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American Veg Tan Leather Bags: Weekender, Briefcase, Laptop Bag, Tote, Crossbody, Belt, Bifold, Travel Wallet, Pocket Wallet
American Veg Tan Leather Bags: Weekender, Briefcase, Laptop Bag, Tote, Crossbody, Belt, Bifold, Travel Wallet, Pocket Wallet
96 backers pledged $16,135 to help bring this project to life.
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Hand Stitched Artisan Leather Bags Made in USA by Black Bear

$16,135

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What is a prototype?

A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:

Proof of Concept

Explorations that test ideas and functionality.

Functional Prototype

Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.

Appearance Prototype

Looks like the final product, but is not functional.

Design Prototype

Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.

Production Prototype

Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.

Project supporting material callout image

Prototype Gallery

These photos and videos provide a detailed look at this project’s development.

We Reached $13,000! All pledges will receive a customizable keychain. If you pledged for a keychain, you will receive an extra customizable keychain. 

Black Leather option added to all products. If you'd like any of the Working Set in Black, just go ahead and pledge. At the conclusion of the campaign, we will send out surveys to determine your color preference. (Unfortunately, pictures of the pieces in Black are not available.) 

The $10,000 stretch goal has been reached! All pledges from the Hepburn Crossbody and above will receive a bottle of Leather Conditioner with their pledge reward. 

  • The Story
  • The Making
  • The Project
  • The Rewards
  • The Schedule
  • The Creative Process
  • Campaign Goals
  • Artisan Vegetable Tanned Leather
  • American Made Leather and the Environment

The Story

My name is John 'Michael' Glick. Everyone calls me Michael. 

That's me: Michael
That's me: Michael

I am a professional leather crafter. Making and selling my leather goods is my full time job and has been so for two and half years. I am 33. In my life before discovering my love and passion for leather craft, I gave the 9 to 5 office life a real shot. I went to college in DC for Political Science and Communications. Out of college, I worked as a staffer on Capitol Hill for two years. But I never felt that I fit as a Hill staffer. And after the Hill, I worked for a statewide political organization. And as it was on the Hill, it just wasn't right for me. So, I left the office desk behind and explored different entrepreneurial avenues: real estate, furniture, remodeling. But I never found the right formula (aka I failed/pivoted a lot.). Until after years of trial and error, I found leather.

That's me: On top of the Capitol Dome
That's me: On top of the Capitol Dome

So, at 28 years old, I try my hand at making something out of leather. From the moment I put knife to leather, I was in love. For the first time in my life, I was lost in a project. Time evaporated, the world around me ceased to exist outside of what I created with leather. It felt like I was born to do this, and that I had finally found what I was missing. It wasn’t until a few weeks after this epiphany, as I sat with my grandfather by his fireplace, that he told me of our family’s lost leather crafting legacy. 

This is my Grandfather: Founder of Black Bear Structures
This is my Grandfather: Founder of Black Bear Structures

My grandfather grew up Amish, a well known fact to me. But I never knew that there was a legacy of leather craft, generations deep. My grandfather learned leather craft by the side of his father, as did his father before him. The talent and skill of leather crafting passed from father to son for three generations, until my grandfather left the Amish church to explore his spirituality without constraint. With my grandfather's separation from the Amish came the rift in our family’s leather crafting lineage. For fifty years, leather was lost to us. As my hands and mind found an honest place to work together in harmony each day, the rift began to mend. Call it genetic predisposition, cosmic irony or simply coincidence. I know that my love of the craft is profound, and I have great pride in knowing that the legacy of the craft runs so deep in my blood. 

(My Great Grandfather’s name was John Glick. So, in homage to him, I like to include my first name, John, when speaking about my business.) 

Fast forward two and half years, and I am selling Black Bear leather goods, full time! I started with a small workshop and retail space at a popular tourist destination in Lancaster County. But that wasn't enough for me. Soon after, I found the Eastern Market on Capitol Hill. From the very first day at Eastern Market, I knew I found my home. The response was tremendous.

