The story of Kendal & Hyde began with the search for a computer bag. Not just any computer bag; we wanted a bag with the timeless style of bags made 100 years ago, and we wanted one that was made to last as long.
We found some cool vintage pieces we liked the look of, but they didn't meet our carry needs. We found modern bags that met our carry needs, but they lacked the style and quality of the vintage pieces. In the end, we decided to make our own.
In 2014, we launched our company and debut line of computer bags here on Kickstarter. It has been a difficult and often humbling process building this company—but it has also been one of the most rewarding.
For the past year and a half, since our first campaign, we have reworked our original designs over and over to refine and improve them, striving for the perfect balance of beauty, utility and strength.
INTRODUCING OUR NEW BRIEFCASE
BEAUTY: It's been said that if you eliminate everything that is not essential, you end up with something that is.
When we design and build a bag, we avoid design features that have no purpose beyond mere ornamentation. You won't find decorative stitching or gaudy hardware anywhere on our bags. It's the way bags were made 100 years ago and part of what gives ours such an authentically vintage look.
Our bags are designed to be used, not just looked at. We design for functionality and simplicity, and it's in this simplicity that we found beauty.
UTLITY: The most difficult thing about designing a bag is making it specific enough to meet one's daily carry needs, but general enough for when those needs change.
Our needs are not necessarily the same as yours, so we designed our briefcases with extra points to attach accessories. You can customize it to your individual needs and style to make it yours.
Our briefcases have multiple divisions and pockets to help you keep things organized. In addition to the main chamber, our briefcase has a computer pocket that holds a 15" MacBook Pro or smaller laptop; a tablet pocket that fits a standard iPad or smaller tablet; two pen holders; a 4.5" wide pocket with a cover flap for a computer recharger cord; and a 4.5" tight pocket behind the recharger pocket.
AN ADJUSTABLE SHOULDER STRAP AND PAD is included with each briefcase. The strap quickly clips on or off according to your needs.
Most companies make their straps from two pieces of thin leather sewn back-to-back over a nylon core to keep the thin leather from stretching. Our strap is made from a single 4.5mm thick belt piece. The leather we use for the straps is taken from the back/midline of the hide so it's incredibly strong and resists stretching.
We make our pad a little different than other companies do. We "pad" ours with leather rather than neoprene. It might sound counterintuitive to use hard leather rather than spongy neoprene to fill the shoulder pad, but it actually is more comfortable this way (don't tell our competitors). The problem with neoprene is that it compresses and causes the leather to wrinkle, making it more uncomfortable, in my opinion. Our pad doesn't wrinkle; instead it molds to and holds the shape of your shoulder, increasing in comfort the more you use it.
CUSTOMIZE YOUR BRIEFCASE TO YOUR NEEDS
Our briefcase comes in four styles, two depths and four colors. We also have multiple accessories you can add to make your briefcase uniquely yours. Listed below are your options. (Don't worry if you can't make up your mind right now—you will be sent a survey two weeks after the campaign ends asking for your preferences.)
BRIEFCASE (one price for any style, color or size) Retail $600 Kickstarter special: $450 ($150 off retail) FREE U.S. Shipping.
CHOOSE A STYLE:
CHOOSE A DEPTH/SIZE:
Our briefcases measure 16.7 inches (42.5cm) wide x 11.5 inches (29cm) tall. But you can choose between two depths. Each style briefcase come in a slim three-inch (7.5cm) depth, and a deeper five-inch (12.75) depth. The three-inch depth makes an ideal computer bag with enough room for chargers and other daily essentials. The five-inch depth gives you two more inches of space and is large enough to carry an SLR camera and a few lenses.
ADD ON ACCESSORY OPTIONS:
Want to add something to your briefcase? We make modular add-on accessories that are compatible across multiple bags. Our briefcases have a ring on each side for attaching accessories such as a water bottle holder, pocket or luggage tag.
If you would like to add any accessories to your bag order, select a briefcase reward, then add the price for the additional items to your pledge total—no extra shipping fees are needed for additional items. We will check the total and confirm which extra items you want in the survey following the campaign. (If you already own a Kendal & Hyde bag and wish to add one or more accessories, pledge for the accessory only reward. To determine the pledge amount, add up the total for all items you want and manually type in the total when you check out.)
WATER BOTTLE HOLDER AND STAINLESS STEEL THERMOS BOTTLE Retail $80 Kickstarter special: $65 ($15 off retail)
Holds a 500ml S'well-type water bottle, 800ml Kleen Kanteen or any 2.8" diameter bottle. No worries if you don't have one of these types of water bottles, because we are going to include one stainless steel vacuum-sealed thermos that will keep your hots hot and your colds cold without getting hot on the outside or sweating. Compatible with all briefcase styles.
