Kendal & Hyde Co.
Kendal & Hyde Co. is an innovator in artisanal, high-quality leather Bag
Have you ever bought a product knowing it would be passed to the next generation? That’s exactly the type of products we make—a fact that is winning us loyal customers in a market that is increasingly seeking out quality (especially among millennials), and contributing to $2M in sales since inception in 2014.
Everybody has a passion (or weakness depending on who is talking). Ours is leather bags. We like bags that are tough, cowboy tough. Bags that Indiana Jones would take into the jungle. Bags that get better with age and wear. Bags that look, feel and last like bags did a century ago, but that are built to satisfy modern daily carry needs—especially the need to carry and protect computers and electronics.
Kendal & Hyde Co. was conceived out of founder and designer Kendal Liddle’s search for a vintage leather bag that met his personal modern daily carry needs. Not finding the classic style, quality materials, and thoughtful utility he wanted on the market, he decided to just design and make his own.
Kendal’s original criteria when searching for his personal bag have remained as the value proposition Kendal & Hyde Co. offers its customers in all of our products.
Nothing in our designs is done for ornamentation sake. You won’t find ornamental stitching, gaudy hardware or any such frivolity.
We build our bags to be functional, plain and simple. In this simplicity we found beauty.
The Kendal & Hyde aesthetic can be described as modern interpretations of classic designs from the early 20th century—designs that have withstood the test of time and unlike trendier contemporary designs, are destined to remain relevant and appreciated long into the future.
Each decision we make in the design and manufacturing of a K&H product is made on merits of functionality, strength and longevity, and not for cost reduction to meet predetermined price points. This ethos of not compromising resonates with our customers and gives them confidence that a purchase of a Kendal & Hyde product is a purchase that will last their lifetime—a value proposition not met by most of our competitors.
Added to the base utility built into our bags are modular “add on” options such as additional pockets, straps or even a water bottle holder. Customers use these add on accessories to customize their personal bags to their personal carry needs. Our customers can achieve a level of customization and personalization without the expense of a true bespoke or custom-made bag. This modular concept is new and unique in the luxury leather bag industry and sets Kendal & Hyde apart as a market leader and innovator.
The consumer goods market is a glut of cheaply made products with a limited life span. Recently there has been a dramatic shift in consumer interest away from “disposable” purchases to well-built and long-lasting products. This shift is especially true for younger consumers who are buying less, but buying better.
It’s not hard to make bags that meet our standards, all you have to do is not compromise on materials, not cut corners and make every design decision based on strength and utility. Not many companies nowadays are willing to hold themselves and their products to the standards that we do—a fact which has benefitted us and will continue to drive our success in the marketplace.
At Kendal & Hyde, we make products for ourselves first. Only after one of our creations meets our standards as a product we ourselves would want to buy do we offer it to others—after all it has our name on it, and we do not take that lightly. This mentality is a fundamental brand attribute we publicize to our customers. They in turn feel our personal connection to our products and understand the pride we take in creating quality pieces. This sets us apart from the large brands with which we compete.
We could go on about leather until, well until the cows come home. This really is the most important part of a bag and the part that really dictates the quality and price of a bag.
There are many ways manufacturers cut corners and misrepresent their products regarding leather. Thin leather won’t last. Layering, lining and turning the edges are all ways some manufacturers cheat and make thin leather appear thicker or better than it really is. “Bonded,” “patent” and “genuine leather” are the particle boards of the leather world and often contain more plastic and binders than they do actual leather. The less real leather a manufacturer uses, the more money they can save. You might initially pay less for a bag made of cheap or thin leather, but you’ll be replacing it sooner, so in the end are you really saving anything?
We use only thick full-grain vegetable-tanned leather to make our products. Properly cared for the leather we use will last, and look increasingly more beautiful, for centuries—no kidding. It’s the same kind of leather used to make saddles and harnesses—places where cutting corners and using cheap leather could cost you your life. To my knowledge, cheap leather has never caused a bag-related fatality, but we are not taking any chances and only use the good stuff—no, actually we only use the best stuff.
But really the reason we use the leather we do is because of the way it looks. Vegetable-tanned leather is unique in the way it patinas and darkens with age and use. This patina makes our leather products quickly take on an authentically vintage look to match the vintage-inspired designs. As the days turn to week, weeks to months and months eventually into years, each of our products become more beautiful—a characteristics that becomes more important the longer you own it, and you will own it for a long time.