The Black Bear Leather Shop in Lancaster Tourist Country (aka: Intercourse, Pa)
The Black Bear Leather Shop in Lancaster Tourist Country (aka: Intercourse, Pa)

So, for the past two years, every Saturday and Sunday morning, I wake up before dawn, to drive two and a half hours, from my home in the small urban oasis of Lancaster City, to set up my pop up shop at the Eastern Market in Washington DC.. 

This is my Market Pop Up Setup
This is my Market Pop Up Setup

And every weekend, at Eastern Market, I have the opportunity to turn a 10 foot by 10 foot spot on a city street, into my very own shop. Here, I have the ability to connect personally with each and every customer. I get to explain each product. I get to tell them about the leather. I get to talk about how I make a piece. I get to talk about the design. I get to talk to people about my passion. And I can’t think of anything more rewarding than when a customer sees the beauty in the pieces that I create, they hear the passion in my voice, they feel the value of the product with their own two hands, and they are willing to give me their hard earned money to purchase my creations. And each and every sale I make is proof for the countless hours that I have spent learning my craft and building my business. Each and every Black Bear product that I sell is a small token of honor and respect to my ancestors as well as their legacy. 

Today, my workshop is no longer in Amish tourist country. I create in a collective maker’s space and retail shop Building Character. Building Character is set in an old urban brick warehouse, complete with exposed brick and giant beams. I have an awesome part time apprentice, Pam, who is learning fast and very much wanting to go full time. I get to walk to work every day, with my pup, Super, along the streets of an old American city (est. 1742) that was recently referred to as a ‘national model for civic engagement’ by Thomas Friedman in the NY Times.

This is Awesome Apprentice Pam
This is Awesome Apprentice Pam

The Making

When we first receive a 'side*' of leather we unroll and inspect the leather. 
Each side of leather has a different grain. The strongest part of the side is along the back. Thus, each section is chosen to best suit a particular product.  

When we decide how to utilize every aspect of the side, we go to work meticulously measuring and cutting. When the measuring and cutting is complete, we put together each piece for each particular product. 

Next with the pieces for this particular product, we meticulously measure and mark each rivet hold. Then at each rivet mark we hammer a hole through the leather using a hollowed metal spike. 

Next we trace lines for stitching along the edges. With these lines we use a six armed spike to drive holes through the leather. Next, we hand stitch waxed polyester thread (made in Maine) through each of the holes. This takes a long time. 

Hand stitching is the strongest stitch. We hand stitch each bag along each high pressure point. High pressure points are generally where the hardware is attached to the bag. These high pressure points include: the handle, handle connectors, handle base, side strap connector, front strap buckles, backpack rings, interior pockets and anywhere else that it might be needed.

Then we put in the rivets. The rivets are solid copper. They come in two pieces. A spike and a doughnut. The spike goes through the rivet holes. The spike is slightly cone shaped. The doughnut goes over the exposed spike, and is hammered into the spikes wider base, locking the leather in between. Next, the excess copper spike is trimmed down with a heavy nail cutter, leaving just enough left over for the next step. The next step is the excess copper spike is hand hammered using a special dome shaped metal tool. This dome bends the excess copper over the top of the copper doughnut. This locks the rivet into place and the leather in between.  

Once the cutting, punching, stitching, and riveting are complete, we are ready to stitch the largest seems of the bag together. For this, we do not hand stitch (otherwise, without some kind of exploited cheap labor force, each bag would need to cost more like $1000). And we use a sewing machine. But not just any sewing machine will do the trick. we use a machine that was built in 1953. It is called a Union Lockstitch. It is a brute of a machine, but you can't get a stronger or a more beautiful stitch on leather from a sewing machine. And so for that we got my Amish friend Amos. He is the owner and operator of the Union Lockstitch Machine. Amos is in his early 30's. Is married and has a family. He also comes from a long line of leather crafters and he runs a world class leather shop that he took over from his father. 

Now that the bag has been stitched, we can see its true form. And the ony thing that needs to be yet is to finish the edges. I say 'only' but this is a serious process. It requires a meticulous focus throughout. First, the edges must be trimmed. Due to the hand made nature of the product, each edge is not perfectly aligned with the next. So, we use a sharp knife and trim to even out each seem. Making sure to never cut too deep. 