NARROW SIDE POCKET
Retail $25 Kickstarter special: $15 ($10 off retail)
Measures 2.75" x 5.5" x 1", an extra pocket on the outside of your briefcase for items you want to access without opening your briefcase. I think it is the perfect place to stash a pair of sunglasses (or reading glasses) for easy access without having to open your bag. Attaches to side accessory ring. Compatible with all briefcase styles.
WIDE SIDE POCKET Retail $35 Kickstarter special: $25 ($10 off retail)
Measures 4.25" x 5.5" x 1", an extra pocket on the outside of your briefcase for items you want to access without opening your briefcase. Attaches to side accessory ring. The wide size is only compatible with 5" WIDE briefcase styles.
LUGGAGE TAG Retail $30 Kickstarter special: $20 ($10 off retail)
Made of the same leather we use to make the briefcase, and double stitched to last as long. Holds a standard 3.5" x 2" card. A good idea to have if you have a habit of leaving your bag behind. Attaches to side accessory ring. Compatible with all briefcase styles.
SINGLE POUCH Retail $40 Kickstarter special $30 ($10 off retail)
Patterned after antique military ammunition pouches, our pouches are sized 4"x 4.5" x 1.25" to hold an Apple computer power cord, but can be useful for any item you need quick access to. Attaches to belt straps. Compatible ONLY with plain front briefcase styles.
TRIPLE POUCH Retail $80 Kickstarter special $65 ($15 off retail)
Three of our single pouches mounted together. Attaches to belt straps. Compatible ONLY with the two strap plain front briefcase.
ACCESSORY STRAPS (pair) Retail $25 Kickstarter special $20 ($5 off retail)
Strap on an umbrella, thermos, etc. to the bottom or front of your briefcase. Comes in a set of two. Attaches to belt straps. Compatible ONLY with the two strap briefcase styles.
BACKPACK STRAPS Retail $85 Kickstarter special $70 ($15 off retail)
Converts your briefcase to a backpack. Comes in a set of two. Compatible with all two-strap briefcase styles (will NOT work on single strapped briefcases).
CHOOSE A COLOR
LEATHER CARE: Vegetable tanned leather is very durable but does require some occasional maintenance to replenish the oils and waxes that are lost over time and to protect it from the elements. Properly cared for, your Kendal & Hyde Co. leather product will last your lifetime and beyond. Protect your HYDE with our suite of leather care products made from natural oils and beeswax. We do not use any silicone, petroleum oils or solvents in our leather care products which can damage your leather over time. Because of their all natural ingredients, our leather care products are safe to apply with your bare hands.
Our LEATHER LIQUOR is 16oz. of deep conditioning love designed to soften, moisturize, lubricate and soften leather fibers. It is great for restoring dry and brittle leather and preventing further damage.
16oz. LEATHER LIQUOR Kickstarter SPECIAL $25
Our LEATHER CREAM is a heavier conditioner designed to leave a thick protective beeswax coating to repel moisture and protect your leather—a must have to keep your satchel looking its best. Apply as needed for weather protection. After application wait a few hours then buff off any excess with a dry cotton rag or horse hair brush. Comes 8oz. tins.
8oz. LEATHER CREAM Kickstarter SPECIAL $25
Both our Leather Liquor and our Leather Cream come in two scents:
- HONEYCOMB—Beeswax is one of the main ingredients in our leather care products, but we added a bit more honey scent to make it smell like just like warm honeycomb fresh out of a beehive.
- LEATHER—Want your leather to smell more like leather, or rather to keep that new leather smell? This is your scent.
THE STRENGTH OF OUR BRIEFCASE
A bag made of quality leather is an investment—an investment that should last your lifetime. That is not only our goal, but our guarantee.
LIFETIME GUARANTEE: If something breaks during your lifetime, we will fix it. If you manage to wear it out in your lifetime, we will replace it. If you abuse or use your bag in a way it was not intended and destroy it, well, we will be happy to sell you a new one. There are limits to our warranty—don't use it as a chew toy for your pet dingo, don't scuba dive with it or use it for target practice. In short, be reasonable, and we will take care of you, should the need arise.
What makes a bag strong is a combination of the materials used (the leather, hardware and thread) and how they are put together. Every decision we make when we design a bag is evaluated according to how strong it will be. If we are going to stand behind a bag for your life, strength must drive every design decision.
