leather is an art. I have great respect for leather workers and wish I could spend more time developing my leather skills. Leather has a fantastic feel and will work with you. You can convince it to do things that other materials won't do. It's organic.
Leather is unforgiving.
You only get one chance with leather, so don't fuck up.
My first workshop was five blocks from our apartment, it was great until it flooded with 3 feet of sewage water.
The second was a communal workshop one neighborhood over, it was fine.
The current communal workspace is about ten blocks from our apartment and two blocks from my sons school, it's great.
I would love to share a work/retail space with a cobbler, bike shop or frame builder.
At some point, I'll make shoes.