Once the edges are leveled, we hand paint each edge. As a leather crafter, for me, the worst thing in the world is getting to this step and spilling paint onto the main panel bag that you just made. Imagine a permanent big black splotch on the front of a briefcase. Nothing is more frustrating then ruining an entire bag because you got sloppy at this step. 

Once the edge painting is complete. We use an organic burnishing wax and a rounded wood hand tool. The wax is brushed onto the edges. Then using heavy and rapid hand brushing with the wooden tool, the wax is heated and pressured into the leather, creating a waxed coating over the edges. 

Once the edges are finished up, it is time to step back and admire the work. And to always consider what could have been done better. 

*Side: A tannery evenly separates the hide down the back. Then each 'side' of the hide is tanned separately.

The Project:

The Project Making small products, like wallets and journals, was the best way to get the business started. Smaller products require less material and labor, per product. Thus, it requires much less capital.

But now, I believe it is time for Black Bear to go to the next level. And so, I am introducing 'The Working Set.' This is a brand new line of products. All designed exclusively to be introduced with this kickstarter project.

This project has truly been years in the making. Every weekend, I pack up my Subaru and travel from my workshop in Downtown Lancaster City to DC’s Eastern Market on Capitol Hill. And every weekend, I get requests for things like briefcases and portfolios. However, custom designing and making a piece simply puts it out of any reasonable price range.

Now with your help and this project’s hopeful success, we will be able to scale up, to buy the material and equipment that we need to make exceptionally beautiful hand made pieces, but at reasonable prices.

The Rewards

You can get multiple rewards in a single contribution. Simply add up your total and contribute that amount. We will message you to confirm your choices.You do not need to contribute more than $450 to receive multiple rewards.

For example: 

If you would like the Capitol Bifold ($75) and the Atlantic Tote ($175). Simply contribute $250 (+shipping) 

If you would like the Roosevelt Brief ($385) and the Kennedy Weekender ($395) Simply contribute $780 (+shipping)


The Kennedy Weekender: 

  • 9" D x 12" H x 21" W: Carry On Size
  • Two interior hand stitched pockets, with exposed stitching 
  • Hand stitched at high pressure points
  • Machine stitched along general seems
  • Hand preened copper rivets
  • Includes adjustable shoulder strap
  • KS Price: $395 Retail: $550
  • Now available in Black Leather. Pledge and your color preference will be requested after campaign has concluded. 
The Kennedy Weekender
The Kennedy Weekender
The Kennedy Weekender: Profile
The Kennedy Weekender: Profile

The Roosevelt Brief

  • Convertable to Back Pack or Shoulder Strap
  • 5" D x 11.5" H x 15.5" W
  • Hand stitched at high pressure points 
  • Union Lockstitch Machine along general seems
  • Hand preened copper rivets
  • One full size interior pocket
  • One full size exterior rear pocket
  • Three interior pockets: 4" H x 4" W
  • Adjustable shoulder or back pack straps included (+$40 for both)
  • Brief size is also available in the Jefferson design. Simply send us a message post contribution.
  • KS: $385 Retail: $525
  • Now available in Black Leather. Pledge and your color preference will be requested after campaign has concluded.

The Roosevelt Brief
The Roosevelt Brief
The Roosevelt Brief: Back Pack
The Roosevelt Brief: Back Pack
The Roosevelt Brief: Profile
The Roosevelt Brief: Profile
Roosevelt Interior
Roosevelt Interior

The Jefferson Laptop Attache

  • 3" D x 11.5" H x 15.5" W 
  • Hand stitched at high pressure points 
  •  Union Lockstitch Machine along general seems
  • Hand preened copper rivets
  • One full size exterior rear pocket 
  • Three interior pockets: 4" H x 4" W 
  • Adjustable shoulder or back pack straps included (+$40 for both)
  • Attache size is also available in the Roosevelt design. Simply send us a message post contribution.
  • KS: $369 Retail: $499
  • Now available in Black Leather. Pledge and your color preference will be requested after campaign has concluded.
The Jefferson Laptop Attache
The Jefferson Laptop Attache
The Jefferson Laptop Attache: Back Pack
The Jefferson Laptop Attache: Back Pack
The Jefferson Laptop Attache: Stitching Detail
The Jefferson Laptop Attache: Stitching Detail
Jefferson Interior Pockets
Jefferson Interior Pockets