Many of the features on our bags that might look merely aesthetic are actually done to make the bags stronger and longer lasting. The belt straps and belt loops are the two parts of the bag that take on the most stress through normal use. Because of this, neither the straps nor the loops on our briefcases are attached with thread, which will eventually wear out and break. In fact, our belt straps are belts that fully wrap around the bag, so there is no attachment point to stress and break—a feature borrowed from the satchel my grandfather used in college in the 1920s.
THE LEATHER we use is not cheap in price or quality. We use only thick, full grain vegetable-tanned leather made from the hides of cows that were raised in the Northern U.S. and Canada.
Vegetable-tanning is an ancient process for making leather by soaking the cleaned and de-haired hides in pits containing nothing more than powdered leaves and bark mixed with water. It is an environmentally friendly process, but it is a very slow process, and takes two months or more to fully tan. By contrast, most of the leather in the world (upwards of 90%) is tanned using carcinogenic mineral salts, such as chromium sulfate, in a quick process that takes less than two days.
The main reason we and others insist on using vegetable-tanned leather is because of the way it looks as it ages. Vegetable-tanned leather patinas over time, becoming darker and richer, especially at the edges and where it is touched most often. We can honestly say that our bags look better as they age than they do when they are first made.
THE HARDWARE we use is strong. How strong you ask? Our clips are tested to hold 275 lbs. each, so unless you are carrying 550 lbs. of lead in your briefcase, they are more than adequate to last you a lifetime. It's the same strength and quality hardware you will find used for horse tack, but rarely will you find it used for bags. Most manufacturers try get away with using cheaper zinc alloy, aluminum and even plastic hardware and nine times out of ten it is good enough, but even one piece of hardware in 10,000 breaking is not acceptable to us.
Every piece of hardware we use is solid cast brass with a vintage looking, matte nickel finish. Far less gaudy than chrome, our finish harmonizes beautifully with our vegetable-tanned leather. Our rivets are also brass, but with a slightly darker, gunmetal finish. The rivets we use are double capped so both sides have a finished look.
THE THREAD is the weakest link in a bag and another way manufactures cut corners.
In the old days, cotton or linen was used, but leather is acidic and erodes natural fibers over time. Then came nylon, which is still the most common thread used to stitch leather products; it’s very strong, but it gets brittle in UV light. Our bags are stitched with marine-grade polyester designed for boat sails – it’s as strong as nylon, but holds up better in UV light. It's more expensive (probably the reason most manufacturers cut this corner) but it’s more durable and resistant to weathering.
At points that receive extra stress, we place a rivet. The rivets we use are two-sided, so they look as nice on the inside as they do on the outside.
THE STRAPS AND BELTS: The straps are the part of any bag that takes on the most wear and tear. Most bags on the market have straps made from two thin pieces of leather sewn back-to-back over a nylon core. The nylon is needed because the leather being used is chrome-tanned and will easily stretch without it—but there is a major design flaw in this technique. The repeated friction and bending wears out the stitching and eventually the strap falls apart. Our solution is to forgo the stitching altogether and make our straps from a single thick piece of vegetable-tanned leather that does not need reinforcement.
DESIGN AND PROTOTYPING: July–December 2015
KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN LAUNCH: January 5, 2016
MAKE CUTTING DIES: January 2016
KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN END: February 5, 2016
RELEASE OF FUNDS: February 16, 2016
SURVEYS SENT TO BACKERS: February 17, 2016
BEGIN TANNING LEATHER: February 16, 2016
SURVEYS COMPLETED BY BACKERS: February 29, 2016
RECEIVE LEATHER: mid March, 2016
BEGIN PRODUCTION: mid March, 2016
BEGIN SHIPPING: late April, 2016
ANTICIPATED PROJECT COMPLETION: May, 2016
Risks and challenges
This is not our first campaign, but we are still a young company. With each one we learn a little more, but problems can and usually do arise. The one that concerns us the most is leather. The leather we use is vegetable-tanned and quite thick. It is custom made to our specifications and takes two to three months just to make. If the tannery makes a mistake or something goes wrong in the process, it can take a long time to get replacement leather. This has happened to us before and has delayed production schedules on past projects by months. Because of such delays in the past, we have moved our business to a different tannery that has proven much more reliable.
All our other vendors and partners are organizations we have been working with for some time now. Yeah, problems still happen, shipments of parts get lost or delayed, and there are always a few holidays, but these are minor bumps compared to the delays we can experience with leather problems.
The timelines we present are the true and accurate timelines and not padded to give us more time than we need or artificially shortened to get more backers. Timelines always seem to get confounded, but we do our best to keep our backers informed of the progress, the expectations, the windfalls and the delays.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (31 days)