• STYLE. COMMUNITY. GREAT CLOTHING.

    Bored of counting likes on social networks? At Styleforum, you’ll find rousing discussions that go beyond strings of emojis.

    Click Here to join Styleforum's thousands of style enthusiasts today!

Briefcase Appreciation thread

echo7tango

Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2018
Messages
9
Reaction score
24
Hello folks, I am here to post a 3-year review of my briefcase. Here are prior posts and pictures about it:

  • 2018-08-25 — https://is.gd/mM67MA — pictures of the leather when it was brand new in March 2018, and then each month thereafter for five months. I loved how the leather gained its rich patina over the months, and years. This was my first post on this site.
  • 2018-08-29 — https://is.gd/hJ3Nej — pictures of the briefcase interior
  • 2020-01-21 — https://is.gd/Vf02EI — 2-year feedback

The shortened URLs are safe to use. I created them. They point to earlier posts in this thread.

I joined here 3 years ago because this thread came up in a web search. I posted about my briefcase when it was brand new, and also last year when it was 2 years old. Now at 3 years old I'm still loving this briefcase. However for the price I paid, approx $1,300, maybe it's not the 'perfect briefcase' I once thought it was... I'll detail that below.

Don't get me wrong. I still love this briefcase. But some things need tweaking...

I am rough on my briefcase, and it shows. I ride a motorcycle to commute to work, and the weathering can take its toll. Especially since I'm not very good about maintaining the leather. The company owner tells me that if I did treat the leather regularly it would look great. Perhaps I should.

A disclaimer. While I have no ties with the company, I have known the owners for over 20 years from when my ex-wife worked for them in the 1990s. I am happy to consider the owners as distant friends, but I did not talk to them for about 20 years, until in 2018 I wanted to buy this briefcase. In the 1990s I'd always wanted one of their products, almost drooling at the rich leather bags and accessories. And then much later, in 2018, I could finally afford to splurge and treat myself. Yay! One final point — while I rave about their product I certainly do not receive any consideration or compensation from them.

At $1,400, while the bag is expensive, the quality and workmanship are there. The value is there. I have no buyer's remorse with this purchase.

The briefcase is beautiful, and it is bullet proof. With good care it will last forever. I hope one of my children wants it and will use it, and then pass it down to one of their kids. It is heirloom quality. Another reason I chose Glaser Designs.

So, after three years what have I observed? IANAHEBE (I am not a high-end briefcase expert!), I only bought this one briefcase and before that I was using a simple nylon day pack, so remember this perspective when reading this post.

What am I extremely happy about?

  • the supple, excellent leather quality. This leather is thick, and sturdy. And it still smells great. The smell reminds me of my youth when I'd oil my baseball glove. For those who that statement speaks to, that aroma is fantastic and I'm a teenager again! The subtle scent is almost orgasmic. Better than sex. Well, almost. Appreciation? Definitely.
  • easy to care for. Apply a little Nivea hand cream (the blue squeeze bottle) evenly with a wet sponge, and that's it. Simple and inexpensive. As it should be. They tell me the briefcase will last forever with that simple care. They don't sell any leather care materials on their web site. They're all about the briefcases and their products, unlike other companies trying to profit a little more by selling silly brushes and lotions — when I picked up the briefcase I got a 1-paragraph description on how to care for it. As it should be. Fine leather has been around for hundreds of years, as has the caring and conditioning of it. Alas, yes, I should condition mine more regularly, about once a month is what they recommend. But I don't...
  • the stitching quality. This company was founded in 1975 by a couple who love their craft. Kari and Myron Glaser. Over the years they have perfected their workmanship, including the stitching they use. It is solid. Bullet proof. And beautiful. Myron told me how Kari really studied how their early bags wore, and how she improved their stitching method in their early years. It's a special method and I would think they'd want to patent it. No idea if they have (I don't think so). The stitching is beautiful.
  • the company, and Made in the USA. Small. Family owned. Made in San Francisco since 1975. They really *care* about their craft and their products. You get individualized, personalized attention from Kari and Myron. And they are great people. I will choose to support companies like that, whenever I can. Myron invites me to stop in for a tour, he’d be happy to show me around. I really should take him up on that one day...
  • the accessories fit like a glove, are strong, and match the brief case. Nicely integrated pieces. The sailcloth they use is STRONG. And visually appealing. The new cord cases, for laptop cord and pens etc, fit nicely in the brief case and they pack efficiently. I bought one and liked it so much, a few months later I returned to buy a second, together with a document organizer. Beautiful pieces.
  • they stand behind their products. After a year of using this brief case I wanted more holes punched into the strap so that the case could hang down closer to me, not down low. No problem, no questions asked and they were happy to do it at no charge. See above, on the point about a small family owned business.
  • I get regular compliments on this bag. It is a very nice bag.