The Atlantic Tote 

  • 5" D x 15" W x 13" H
  • One interior leather pocket, 5 H x 7" W
  • Union Lockstitch Machine along general seems
  • Hand preened copper rivets
  • 12" Shoulder drop
  • Thick leather shoulder straps
  • KS: $175 Retail: $245
  • Now available in Black Leather. Pledge and your color preference will be requested after campaign has concluded.
The Atlantic Tote
The Atlantic Tote
The Atlantic Tote: Side View
The Atlantic Tote: Side View
The Atlantic Tote: Profile
The Atlantic Tote: Profile
Atlantic Interior Pockets
Atlantic Interior Pockets

The Commodore Portfolio 

  • 9.5" W x 12.5" H (closed) 
  • Holds a standard 8.5" x 11 3/4" top bound notebook
  • Hand stitched: two smaller organization pockets
  • Hand stitched: pen holder tab
  • Union Lockstitch Machine along general seems
  • One large tab pocket 
  • One full size pocket 9.5" w x 12.5" H
  • KS: $150 Retail: $225
  • Now available in Black Leather. Pledge and your color preference will be requested after campaign has concluded.
The Commodore Portfolio
The Commodore Portfolio
The Commodore Portfolio: With Contents
The Commodore Portfolio: With Contents
The Commodore Portfolio: Cover
The Commodore Portfolio: Cover

The Hepburn Crossbody

  • 9" W x 7" H 
  • Fully hand stitched
  • 5" H x 7" W interior pocket, hand stitched with exposed seams
  • 47" body strap
  • Tuck strap closure
  • KS: $95 Retail: $135
  • Now available in Black Leather. Pledge and your color preference will be requested after campaign has concluded.
The Hepburn Crossbody
The Hepburn Crossbody
The Hepburn Crossbody Back
The Hepburn Crossbody Back
The Hepburn Crossbody Profile
The Hepburn Crossbody Profile
The Hepburn Crossbody Interior Pocket
The Hepburn Crossbody Interior Pocket

The Diplomat Travel Wallet 

  • Holds a standard US Passport
  • 4 Card Pockets: Holds up to 16 cards (4 cards each pocket)
  • Large front bill pocket
  • Fully hand stitched
  • KS: $89 Retail: $125
  • Now available in Black Leather. Pledge and your color preference will be requested after campaign has concluded.
The Diplomat Travel Wallet
The Diplomat Travel Wallet
The Diplomat Travel Wallet
The Diplomat Travel Wallet
The Diplomat Travel Wallet: Front
The Diplomat Travel Wallet: Front
The Diplomat Travel Wallet: Front Pocket
The Diplomat Travel Wallet: Front Pocket

The Capitol Bifold

  • 4 card pockets 
  • 2 hidden pockets 
  • Fully hand stitched
  • Standard cash pocket
  • KS: $75 Retail: $110
  • Now available in Black Leather. Pledge and your color preference will be requested after campaign has concluded.
The Capitol Bifold
The Capitol Bifold
The Capitol Bifold: Face and Back
The Capitol Bifold: Face and Back
The Capitol Bifold: Hidden Pockets
The Capitol Bifold: Hidden Pockets

The Working Belt

  • 1.5" Wide.
  • Made from thick 10-12oz leather. 
  • One single strap of leather
  • Buckle made in Connecticut
  • Buckle is replaceable via Chicago screws
  • Six belt holes. 1" apart
  • At the conclusion of the campaign, we will reach out to you to verify belt size
  • Available in black upon request
  • KS: $49 Retail: $70
  • Now available in Black Leather. Pledge and your color preference will be requested after campaign has concluded.
The Working Belt
The Working Belt
The Working Belt: Detail
The Working Belt: Detail

