I’m not the type that likes overly feminine things. I hate pink, and I try to stay away from flowery prints as much as I can. But, like any woman, I need a good bag. One that stands the test of time. And my kids. (And me. I tend to overload my bags.)
So, when another strap to another one of my cheap bags broke on me at an inopportune time – it always happens when I’m doing a presentation and carrying lots of items – I decided to let a professional handle the bag making.
Enter Jared DeSimio. Jared is a native Maine and a self-taught maker of bags and accessories steeped in history. His pieces are handmade using vintage, antique, salvaged and upcycled materials. There’s certainly a green element to his bags, but they are much more than that because the materials he uses tell a story. It’s up to the user of the bag to keep the story going.
Here’s how my bag’s story developed in Jared’s basement. (Click on the image to make it bigger.)
Here’s a list of the materials Jared used:
- Outer canvas and inside double pocket – Vintage military duffle bag
- Lining – Fabric pieces from a 1960s Coast Guard life vest sewn together and backed with canvas from a military surplus pup tent
- Leather – 7oz. Vegetable tanned from Hermann Oak. North American steer, tanned in the USA. Treated with neatsfoot oil.
- Copper Rivets – Made in the USA. Presumably manufactured in 1951
- Copper Rivet Burrs – Made by Jared from salvaged copper flashing
- Leather washers – Made by Jared from repurposed leather
- Buckle stays – Made by Jared from salvaged copper flashing
- Buckles – Vintage/used from horse tack
- Key clip – from the Coast Guard life vest
According to Jared, the military duffle and the Coast Guard life vest were procured at flea markets here in Maine. The leather, rivets, and buckles were purchased on ebay, and the copper flashing was given to Jared by his father who found it behind an 1800s farmhouse.
How cool is that?
Here I am modeling off the bag.
Jared made sure the leather straps were the right size for my short self and that the pockets and key clip inside were on the proper side for a lefty. I love it. It’s comfortable to wear on my shoulder, and it could handle being stuffed with a ridiculous amount of business cards and swag at the BlogHer ’12 conference.
Why am I sharing all of this with you? Because you need to know Jared DeSimio’s name. His work is beautiful, rugged, unique and guaranteed for life. Plus, you might want to order a bag from him now via his Etsy shop before he gets too big. (He’s up for an American Made Award from Martha Stewart after all.)
And now for a giveaway. Jared is offering a custom cut and sized belt made from 10 oz. English bridle leather, which is sourced and tanned domestically.
The buckle will be from antique horse tack. The rivets are vintage and domestically manufactured and the burrs are made from salvaged copper flashing. This belt can be made for a woman or a man and is guaranteed to fit since Jared is making it custom for you. All you need to do is enter below through Rafflecopter. The more steps you complete, the more entries you get. The winner will be randomly chosen by Rafflecopter. I will email the winner at the end of the contest (by 8/29/12) and connect the lucky person to Jared directly.
Disclosure: Jared is a friend and made my bag in exchange for some marketing help. It was my idea to write the blog post, and the words, as per usual, are my own. Also, I wish I were eligible for the belt giveaway.