Cheap hardware has become the norm in today’s market. Most hardware used by other companies on belts and bags is made of zinc alloy. It’s cheap, brittle, and it breaks. We don’t use zinc alloy. All our hardware is made of solid cast brass. Our buckles and clasps are tested to hundreds of pounds each—ten times or more weight than you would ever carry in your bag. It’s overkill perhaps, but that’s how we do things at Kendal & Hyde.
Many of our hardware pieces are custom designed by Kendal and unique to us. The signature matte nickel plating looks beautiful against our vegetable-tanned leather and contributes to the authentic vintage look of our bags and belts.
The thread is the weakest link in a bag and another one of the ways other manufacturers cut corners.
In the old days, cotton or linen was used. Problem is, leather is acidic and erodes natural fibers over time. Then came Nylon—which is still the most common thread used to stitch leather products. Nylon is very strong but it gets brittle over time when exposed to UV light. Our products are stitched with Marine-grade polyester—the same thread used in sailmaking because of its strength and integrity under the most extreme use and environmental stresses. Polyester is as strong as Nylon, but is more durable when exposed to UV. It’s more expensive than the other options, but what is a buck or two more in thread when you are using over $100 of leather? It really makes no sense to cut corners here, and yet most bag manufacturers do.
At points that receive extra stress, we place a rivet. The custom-made rivets are gunmetal/antique nickel to match the other hardware. The rivets we use are two sided so they look as nice on the inside as they do on the outside—little touches like this make all the difference in our opinion.
While most companies are looking for shortcuts, Kendal & Hyde takes the road rarely traveled: creating high-quality leather goods with a relentless commitment to quality and craftsmanship—products that we ourselves would want to buy.
Kendal & Hyde offers the quality the market is demanding, and we do it with style—a style that is one part classic, one part modern, but all utility. Our bags look, feel and even smell like your grandfather’s bag. But unlike the the bags of the early 20th century, our bags are built for your modern carry needs—namely the need to accommodate and protect a computer, charger and various other digital necessities.
Our classic satchel (above) is engineered to protect a computer by safely cradling it in the very heart of the bag where it cannot be bumped and damaged from any angle—a design that is unique in the market. There might be a better solution for keeping a computer safe in a leather satchel, but we have not seen it.
We have made a lot of progress towards our goal of redefining quality in the leather goods space. But we are just getting started. In fact, our best and most innovative work is just coming off the drawing board and yet to come.
Our collection of products is ever expanding and ranges from wallets and journals to belts, backpacks and, of course, our signature flagship every day carry computer bags. We’re continually adding new products to the lineup—each with the same commitment to quality that has defined us from the start. Below are a few of the many designs we plan to release this holiday season.
We don’t see ourselves as just a leather bag company, but rather a lifestyle brand centered on quality craftsmanship and thoughtful utility. Our plans are to continue to expand our offering over time to include dog collars and leashes, women’s bags, canvas bags, watches and other accessories that integrate with our core leather goods.
At the same time that we’re building our product offering, we’re also building our community: We have an amazing following of customers who are passionate about our product, our brand and what we stand for. We have already presold over $1 million worth of products on Kickstarter.com to over 5,300 backers, and we have sold an additional 3,000 plus orders through our website.
Want to learn more about Kendal & Hyde Co.? Request access to the business plan tab of this profile to see where we’re going and how you can help us get there.
A designer by trade, entrepreneur at heart and lover of all things beautiful, functional and well-crafted. Kendal has been designing things for other people professionally for over 20 years. His numerous accolades for design include: Communication Arts magazine, Graphis magazine, Local regional and National ADDYs, ADDYs “Best of Show”, AIGA 100 show and “Copper Ingot” award (Best of Show). It is Kendal’s search for the perfect bag, that led to the creation of Kendal & Hyde. “I wonder what took me so long.”
The “Hyde” of Kendal & Hyde is the marketing expert that brings the whole package together. With 20 years working in user and customer acquisition, programming for mobile, e-commerce and B2B, sales and digital media, his execution has led to over $200 million in digital sales for companies, start-ups and billion dollar corporations. “I like to sell stuff. Usually online. And feed birds.”
“Kendal and Hyde both love to make and sell beautiful products, but someone has to get those products to you.”With ten years of operation and finance experience ranging from multinational conglomerates to local start ups, Matt Cook rounds out the leadership team by managing the operations and finances.