The Liaison Card Slip

  • Fits up to 4 cards
  • Fully hand stitched
  • KS: $20 Retail: $35
  • Now available in Black Leather. Pledge and your color preference will be requested after campaign has concluded.
The Liaison Card Slip
The Liaison Card Slip

Custom Keychain

  • Pick any word (including numbers). We will contact you about your word 
  • Max: 8 Characters (including spaces)
  • We reserve the right to deny offensive words and/or words that we just don't like :) 
  • Letters are individually hand stamped. Please see photo samples to see potential variations in alignment and spacing.
  • KS: $13 Retail: $20
  • Now available in Black Leather. Pledge and your color preference will be requested after campaign has concluded.
Love Keychain
Love Keychain

Create Keychain
Create Keychain
Dream Keychain
Dream Keychain
Keychain: Back
Keychain: Back

The Schedule: 

July 23rd: Campaign Begins 
August 22nd: Campaign Ends 
End of August: Order Leather and Equipment 
Mid September: Receive Leather 
Mid September - End of October: Make Everything 
End of October - Early November: Send Finished Products


The Creative Process:

I am not an artist in the traditional sense. I can draw a decent smiley face. I can play chopsticks on the piano. I like to sing karaoke. But that is pretty much where my abilities of typical art and music ends. 

That's me in my second workshop (apartment)
That's me in my second workshop (apartment)

But I believe that the pieces that I create from leather are my own form of artistic expression. When I decide to design and make a new product, I do not sketch it out. I do not use a computer editing program to create a 3D model of a finished product. 

When I decide to design and a make a new product, the designing and the making happens simultaneously, organically. When I design a bag like the Roosevelt, I create an image of what I want to make in my mind. In that image I deconstruct the bag. I break it into the main pieces. I see how the pieces are put together. I see the angles. I see the edges. I see the overlaps. I see the stitch lines. I find potential flaws in the construction. It all needs to come together. It all needs to make structural sense. I probably look crazy, like I’m talking to myself throughout this process, which I guess I kind of am. 

Grain Variations in our Leather
Grain Variations in our Leather

One of the standout features of the leather I use is the high degree of variation in the grain. The grain gives the leather I use it’s natural pattern. It also indicates the structural value of each square foot. (for example, leather cut from the back is much stronger than leather cut from the belly, but the grain on the back is much less pronounced) It gives each piece of leather I cut more meaning, and more personality. And that means I need to decide what grain will work best with which part of the bag. And so each cut of the leather is not just another piece of leather. Each cut of leather is about utilizing the natural form and structure of the leather, to create the most beautiful and long lasting product possible. 

After I cut, when I put the leather pieces together for a new design, it is a process of trial and error. With the Roosevelt, I probably made ten different variations of the handle, often with the most nuanced variations, before deciding on the final design. 

My creative process of making something new, the trial and error, the mistakes and redos, the frustration, the stress, the joy of a final product. I love all of it. It is honestly one of the most engaging and rewarding things I have ever experienced. 

Project Goals:

With this campaign we are initially hoping to raise $5,000. 

With this money we will (rounded numbers): 
  • Purchase Materials: $1,700 
  • Purchase Dies*: $1,200
  • Purchase Clicker:** $2,100 

*Leather Dies: Dies are custom made metal blades which are tediously welded together to create a specific shape. With this, we can set the die over the leather. Then using the clicker, we can instantly cut the shape we need for that product. This saves an extraordinary amount of time and labor. Instead of meticulously creating the lines of each piece, down the 1/8” and even 1/16”, we can quickly and accurately cut that shape from the side of leather. 

 **Clicker: The clicker is a hand powered machine that presses the die into the leather. It is a relatively simple machine, with a large lever which one pulls to create the leverage and pressure needed to cut through a thick piece of leather. But it is a highly specialized piece of equipment. Thus, it has a relatively high price point. The Dies and the Clicker are made in Wisconsin. 

Clicker
Clicker

If we are able to reach $15,000 we should be able to hire Apprentice Pam, full time.

If we are able to raise $1,000,000 we are going to purchase our own farm, raise our own cows, and make our own leather and leather products, from start to finish.

