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Leather Bags

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Anyone with any experience with the following leather companies?


1. Village Tannery in NYC

2. Joseph Hanna leather in NYC (their website has not been updated for seven years I was told)

3. Burghley Bags

4. Leyden and Sons

5. Billy Goat Designs

6. Scaramanga


Any feedback is welcome and appreciated!

post #2 of 6
I only had experience with village tannery and I purchased my briefcase from there and created a slightly customized vintage briefcase for my girlfriend at two different times. The stuff is absolutely great!! I live in nyc right near the store so I was able to take in all the beautiful leather smells. The owners are friendly but down to business and absolutely know what they are talking about while listening to you and what you're looking for. You can feel the quality and workmanship and I get compliments on my briefcase everywhere I go (and those who don't say anything I can tell they are eyeing it). Any problems and the bags get fixed on premises no questions asked. They have been doing this in the neighborhood for over 30 years and there's a reason for it especially with current rent prices. Years ago bill Clinton came here for a portfolio and frequently celebs come in for their leather. Definitely an under the radar bag that doesn't have logos all over it which is part of its unique charm. The prices are high but worth the money to me for a bag made in the city and has a lifetime guarantee. My girlfriend and i have our eyes set on their weekend bags as our next purchases. i highly suggest you read all the Yelp reviews as they are very accurate as to what to expect as well as a few very detailed blog posts if you type in the store name you'll find them (I read as much as I could about them before buying). And if you want a bag that's already on the shelf, the old school owners can be talked into a small discount like 25 or 50 bucks to move the piece (not so much for customized pieces). If you're in the area, you check it out.

I also read about Joseph Hannah before my purchases but never walked in. I didn't get the same charm or vibe from what I've read and don't think they have anything to offer that village tannery can't do. Just didn't jive with me I guess.

Here's a pic of the bags I purchased.

I have not tried the other vendors so can't help there.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks for replying.  I live in the City as well and have visited one of the two Village Tannery shops (the one on Bleeker St).  There is no question about the quality, and I especially appreciate the underrated-ness (no logos etc). 


My only issue with them is they seem to be a bit pushy with business and are too casual about bargaining.  They seem to have a special sense of who's there to look and who's there to buy and react accordingly, and they could tell I was hesitant about spending over $1000 on my first visit. 


When I asked them about making a customized bag, one of the owners literally went "well, if you want a bag like that, I will charge you, hmm 700, 800, 900, yeah, 900 dollars, well, 850", which was a huge turn-off. Maybe I'll visit the Great Jones location - I have called them once and the person seemed quite reasonable and nice.


I've visited Joseph Hanna in person as well.  The bags were done half as nicely and were priced accordingly.  The owner was just as pushy (even suggesting that I should take cash out of a corner ATM to purchase the bag for a discount on the same day).  Multiple sources confirmed that I could easily get a 30% off if I wanted.


That brings me to the other brands.  Leyden and Sons seemed to be of excellent quality and may be the "poor man's" Saddleback. 


As for the offshore shops: Billy Goat is based in Australia and makes their bags in India with goat skin.  Similarly, Burghley is based in UK and makes their bags in India with goat skin as well.  Both are similarly priced and cost about 1/4 of Village Tannery.  Scaramanga is based in UK and uses cowhide and their prices are a bit higher but still about 1/3 of Village Tannery. 


I'm actually considering ordering a bag from each of those places just to test them out (after all, each bag costs less than a night out in the City).  If I didn't like them, I can always turn to Village Tannery or Saddleback. 


I'm really hoping our fellow SF'ers can shed some light on those less well-known brands and perhaps compare to Village Tannery or Saddleback.  I'm hoping to discover the best-kept secret, if there is such a thing at all.


Thanks again.

post #4 of 6
You bring up some great points. On the tannery, I hear you on the negotiating part - definitely not some big corporation with exact pricing structures across the board but I looked past it because I felt the guys were really genuine and did care about what they do and they skim a little off the top but i know they aren't dropping big discounts here and there. I think all the guys are nice but I will say Memo from the great jones location may be the warmest. Not sure if it was just a ploy but he knew I was a repeat customer and lived right nearby after conversations here and there and knowing we were eyeing some weekend bags, he commiserated with us on the price and offered to put whatever we want on layaway and we can pay little here and little there with no official contract or rules, as you can tell they don't even use computers. We didn't bite but I can tell he was genuine and wanted us to be happy. I felt the guys at bleeker st were nice and warmed up the more I saw them. They have lots of passers by and tourists come in so I don't disagree they size people up appropriately.

On saddleback, I looked into them too but I ruled them out because of the following: can't see before purchasing, exact color cannot be guaranteed, no modifications, and most importantly seemed a little less professional in styling. Looks like great quality just not for me.

And of course if you want to just look at price, international vendors you noted will give you want you want on that, but village tannery commands the price because of its story. Original styles not mass produced using domestic materials and all made in the back of the great jones location with a single main designer at the helm. If you don't buy the story or charm of the store, then that of course should be taken into account.

And thanks for the insight on hanna - very interesting and the ATM comment makes me think "only in NY would an owner say something like that and expect it to work out in his favor. God bless this city."

Look forward to other people's thoughts and what you end up doing!
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

for those that might still be interested -


i ended up purchasing a scaramanga 13-inch satchel bag with the front pocket (buffalo leather, vegetable tanning) at one of their 50% off promotions. the bag measures 13x11x3" and is made in india. I paid about $65 including shipping and VAT refunded.


it's pretty much what one would expect for a $65 bag.  the stitching is decent and the leather is pretty average - nice looking but a little stiff. .  i especially like the fact that it has plenty of well-designed pockets.  i can fit my 13inch laptop nicely inside with a few other items. it's quite light and easy to carry and it's a nice beater when i don't need to carry many items.  


and their customer service was excellent.




following this, i commissioned a real bag from unlucky (don't mourn, organize, scott willis) for $425.   Horween CXL two-ply leather, thick, super soft and supple with all the buckles made of brass and impeccable stitching.  it measures 14x11x6" and i designed the bag in consultation with scott willis and he was patient and a professional.


after shopping around for a while, i truly believe this is so far a bargain. a similar bag at village tannery NYC would have cost easily $600-800.  a similar bag at saddleback leather will start at $500. the only question at this point will be its durability.  scott and i never discussed warranty but from all the reviews and my interaction with him, i hope he will stand by his products. i'm going on a trip next week so we'll see how things turn out.




i'd like to hear what fellow SF'ers think.  all comments and feedbacks are welcome!

Edited by doctorman - 9/2/13 at 1:59pm
post #6 of 6

Hi Doctorman,


"I'm really hoping our fellow SF'ers can shed some light on those less well-known brands and perhaps compare to Village Tannery or Saddleback.  I'm hoping to discover the best-kept secret, if there is such a thing at all." 


Based on your query, i recommend Soulful Collection to you. This is also an Indian company that uses goatskin for all of its leather bags and products. 


The products are economically priced, and a further 25% discount is being offered these days. I am using a leather messenger bag purchased from them and its fantastic. The product quality is good. 


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