What am I less than happy about?

  • minor concern — the zipper opens in the wrong direction. Explanation: maybe I'm being too picky here, but for a briefcase costing $1,400, one minor thing is that the main zipper opens in the 'wrong' direction. What I mean is, I always carry this case on my right shoulder, and I want the zipper to open from the front end to the back end. When carrying it on my shoulder, I want to see that the zipper pull is closed by a quick glance downward. I am confident they will be happy to reverse it for me at no charge, and hopefully they will, but still it's an inconvenience to have to ask for this. For a bag costing this much, I feel such a company selling such high quality bags would do better if they asked such questions at the point of purchase. Maybe many people don't care about this. But I do. And I think others do too. In the Marine Corps I spent time meticulously getting my field gear, my “deuce gear”, just right. A high quality company, in my mind, should ask such questions at the point of purchase.
  • (edited; added on 12 March) minor concern — can I change the direction of the main snap? Similar to the direction of the zipper opening above, I now wish I had been asked this at the point of purchase: the Tenax fastener at the top center of the briefcase opens to the inboard direction (as the briefcase is carried by its strap). I would have chosen, if given the opportunity, for it to open to the outboard direction. A very minor concern, almost trivial really, but again for a product costing this much I would want to be consulted for such preferences.
  • moderate concern — the loops for the carrying strap slip down and don't secure the strap nicely. They don't stay in place. As a result the strap ends are unsecured and they flop around. Poor form. Unsightly, and untidy. I've seen another's Glaser Designs bag where the owner didn't care about this, and his strap ends flopped around like bunny ears. I've tried a few different solutions, including bind clips. Currently I'm using silicone rubber bands from wrap-it storage. While effective, they're a little unsightly (but still nicer than the binder clips). I plan to visit Kari and Myron and ask if they can incorporate those silicone bands into their design. We'll see how that discussion goes. I think it would be an excellent solution that they can incorporate into other products.
  • MAJOR CONCERN — the briefcase falls over when I put it down. I will try to show this in a picture. I think a design improvement is needed, and I have a suggestion to discuss with them. Because I always carry the briefcase on my right and with the logo facing outboard, the inboard side of the case develops a concave curve to it. I'll try to capture that in pictures. Because of that concave inboard curve, the outboard side of the briefcase has naturally developed a convex curve. The bag ends up curving around me. Which is nice, it is becoming personalized to me. But the problem is that the briefcase is no longer balanced vertically. The briefcase and its contents lean outboard when put on the floor. When I put the briefcase down, I have to do it carefully or else it will tip over. Poor form, especially in a board room with important people (not me). I want to be able to put the briefcase down quickly, vertically, and comfortably and securely, and not have to worry about it tipping over. I have a design improvement that I plan to discuss with Kari and Myron, if they're open to such a discussion. And if they are not, well, maybe they don't care as much as I thought they do. We'll see how that discussion goes. I don't think there is any solution for my bag and, unfortunately, I may simply have to live with it. This is a major bummer, especially for a $1,300 briefcase. The workaround is that I have to place it down on the floor next to something else to lean on. Or I can have the briefcase stand alone, but I need to be careful to balance it when I do. Again, poor form, not sturdy and stable. For a $1,300 briefcase? Come on.

In the end, after three years the bottom line for me is that I am overall very happy with this briefcase and still proud to be its owner. But to be completely honest, perhaps maybe I am happy ony because I don’t have another $1,300 to toss this briefcase aside to get another one (from another company) that does not tip over. Because if I did, I dare think I would. My briefcase is not perfect, but with a few tweaks it might have been.

And maybe that explains why this company is not more successful. Maybe it’s the many little things, and that one big thing, that has stifled its success all these years. Is it a death by a thousand cuts for these guys? I’ve known them over 20 years and really love their leather products. And it baffles me why they’re not more successful. I’m an engineer, not a business person, so this is merely my guess.

That about wraps it up. 3 years down, and more years to come with my beloved Glaser Designs Travelers Briefcase. This is a marriage for me. The journey continues...

Pictures to follow. Sorry for the length of this post. I wanted to provide details for those interested in a Glaser Designs briefcase. And thanks for allowing me to share this here.
 
Last edited:

sclemmons

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2011
Messages
151
Reaction score
55
Have you talked to Glaser about it? They might have an idea or do something to address your issues. It looks like a winner to me. I know they would be happy to help.

