A note from the founder.
The corner had worn out, the leather body separated from the inside lining and I had replaced it a week after that, but unfortunately I am the type of person who lacks the ability to throw anything away. It sat on my dresser for a few weeks until my curiosity and its lack of utility intersected. So that was how, on a hot summer afternoon in 2010, I found myself sitting at a table ripping apart seams on a small wallet I had lying about.
After some ado I was looking at the individual pattern pieces of what had just previously been a very expensive billfold. There were nineteen of them. Nineteen! Each card “slot” was actually a cloth piece with a half-inch of leather trim on top layered on the one below. The wallet had lasted for a couple years, and before the wear out I had no real complaints. Looking at all the pieces though and thinking about all the seams I had just spent a frustrating twenty minutes ripping out, I was surprised it had been so sturdy to begin with. How naïve I was. I would soon find that not only was this construction method a standard in the industry, it was actually desired by consumers.
Layering multiple materials is a hallmark attribute of a well-made leather or cloth good for a few reasons. For starters, it’s an effective way of minimizing the innate weight of luxury materials. For example, leather with enough body to stand up to substantial abuse is going to be heavy, and a bag made entirely of that one material would therefore be very heavy. However by layering leather, a thin cloth liner, and a stiffener in between, it is possible to achieve a similar aesthetic with a substantially lighter gage top piece. Making the end result far lighter while only marginally sacrificing durability. For a long time that balance of quality and weight was only attainable by the highest order of worker. The craftsmen capable of highly precise assembly have become irreplaceable to the process and a point of pride for consumers.
Firmly rooted in the idea that the highest quality good is only created by a single superlative craftsman, the highest echelon of fashion firms have utterly failed to innovate their production methods. Further, the decisions of these firms have gone so far as to greatly disadvantage the modern consumer. Tack Hardwear is on a reclamation path, taking back sacred ground abandoned, or never claimed at all by our forefathers in fashion.
In the early 1900’s a man named Henry established a car company in Dearborn, Michigan. To a layman, over night the Ford Motor Company was on every street corner. Churning out new models as fast as people could buy them, Ford gave wheels to the American Dream. At the time it wasn’t widely understood that the real marvel of the Michigan upstart wasn’t just the Model T, their first commercially available automobile, but how they made it. Ford simplified and broke down processes into manageable portions to be performed one after another on a line. This model for production truncated what once took hours into minutes. Today the assembly line is the acknowledged standard production method across many industries, save one. Fashion.
Make no mistake, both the apparel and the entry-level echelon of the luggage market have figured it out. Which is why Jansport bags are available across the USA and Levis jeans are the standard uniform of the American youth. Yet, the luggage and accessories segment has yet to catch on and remains, for the most part, where it was 100 years ago. Many would have you believe that this senseless stagnation is because craftsmen are necessary to create truly special personal effects, and the craft process takes unavoidable time. They are misguided. There is a better way.
By enabling our craftsmen with the most cutting edge tools on the market, designing our products with a materials first approach, and embracing modern production techniques we can offer the same quality of goods as the established firms. The very same processes that are used to make an item by an individual are broken apart and distributed to a team, just as Ford did all those years ago. These unique positions, paired with our direct to consumer approach, enable us to be capable of fulfilling an order from click to ship in a single business day. This is no small feat and is made possible by no less than six weeks of frontloading raw materials and a readily scalable price model directly relative to real time consumer demand. Because of the considerable obstacles facing us, we by necessity produce everything here in the USA where we can adequately monitor our production lines and ensure timely shipping.
All those obstacles however amount to an incredible opportunity. We are making things of the highest quality on the shortest time lines. That means two things; first far less waste is involved in our production. Because were not producing huge quantities of items for big box stores or retailers we haven’t any need for sales or other inventory reduction mechanisms. Second, we have to ability to interact with you, the consumer. For the first time in Fashion YOU dictate what thread color binds your personal effect, what material it’s made of, and it therefore is elevated from something we made to something you commissioned.
Robert Frost once spoke of two paths found in a dark wood. I am here to tell you that there is a well-worn path of layering materials and over indulged craft processes. A path that entails high waste and astronomical price tags, to say nothing of mind numbing lead times. I am also here to tell you that Tack Hardwear is on the path less traveled, and it will make all the difference.