Timeless heirloom quality craftsmanship, a business on passion and integrity and gorgeous design, put them all together and you have Satchel & Page. Created by traveller and entrepreneur Daniel Ralsky as a way to combine his love of travelling with a gap in the market for handcrafted bags and accessories for modern men/women, Satchel & Page is an example of how handmade ethics and manufactured products can go hand in hand (pun intended). Daniel visits us to share the story behind his business plus some powerful words of advice to dream chasers of all kinds.
Why did you start Satchel & Page?
My passion in life is traveling and learning foreign languages. I’ve lived in Argentina as a volunteer for a non-profit agency and also Brasil as an English teacher. On a trip to Japan, my 1-month old bag snapped. When I got home I look very hard, but just couldn’t find anything I liked to replace it. Most of the bags looked like they came off the same overseas assembly line. So I decided to replace it myself and create a unique, durable bag with style: Something with character that I could use for any of my adventures. I showed a few friends, and they wanted one too. “I might be on to something here,” I thought. That’s how Satchel & Page started.
What is your design inspiration?
My designs are all inspired by a certain place or adventure. For example, the design of the leather on the Austin messenger makes me think of an old Texan saddle. And the leather itself is sourced in Texas.
The Alegna ipad purse is fun and colorful – It reminds me of my time living in Brasil.
The passport travel journals remind me of backpacking through Europe. I wish I had one of those journals then because many of the memories have faded over time!
What are your company values?
Integrity and character. It’s everything: from the materials in our bags to how we treat our customers.
The materials are carefully selected and all sourced in the USA. Our primary materials, waxed canvas and oil-tanned leather, have very unique aging profiles. So the bags will truly age according to the elements the owner exposes it to. All our products are made one by one, preserving attention to detail and craftsmanship.
I strive to ensure our customers have a great experience with Satchel & Page. There are so many companies that make great stuff, but don’t know how to treat people.
What do you have in store for 2012?
I am very excited for 2012. I’m working on expanding the line of bags. Currently, I am working on finalizing a prototype of a really cool backpack. Also, I’m planning to make a rugged, fun version of the classic briefcase. Once I fill out the bag line, I’ll start making smaller carry goods like wallets and computer sleeves. I also plan to add a charitable component to Satchel & Page. We’re still looking for the right cause to support…Any ideas?
What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting something handmade on their own?
Consumers are getting smarter and more thoughtful. Rather than buying something impersonal and mass-produced, people are looking more for things made just for them: Something made by a person, with meaning.
It can be overwhelming to create something and commercialize it. My advice would be to just dive in and do it. You will make mistakes along the way, but you’ll also learn a ton. Make a checklist of everything you have to do and knock that checklist off one-by-one. Chase your dream, whatever it is, because you only live once.
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