It happened over dinner and drinks. We started talking about Joe’s family business and it came down to coming up with business ideas; how my experience meant I could market a concept for a product he would create.
“How difficult would it be to make a bag that could neatly fit all my essentials?”
It was a perfectly reasonable and valid question to me — like most working professionals, I'd carry my kindle, laptop, notebook and other daily essentials in my bag. Yet, I didn’t feel like there was a bag out there that was solving a truly simple, everyday problem: everything is always messy and I’ve to dig deep to find my things.
Joe told me it’d be difficult to make. Building a certain number of compartments was one thing, putting the entire bag together was another ball game altogether — it might take rounds and rounds of sample making. I took his word for it and believed him. After all, there wasn't anything like that online.
Then, Joe said something that really kickstarted it all.
“Well, we don’t pay for sample making or a manufacturer’s fee — we own the factory.”
The rest really, is history.
I can’t explain how hard of a worker Joe is because his work ethic is mental. He doesn’t like to be told something is impossible unless he’s tried it. Despite the challenges, he didn’t want to put it to bed so he worked on the idea with his father James and together, we tried to bring it to life. Countless months and rounds of sample making later, we made it — we'd created Faire Leather Co. as a brand and company, along with products that were seemingly impossible to make. The next step was to take it to the people.
We achieved this by organising focus groups and presenting every prototype before incorporating feedback with each iteration — over and over again until we got it right. When I finally got to sit down with James one day, he'd remarked that in all his thirty over years of making bags, there was never a single bag that he found too difficult to make, until this one.
So how did we do it?
The short story is two straightforward reasons. Owning the factory was a big game changer. We make savings throughout the entire production process because we don’t pay for sample making or a manufacturer’s fee. That’s how we keep our costs low and pass those savings on to you.
The second reason is heritage. We've the experience and expertise of craftsmen from Joe’s 30-year-old family business at Tocco Toscano. This means we know how to source the right leathers and cut leather efficiently.
It was simple — there wasn’t a product out there that had what we wanted so we made it. We're obsessed with making the best possible product and the only way to do that is to ask, consider what’s relevant and continually make samples (because owning the factory means we can afford to). We didn’t just research, run surveys and collate data — we actually made the samples and went iteration after iteration until we were convinced that it was closest to what people would want and need.
This is how we do things here at Faire Collective.