Behind every bag there is an assembly… a team of artisans who are skilled in their trade, each completing a step in our process. Every team member has set roles and responsibilities, becoming trained in that specific line of work. Having different previous experiences, interests, and set of skills, we all share a common interest in the art of using our hands to create.
“Prior to working at North End, I spent time working as a missionary in Thailand, Cambodia, South Africa and Nicaragua with The World Race Organization. Traveling as a team of 40, they generally split us off into smaller groups based on different leadership skills. We spent most of our time teaching English, building relationships, and facilitating sports ministry in orphanages. This incredible experience gave me a worldly perspective, opening my eyes to a new level of gratitude. The work ethic I gained from this phase of my life has carried me into this position at North End. Beginning in 2019, I began helping with shipping and social media. I was eager to learn more, and was soon trained to sew. Beginning with the small accessory bags and moved my way up to bigger styles. Now, I’m responsible for creating some of our most popular bags. I value the teacher/student relationship I have with Taylor and Aaron. Having the ability to learn and work along side of a mentor is huge. Previous teams I’ve been a part of have been peer to peer. This has allowed me the ability to feel and see growth within myself on a regular basis which is incredibly rewarding. We depend on each other and have developed trust and support, we are family.”
“Pre-North End I was a college student working in hospitality and on my personal passion project of shoe making. Studying in school was an asset to me because it forced me into a setting where I needed to learn how to manage my own time. Hospitality taught me how to interact with and serve people. This sharpened my communication skills which has assisted me so much in retail, connecting with our customers on a genuine and personal level. What led me here… I was working on my first prototype of shoe, I would come show Aaron, get his advice and insight. I started working at North End cutting leather and prepping parts of a bag for assembly. Having a bit of previous sewing knowledge, I’ve been able to sharpen those skills here. After a few months I moved into hardware, finishing the bag with straps and handles. Witnessing how each person contributes differently and what another pair of hands can do to make us better is my favorite part of being here. I feel empowered when I get to put the finishing touch on every bag. Knowing that Aaron cut the fabric, Vicki ,Taylor, or Jo sewed the seams, Sarah made the liner, and I finished the handles. A team effort where we grow together. Here, there is no ceiling.”
Jo- Seamstress + Shipping + Manager
“Before North End, I carried a number of titles. I was a manager in retail and before that, I was in the Navy. Across all of these experiences I learned customer service and hospitality. I’ve always loved learning and teaching which has helped me work with people. Between my various lines of work, I’ve enjoyed learning what I value in a work place: I love and value serving people and having the ability to create something that someone chooses to use daily is huge. It gives me such a sense of pride when I see it finished and carried out of the shop for use. Coming in with just basic sewing knowledge, I started off creating small accessory bags and have moved onto larger styles as well. Recently taking on shipping and customer service, I’ve learned to always be a student… here, we are always, always learning. In regard to the team, I know that I am a peg in the wheel and we need all pegs for the wheel to turn. I feel valued in my workplace which makes going to work awesome. The authenticity of our team is something I’ve never had before!”
Taylor- Seamstress + Operations / Inventory Manager
“Prior to North End I worked for Apple for many years. I was a creative, so I taught people how to use their machines. The customer service and leadership training I received has been a huge asset to my current roles. While there, I was craving a creative outlet and began teaching myself to sew at home. I began building a hobby, attending craft shows, and learning to sew clothes and more. I introduced myself to Aaron at a show; I wanted to learn more and let him know that I would love to work with him if he’s hiring. Shortly after, I began as an intern for 3 months, learning from Aaron how to make liners, prep material, and hammer hardware. He trained me to make a 76th St Tote and made me their first employee. That first bag I made had an error in the way I sewed the leather, making it flawed. Every time I look at it and see that mistake I think about how far I’ve come (she still carries that bag today!). Being creative in my work place is the way I’m wired and essential to who I am. Working for North End since 2016, it has been incredible to watch the process of a small business bloom. Aaron manifests his vision, being a part of that vision is awesome!”
Monica- Marketing Specialist
“Before joining the team at North End, I had been photographing, blogging, and creating creative content for a few corporate companies. Having the experience of mapping out an entire year of content and strategy, then self-managing my projects and time lines has been essential to my role here. Taking on the newsletter, blog, and social content has been a blast. Having the creative freedom to plan and direct this content is a wonderful way to genuinely connect with our customer. Learning the ins and outs of our process along with the roles and responsibilities of each team member has been incredible to witness. This production is truly a sight to see. The group effort that results in a quality finished product is one that I am so proud to be a part of!
Sarah-Seamstress + Co-Owner
“Before meeting Aaron and stepping into my roles at North End, I was a yoga instructor, dancer, and worked retail. Having retail experience was the perfect foundation to know how to build relationships with people from all walks of life. There is so much movement involved which translates here, being flexible, on your feet, and constantly able to learn a new skill. I’ve floated around in the shop a lot, filling in whatever spot needs to be filled at the time. When I began, my first job was leather working and hardware; Aaron would sew, and I would finish the bags. Soon he taught me to sew so we could swap and trade roles from time to time. This creative process has become part of who I am. Whether dancing, instructing yoga, or constructing a bag, it all requires creativity. This team has become such a valuable part of my life. Seeing our bags in action around town and knowing exactly which part of our team completed each part of that bag is an incredible feeling. Being able to have witnessed our growth from the beginning to now is so motivating to know, the best is yet to come!”
Aaron… Founder + Owner
“I’ve sewn since I was a kid… When I moved to Virginia Beach in 2012, I was working for myself doing construction as well as traveling as an antique vendor. At one of these antique shows, I met a few guys up north who were making and selling their own denim jeans. In that moment I was inspired that I could make something myself. Having sewn my whole life, I began making bags when I was 12 years old. I would make a bag for a trip, for my fishing reels, everything I carried had a bag. I would work my normal job during the day, then I would sew at night. I began making a few styles to sell at the local Old Beach Farmers Market on the weekend. Working out of various workshops for a couple years, we finally landed at our storefront/workshop in The Vibe Creative District in 2016 and we’ve been here ever since. This creative process has become essential for me, I enjoy the repetition of making something that I worked hard to design. While making these repetitive designs I’m able to mentally wonder and create, always dreaming of new designs and ideas to conquer next.”