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The RACHford Files: FAIRE LEATHER CO. Travel Briefcase

rach2jlc

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FAIRE Leather Co. is an SF affiliate whose official thread can be found here.

Joe and Ryan (the founders) have a pretty interesting origin story, so I recommend checking out the above. Short story is that Ryan was a tech professional who couldn’t really find a bag that fit his needs and still had some style; Joe’s family owned a leather company. Voila! A brand is born.

They gave me the chance to test drive their first run of products, the Bond Travel Briefcase, Everyday Padfolio, and a card case. I’ve been using them for the last week or so and thought I’d give you my impressions.

Executive Summary: Throw away your Targus, Techboy… I’ve got your new bag.

Intro: The $500 pricepoint is one of the toughest around. From anything with a brand name you are getting garbage, and a lot of others that try just end up making something “neat” that really isn’t all that functional, looks/acts like everything else, or just doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. SF has been lucky to have a few good ones as affiliates that I’ve really liked, and from my initial test run of FAIRE’s stuff, I’m excited to add them to that list.


What I like: You can definitely tell that Joe’s family has a history in leather goods. The “finish” and overall attention to design is obvious from the start. The size is great, the leather has the right balance of softness and thickness, they are very understated with any logoing/branding, and hardware is clean and functional.

I LOVE that they use a softer leather lining... (as opposed to cloth or nylon). I also like that they manage to have a leather bag with leather lining that is relatively lightweight (often all that leather makes a bag weigh a ton).

The main thing that sets it apart, though, is its focus on tech-friendly; the bag was designed from the start not just to look good, but also to hold all your gizmos. I'll post a pic below.

I also like the small details that make it feel like a “luxe” bag… nice dustbag and box, lovely little envelope and card with their story inside. Small things, yes, but still nice to have.

Criticisms: Nothing really major. Again, you can tell that Joe had all the "foundations" in place. As well, perhaps its greatest strength is, for me, one of its only potential drawbacks: honestly I’m NOT a super tech-y guy and really only have a phone and, sometimes, an ipad. As such, while I love all the little pockets and snaps and thingies inside… personally I don’t know that I’d use them all. Others can/will/might, so again this isn’t a criticism.

Also, at first glance I felt like the rolled leather handles were a little thin; nevertheless they “hold” very nicely even when the bag is full. As well, they are quite sturdy and I didn’t get any feel of “stretching.” So, again, not a complaint but just an observation. I'm sure Joe/Ryan will comment below.


Longevity/Future wear: I’ve been using it for only a week or so, and will update after I’ve given it further beating. So far, though, the vegetable tanned leather of the briefcase shows no scratches or wear, even though I’ve smacked it (accidentally) against the car door and my desk. And the grained leather of the padfolio as well is even sturdier.


Overall Assessment: Another in the Rach “must buy” segment, and an absolute essential for those with technology. It honestly "feels" like a $600-750 bag, which if you had it on a table with no information and asked me to guess, I'd probably have done. That being said... I don't recommend to them that they double their prices. ;)

Pricing:
Retail: Bond Travel Briefcase - 402USD
Bond Everyday Padfolio - 219USD
(With free worldwide shipping)

Promotional Pricing (currently available on Kickstarter)
Bond Travel Briefcase - 256USD
Bond Everyday Padfolio - 168USD

They also let me know some future plans and ideas:

1. Monogramming
2. Different bag strap options for purchase separately
3. Business Card holders
4. Backpack
5. Key pouch
6. Diaper bag

d4a98865d1677b9cafe492a5a007276f_original.jpg
 
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rach2jlc

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One more picture (from their affiliate page). This shows all the pockets and how they would be used.

4faff60e7aa3f84bb52d30357ac26b63_original.jpg
 

rach2jlc

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Just got an update from FAIRE that they are making two slight changes from the prototype model I test drove:

1) They are upgrading the zippers to one with a single zipper pull piece (right now it has a hinged, two piece pull... I like that they will make this change as it lessens the chance of the zipper pull breaking over time).

2) They are upgrading to a more $$$/more durable magnetic closure for the second zip compartment. Again, anything that uses higher quality materials is a good thing in my book.
 
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Joe_Faire

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Also, at first glance I felt like the rolled leather handles were a little thin; nevertheless they “hold” very nicely even when the bag is full. As well, they are quite sturdy and I didn’t get any feel of “stretching.” So, again, not a complaint but just an observation. I'm sure Joe/Ryan will comment below.

We actually determined the thickness of the rolled handles based on many years of trial and error across multiple briefcase iterations that we made for Tocco Toscano (my family business that also sells leather products) since the 1990s. During our focus groups we asked participants to rate their comfort level when using rolled handles of different thickness and the results were inconclusive (we threw in flat handles as well). Hence, we decided to revert to our original assumption that this thickness would be the most comfortable for the majority of users.
 

rach2jlc

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We actually determined the thickness of the rolled handles based on many years of trial and error across multiple briefcase iterations that we made for Tocco Toscano (my family business that also sells leather products) since the 1990s. During our focus groups we asked participants to rate their comfort level when using rolled handles of different thickness and the results were inconclusive (we threw in flat handles as well). Hence, we decided to revert to our original assumption that this thickness would be the most comfortable for the majority of users.

Thanks for the explanation. As I've been using the bag, I agree and find them to work well and hold their shape nicely.
 

Joe_Faire

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How much weight can the handle, handle?
We have not applied an official stress test to find the breaking point.
But I can tell you that I have been using sample version#2 for almost 3 months now and my bag weighs about 5kg fully-loaded (I carry a lot of stuff - even hair wax, toothpaste etc) and it is holding up well.
 

rach2jlc

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Okay, I've been beating around and throwing everything I can find into the bag to test the handles... and they are fine. Keeping their shape, fitting the "hand" nicely, etc. Really impressed with this bag at this pricepoint. I'm also beating up the Padfolio, and it's wearing just fine.
 

rach2jlc

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Now into March, and this bag is still holding up amazingly. I'm admittedly careful with my bags, so I gave it to my husband (who could destroy a tank). The bag is still holding up.

Really impressed with this bag at this price.
 

James337

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As a working professional who regularly travels, after my coach bleecker briefcase started falling apart at the seams (literally), I was looking for a strong professional briefcase that had a trolley slot, and compartments for my work needs. To my delight, I came across this briefcase on kickstarter and have been using this bag exclusively for the last few months. The brief has held up beautifully over many journeys across state lines, airports, train stations, and I love how it keeps everything I need organized. The quality of the leather can be felt as soon as you grip the handle, and it is clear that this brief case will develop a nice patina over time. I've attached some photos for your viewing pleasure. Highly recommend, and cannot be beaten for the price point. Bravo!

20180925_143114.jpg


20180925_143145.jpg


20180925_143244.jpg
 

Deputy1234

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As a working professional who regularly travels, after my coach bleecker briefcase started falling apart at the seams (literally), I was looking for a strong professional briefcase that had a trolley slot, and compartments for my work needs. To my delight, I came across this briefcase on kickstarter and have been using this bag exclusively for the last few months. The brief has held up beautifully over many journeys across state lines, airports, train stations, and I love how it keeps everything I need organized. The quality of the leather can be felt as soon as you grip the handle, and it is clear that this brief case will develop a nice patina over time. I've attached some photos for your viewing pleasure. Highly recommend, and cannot be beaten for the price point. Bravo!

View attachment 1041693

View attachment 1041694

View attachment 1041695
Thinking of getting the same exact bag. The black vegetable tanned leather. Is there anything you don't like about the bag?
 

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