Our Process Part I: Material Sourcing + Selection
Our team will be taking the next few weeks to take a deep dive into our process, illustrating how we source and create our product and the why behind it all. We are breaking it down into a four-part series beginning with the foundation: our material sourcing + selection. More than our attention to detail and craft, the base of our products must begin with quality leather, premium waxed canvas, a strong thread, true brass, and hammered copper. The research and sourcing of these materials has taken years to narrow the best that our country has to offer. With every inch of our bags being hand-crafted and curated right here in our shop, it is vital for us to handle our raw material with confidence, knowing it will last for years without question.
Choosing the right tannery dictates the longevity of our straps, belts, wallets, and the base of many of our bag styles. Sourcing our rolls of leather directly from Wickett & Craig Tannery (founded in 1867- Pennsylvania) as well as Famous Horween Leathers (founded in 1905- Chicago, IL) secures the fact that every piece of our leather is tanned using centuries-old organic process resulting in the most durable leather. This laborious and time intensive method is a natural eco-friendly process that produces the most beautiful leathers, known for their deep color and wear-given patina.
The natural tanning process begins with pre-tanning, where hides are properly prepped, spending a few days rehydrating and removing hair. Next, the hides are moved to a tanning yard where vats are filled with a blend of natural tree barks where they will spend up to two weeks soaking. Once out of the tanning yards, excess moisture is removed, and hides are split into desired thickness. It is here that the hides are transformed into a desired color using different dyes then “fat-liquored” with conditioning oil and waxes. Finally, each one is dried in a climate-controlled space for a few days and then sprayed with wax and polyurethane for a final layer of protection, preparing them for years of use. The leather is then ironed smooth, rolled, and shipped straight to our shop where we begin our process of transforming it into something timeless and useful.
Our waxed canvas is sourced directly from Fairfield Textile located in New Jersey. Known for their beeswax canvas treatment, this blend has been formulated and effectively used since 1838. This 100% natural wax sealant produces a beautiful water-repellent fabric that is sturdy and structured, yet soft to the touch. Canvas is composed completely of cotton and is constructed with a plain weave creating an excellent strength-to-weight ratio. This combination of cotton and wax makes this fabric sustainable and incredibly durable. Overtime, the canvas can be re-waxed as needed for many more years of use.
A solid polyester thread binds it all together creating a strong, clean, and lasting design resistant to wear and tear. Our supplier of thread (American & Efird) offers a global array of premium products equally focused on sustainability and quality craftsmanship. Our seamstresses create each stitch with care, binding the leather and waxed canvas which simply creates a bond that will not fail.
The brass, zippers, and copper rivets we use are sourced directly from American manufacturers including Buckleguy, UCAN, YKK, and Clendenin Brothers, all having been leaders in their industries for decades. Using true metal hardware as opposed to plastics elevates the entire composition of each bag. From start to finish, each component is eco-conscious and built to last.
The quality of our materials is unmatched, and each individual element becomes more beautiful with age. Once sewn, hammered, and bound together, these carefully sourced items become one: A North End Bag. Made to be used and absorb the daily grind, our goal is to provide you with outstanding hand-crafted items for everyday use. With the environment and longevity of our product at the forefront, we strive to continually open new eyes to the investment of properly selected material and consciously created bags. Because in fact, we will always need them both!