Vegetable Tanning vs Chrome Tanning

Veg Tanned Leather
Veg Tanned Leather
 

We take exceptional pride in the leather that we use. It is tanned in the mountains of north central Pennsylvania. The hides come from North American cow hides. 

The tanning process is called ‘Vegetable Tanning.’ Veg tanning for short. Veg tanning is the ancient natural way to make leather. The process uses tree bark tannins to tan the cow hide. 

100 years ago, tanneries used to put cow hides in a pit and cover them with tree bark and water. Today, the process is a bit more advanced, but the underlying science is still the same. Today, the tannins are separated from the rest of the organic material in the tree bark which is not needed in the tanning process. The tannins are then mixed with water. The hides are suspended in a tank and then they soak in the tannin water bath for up to six weeks. 

Vegetable Tanning
Vegetable Tanning

There are only three tanneries left in the United States that still make veg tan leather. 

The alternative to vegetable tanning is an industrial era process called ‘Chrome Tanning.’ 99.9% of consumer leather goods are made with chrome tanned leather. Why? Because it is quick and cheap. Where vegetable tanning takes up to 6 weeks to tan leather, chrome tanning takes about 6 hours. 

What is the benefit of veg tanned leather vs chrome tanned leather? The difference is not apparent to the naked eye. But the difference is substantial and fundamental. 

Veg tanned leather is a combination of two organic products: tree bark tannins and animal hide. 

Chrome tanned leather is made using Chromium(III) Sulfate and animal hide. Chromium(III) Sulfate is produced from Chromate Salts by reduction in Sulfur Dioxide. 

As an organic material, vegetable tanned leather is able to be reconditioned with oils to rejuvenate the leather if it begins to dry out. This factor allows the leather to gain ‘patina’ while maintaining its structural integrity. As a chemically induced material, chrome tanned leather is not able to reconditioned. The Chromium Sulfate particles creates a virtual seal around the hide. This means that the leather is how it will always be. Of course there are benefits to this. However, if you are looking for a classic leather look, a chrome tanned leather will never acquire the desired traits. 

Veg Tanning Drums
Veg Tanning Drums

The most apt analogy is: Vegetable Tanned Leather is to Chrome Tanned Leather as wood is to plastic. Wood can gain character as it is used over the years. Plastic can as well, but I mean, old plastic tables aren’t really a thing. 

Another really interesting fact about vegetable tanned leather vs chrome tanned leather is the smell of leather can only be naturally found in Vegetable Tanned Leather. For what you are actually smelling in a veg tanned leather are the botanicals that naturally occur in the tree bark tannins. In contrast, chrome tanned leather does not smell like anything, except maybe chemicals. So, the next time you walk into a typical store that sells leather bags, and you think you are smelling ‘leather’ you are being duped. It is a chemical scent that has been applied to the leather itself, as well as misted into the air. So, when you receive your Black Bear bag that is made with 100% full grain vegetable tanned leather, take a deep inhale with your nose inside of the bag and know that you are smelling the real organic botanicals of an amazing organic compound.

AMERICAN TANNERIES and Protecting the environment, one bag at a time 

Another very notable thing about our leather, it is made in the United States. And aside from the awesome and obvious benefits of buying local and supporting your local economies, American tanneries are held under strict environmental controls. 

Leather tanning uses a tremendous amount of water. After the water used it is contaminated, (in Chrome Tanned leather, it is potentially toxic), so it is much much cheaper to simply dump that water into the natural water supply. And in any developing country that makes leather, that is exactly what happens. Leather tanning waste is a HUGE environmental detriment to the ecosystems of developing countries, where that waste is dumped into passing rivers, in the millions of gallons, contributing an incredible amount to the environmental degradation of that river and those that rely on that river’s life. 

India: Tannery Town Waterway*
India: Tannery Town Waterway*

The tannery that we use sits next to the Susquehanna River, one of the world’s oldest rivers. It is an absolutely beautiful and pristine river. As such our tannery passionately treats and resuses all of its water, at great cost. Environmental regulations are one of the biggest reasons why American made leather is 2-3+ times more expensive than leather made in developing countries. So, while our profit margins might not be as high as the competition that uses imported leathers, we are proud to know that the material that we use to make your bags is made with the highest ethical standards available. 