My Frank Clegg “Obama double gusset” is also showing its age after a few years but I am happy with it and don’t expect to change a thing. Now that Obama is back and a little older, I fit right in.
 

echo7tango

Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2018
Messages
9
Reaction score
24
Have you talked to Glaser about it? They might have an idea or do something to address your issues. It looks like a winner to me. I know they would be happy to help.

My Frank Clegg “Obama double gusset” is also showing its age after a few years but I am happy with it and don’t expect to change a thing. Now that Obama is back and a little older, I fit right in.
I will talk to them about it. I am hopeful for solutions. Yes I know they'd be happy to help.

Your bag sounds interesting. Got any pictures? Or a link to earlier posts in this thread? Thanks, I am merely a browsing lurker here and mainly just in this thread.

And, glad you fit right in! ;-)
 

razl

Stylish Dinosaur
Joined
Aug 10, 2009
Messages
10,754
Reaction score
3,010

Ian Clegg

Active Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2013
Messages
36
Reaction score
25
Nice write-up. Overall I think the bag looks great and I find Glasier to be a good value for the outfit that they have in SF. Glasier should be able to make you leather keepers to hold the strap, that shouldn't be an issue. With regards to the bag not being able to stand up on its own, it seems like the bag has molded to whatever you hold inside of it. A year or two of having an unbalance briefcase will certainly do this unless you have stiffeners or have a metal plate built into the bag which I don't think is necessary. There can be downsides to doing this. If the interior layout of the bag allows, maybe shifting the position of where you normally place items inside may help. Ex. if you carry a heavy laptop on the right-side shift the laptop to the left side.

Best,
Ian
 

Jr Mouse

Stylish Dinosaur
Dubiously Honored
Joined
Nov 18, 2009
Messages
23,999
Reaction score
12,950
Got to admit those Glaser bags have grown on me over time. I used to find their designs boring and even a little ugly. Now I appreciate the work they do far more.
 

fazalmajid

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2011
Messages
118
Reaction score
47
And maybe that explains why this company is not more successful. Maybe it’s the many little things, and that one big thing, that has stifled its success all these years. Is it a death by a thousand cuts for these guys? I’ve known them over 20 years and really love their leather products. And it baffles me why they’re not more successful. I’m an engineer, not a business person, so this is merely my guess.
The Glasers are wonderful warm people, and I'd spent literally hours discussing this with Myron around 2011 back when they were still at their wonderful, airy and light studio on Folsom Street. I'd reminisced about seeing their ads with the distinctive logo in my dad's print copies of The Economist for decades, and he'd mentioned that print advertising just didn't work any more. I mentioned Monocle magazine and he responded Monocle was more interested in promoting its own collaborations. Ultimately bespoke luggage is a tough business, and their being on the utilitarian/quality end of the spectrum rather than fashion didn't make it easier. A lot of their business was from people in the oil exploration industry who appreciated the durability of their bags, but that was declining.

Now they've moved to a much less pleasant space not far from my old apartment on Nob Hill, about half the space they used to have, so some equipment had to go and they no longer offer the range of leathers they used to. The gentrification of San Francisco and the ridiculous spike in commercial rents certainly did them no favors, but they can't move to lower-priced areas because most of their staff live in San Francisco and don't have cars to drive out of the city. The video consulting model is interesting, but it doesn't build the same emotional connection to the product as being there in person. I bought their backpack as a leaving SF souvenir (my back won't let me use shoulder bags any more). Myron has some amazing ideas, like the special waterproofing treatment he developed for linen, that could probably be profitably marketed by a company with stronger marketing chops (the sustainability angle alone).
 

cutlass

Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2021
Messages
5
Reaction score
1
I have gotten a lot of guidance from this particular thread in the past and only just joined rhe forum today. So since it was the fault of this thread that I recently bought my first completely handstitched briefcase, I have to post here then about my new RF Clark Grantchester in Australian nut colored JE Sedgwick butt bridle leather.

It has incredible build quality and looks tough and yet elegant enough to be part of Batman and bruce Wayne's accessories. There are no machine stitches on this briefcase at all and it looks and smells great! Ray Clark is now retired but I suppose not fully retired since when made this Grantchester.
 

NakedYoga

Distinguished Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2008
Messages
1,687
Reaction score
1,767

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by

Featured Sponsor

Summer Loafers: With or Without Socks?

  • With socks

  • No socks


Results are only viewable after voting.

Related Threads

Forum statistics

Threads
459,806
Messages
9,975,862
Members
207,762
Latest member
Ketoadvantageburn
Top