If you think that it’s only the venerable established names like Chapman, Tusting and Swaine Adeney Brigg that still make their products in the U.K., then think again. Recent upstart Holdall & Co, brainchild of Raimonda Navickaite, is doing just that with her new company that makes quality leather goods that rely on a marriage of quality materials and traditional workmanship.
The result of this dedication is the Holdall & Co Folio which has been “designed to withstand the rigours of regular use and to weather the storms of life in style” making it an item you are more likely to hand down instead of toss out.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Raimonda to find out more about this new venture.
What insight can you give our readers into the creation of Holdall & Co?
I was inspired to start Holdall & Co by my personal collection of vintage bags and cases which made me want to bring back the quality and values these items had, and knew that whatever we made had to be around for many years to come. I wanted to start a company which designed and manufactured the highest quality products that go against the throwaway mentality we have and to make something which is for ‘life’. Something which showcases the high quality skills the British manufacturing has been renowned for for hundreds of years and to make sure that these skills are still here for the next generation to enjoy, learn and pass down to the generation after them.
Do you consider yourself an entrepreneur, a designer or some hybrid of the two?
I would definitely have to say that it’s a mix of both, because for me one wouldn’t work without the other as they are so closely connected; from the design of the folios (figuring out the perfect size, sourcing the right materials etc) to designing the website and of course everyday running of the company.
Were you ever tempted to outsource labour?
To us, ‘made in England’ is a proud declaration of a products provenance, a guarantee of passion, dedication, quality and craftsmanship so I can honestly say that it never crossed my mind. Before I even embarked on this journey I knew that whatever I ended up producing had to be made in England as it was the whole point of starting Holdall & Co. It has never been about trying to cut corners to save money and always to simply make the finest products we can with integrity, strength and durability.
It’s important for me to know that every one of our folio bags are lovingly handmade with traditional techniques using British-made tools. We strive to keep our manufacture both honest and ethical – from fair wages and high quality materials to traditional workmanship and keeping business local.
Why was the Folio chosen as your first product?
For our first product I wanted to concentrate on quality and design something simple that will stand the test of time and won’t look out of date in 10 years time. It was also important for it to be practical and something that I believe was missing from the market; a robust yet durable under-arm bag that is both stylish yet smart for the ‘Modern Professional.
I spent 7 months developing the perfect design, traveling around England sourcing the best leather and trying to find a factory with the experience and skills to produce my designs. I knew from the start that the folios had to be made in England and I searched hard to find traditional case makers with decades of experience who would not only ensure longevity for the folios but turn them into a unique piece of art. Even with a background in fashion I’ve learnt so much in the process of designing the folio; I have a great respect for the skills and workmanship that goes into making a quality product.
There has been a resurgence of interest in “Made in America” products stateside, do you see something similar occurring in the U.K.?
Yes, absolutely! I think that many people are changing the way they shop and now want to know more about the products they buy; where they’re made, who by and in what conditions. I also think that many are getting a little fed up of the throwaway society that we’ve been living in so are now looking for items they can cherish for years to come and want to invest in something of high quality craftsmanship.
What’s next for Holdall & Co?
Currently we’re concentrating on our folios and have some great ideas coming up for Spring/Summer (including some more colours and exciting new editions), though we are looking to introduce new designs in the near future.
The Folio is available in two sizes The Organized /12″ and The Professional /14″ in your choice of Chestnut or London Tan.
Price: £185.00-£210.00 (Free worldwide shipping)