Susquehanna River: Just a Few Miles from Our Tannery *(I'm not being too dramatic. The differences are that stark.)
Susquehanna River: Just a Few Miles from Our Tannery *(I'm not being too dramatic. The differences are that stark.)

Risks and challenges

In making one product, there are always challenges. In making many products, those challenges multiply. Over the past two and half years, I have been working out the kinks in making large numbers of products, while keeping true to the character and values of Black Bear.

The biggest challenge that we face in this project is accomplishing our goal on our projected schedule. Mistakes are made and in each mistake is lost time to fix that mistake. Some days we just work slower than other days. And any lost time means your overall production schedule is pushed back. And so, we have simply factored in added time to address those slow days and mistakes. And if for some reason, we haven't factored in enough time, we will simply work harder and longer hours to make up the difference.

I often refer to we, when referring to Black Bear. In we, I mean myself, Michael, apprentice Pam and my Amish friend Amos. Amos is a harness maker. And to make it possible for us to make these larger bags, we have teamed up with Amos. He machine stitches the large pieces of our bags together.

If there is anything I have learned from business, it is to plan for the unexpected. Challenges always pop up. Issues always arise. And when they do, you simply have to be ready to address any and all problems quickly and directly. I believe in 100% transparency with my customers. So, if any problems do arise, I will let you know. And then I will let you know my plan for how to fix that problem.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Funding period

- (30 days)

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icon--textalign-centered icon--textalign-right icon icon--textalign-right icon--thumbs-down icon icon--thumbs-down icon--thumbs-up icon icon--thumbs-up icon--thumbsdown-outline icon icon--thumbsdown-outline icon--thumbsup-outline icon icon--thumbsup-outline icon--timeline-to-do.kds icon icon--trash.kds icon icon--trash icon icon--trash icon--tumblr icon icon--tumblr icon--twitter icon icon--twitter icon--unlink.kds icon icon--unlink icon Artboard icon--unlock icon icon--unlock icon--unlocked.kds icon icon--unlocked.sm.kds icon icon--update-freeform-round icon icon--update-freeform-round icon--update-freeform icon icon--update-freeform icon--update-pinned icon Artboard icon--update-qa-round icon icon--update-qa-round icon--update-qa icon icon--update-qa icon--upload.kds icon icon--upload icon icon--upload icon--video.kds icon icon--video icon icon--video icon--volume-down.kds icon icon--volume-up.kds icon icon--warning.kds icon icon--warning.sm.kds icon icon--warning icon icon--witchstarter icon icon--youtube icon icon--youtube icon--zine-quest icon icon-imagealign-center icon icon-imagealign-center icon-imagealign-left icon icon-imagealign-left icon-imagealign-right icon icon-imagealign-right info icon Combined Shape Copy instagram icon instagram copy kickstarter icon Artboard Copy 5 leaf icon leaf lightbulb icon icon--lightbulb link icon Combined Shape Copy 8 loading-spin icon lock icon Combined Shape Copy 4 mail icon Combined Shape map-pin icon Fill 1 menu icon Group message icon Fill 1 Copy 12 mobile icon Page 1 Copy 2 pause icon pause copy pencil icon Combined Shape Copy 3 pin icon Combined Shape Copy 11 pinterest icon pinterest play icon play copy plus-human icon icon--plus-human plus icon Fill 1 Copy 7 question icon Combined Shape Copy 14 search icon Fill 1 Copy 11 shapeshift icon share icon Fill 1 Copy slash icon solid-arrow icon solid-arrow sound-hi icon Combined Shape sound-lo icon Combined Shape sound-mute icon Combined Shape star icon Fill 1 Copy 2 stopwatch icon Group 2 thumbs-up icon Shape tools icon Shape trash icon Combined Shape tumblr icon tumblr copy twitter icon twitter copy user icon Artboard Copy 10 volume-up icon Artboard Copy 9 warning icon Combined Shape Copy 10 write icon Artboard Copy 11 x icon Fill 1 Copy 4 youtube icon Combined Shape