FRANKLIN, Tenn., Sept. 21, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- A former lawyer-turned-briefcase maker is on a mission to make heirloom quality leather goods attainable. And he's doing it by manufacturing them right here in America.
Jackson Wayne Leather Goods founder Andrew Lynch is a former lawyer who carried his share of briefcases over the years. He found it frustrating that most leather bags are cheaply made and essentially disposable, or they are obscenely expensive. "I got tired of feeling like I was basically renting my briefcase because I had to replace it every couple of years," said Lynch. "Yet, I couldn't wrap my head around spending $1,000 to $2,000 for a bag, even if it meant higher quality," he said.
So Lynch set out to solve that dilemma. He grew up in Iowa spending time on his grandfather's cattle ranch. Heirloom quality leather goods were always around and he developed an appreciation for old school American craftsmanship. When he decided to start manufacturing bags, he wanted to make them in America, but assumed that wouldn't be possible.
"I experimented with overseas manufacturing early on during product development," said Lynch. "And what I found was that the final costs are very similar for a premium product. Sure, the labor costs are less in developing countries, but there are other costs involved in quality inspections, testing, defect rates, import fees, and shipping," he said. Lynch wrote more about that here.
Lynch says that you have to compare apples to apples to really understand the costs in manufacturing. Most overseas manufacturers have developed extreme cost cutting measures to compete. As a result, he says, the cheap mass-market leather bags we're used to are typically made of poor quality materials with planned obsolescence in mind. "If an overseas manufacturer makes a bag like we do using full grain vegetable tanned leather, heavy gauge thread, redundant stitching techniques and solid hardware, the cost is far higher even overseas," explained Lynch.
At the other end of the spectrum are designer label brands that charge $1,000 to $2,000+ for a leather briefcase. Lynch discovered that the bulk of that price is inflated through Keystone Pricing - the markup most retailers use, which triples or quadruples the price. "The current retail system for leather bags is clogged with middlemen that make Keystone Pricing necessary for everyone to get their cut," Lynch said.
Jackson Wayne is creating a new path. Based in historic Franklin, Tennessee, they manufacture their leather bags in America, using only the finest full grain vegetable tanned leather. Less than 10% of the world's leather is produced this way. Most people have never experienced this caliber of leather. By selling directly to consumers online, Jackson Wayne is making heirloom quality leather goods attainable. Their product line includes briefcases, messenger bags, duffle bags, totes, wallets and more.
SOURCE Jackson Wayne, LLC