The majority of leather and leather production is focused on perfection. The goal is to harvest hides from animals with little imperfection, process them without damage, tan them without flaw, and create products with beautiful, pristine leather.
But, there’s an emerging, growing sector of the population that sees leather that is considered as imperfect as something to be appreciated. Marked Leather is at the forefront of producing high quality leather bags from scarred, marked leather and what they’re making looks fantastic.
Marked Leather is based in Minneapolis, MN and owned /operated by Scott Loeser and Rhea O’Connor. Marked Leather is the result of both Scott and Rhea graduating from The Maker’s Coalition. Now, Marked Leather is a champion for this program.
After getting the chance to email and speak with Scott, we agreed to review Marked Leather‘s Marked Satchel.
The Marked Satchel is a well-designed bag. It’s created from premium top grain leather. This particular bag’s leather came from Columbia, however future versions of Marked’s products will feature leather sourced from Thiele Tannery in Milwaukee, WI. The leather has a nice feel to it. One of BestLeather’s other reviewers referred to some leather he recently reviewed as “buttery soft”. Those words can aptly be applied to the leather of the Marked Satchel too.
The satchel features antique brass hardware and heavy gauge, nylon thread in a chestnut color. It also has a cinch strap buckle system for securing the main flap of the bag. These straps, along with the adjustable shoulder strap are made from a thick, canvas-like material. The interior of the bag is lined with an attractive plaid material from Mill Creek.
As mentioned earlier, the Marked Satchel is a well-designed bag. It’s surprisingly large and will easily carry whatever you need for daily use. It’s also an excellent travel satchel and will definitely perform well as an overnight bag.
It has several pockets and storage areas. On the back of the bag is a large, open pocket that’s perfect for slipping your newspaper or magazine into while traveling. Under the main flap you’ll find a large pocket that is secured with a large snap button. In thinking about travel…especially international travel, this is a great spot to store your passport. In the large, main compartment is a small zipper pocket in the rear that will store all of your small pieces with ease (think keys, flashlight, wallet, gum, etc.). The satchel will easily accommodate a 15” laptop and lots of other stuff. That main compartment is big. The shoulder strap is thick, wide, easily adjustable, and comfortable. It’s easily carried on your shoulder, can be adjusted to wear cross body, or just use the soft, comfy handle.
One thing that took some time to adjust to…and I’m not still a big fan of, is the way the main flap has to be secured. It’s a little awkward and time consuming in order to fully secure the flap using the two cinch straps. Fortunately, the bag is easily carried whether or not you have the flap full secured.
I think this bag looks great. The color of the leather, a nice chocolate-brown is visually appealing. And, I’m one of those people who have developed an appreciation for leather with scars, brands, stretch marks, and blemishes. There are certainly those detractors who’ll let you know that “stretch marks weaken the leather” and my usual reply is, I’m not carrying tons of weight in this thing, so the tensile strength on this leather will more than suffice for the rest of my life.
I do think the tide is changing on what’s acceptable in the leather marketplace. I’ve had lots of compliments on this bag – especially inquiries about the brand. People want to know about it. While some people anticipate having a bag with patina on it in time, this bag comes loaded with a story and yes, appeal. Whose brand is it? Where is it from? It creates questions and people enjoy it.
The other great thing is…I will most likely never run into someone who has the same bag with the same brand in the same location. If you’re looking for unique…look no further.
The Marked Leather Marked Satchel is a standout among others in the leather satchel market. It’s solidly constructed from quality materials and offers a unique, visually appealing style. At $360, it’s a good buy and will definitely serve you well for many, many years.