While visiting New York I stopped by J.P. Marcellino’s retail and manufacturing location in Huntington, NY. Graciously, Joe Marcellino agreed to meet me in the early morning and give a tour of his retail and manufacturing space.
Huntington, New York is a cool town. The small town feel and quaint architecture feel appropriate given its 1600’s heritage and Huntington appealingly lacks the frenetic activity of the larger New York cities. Arriving early, I visited the busy local Starbucks. Seeing my glances around the store to find a table I was quickly invited to join a friendly gentleman reading the local paper. As I enjoyed the morning it was nice to watch pleasant neighbors exchange their morning greetings. It’s a great town and fits J.P. Marcellino very well.
Joe Marcellino has been working leather for fifteen years. Ten years as a hobbyist while he ran a restaurant and the past five running his company. Now as his company expands he employs five other leather workers that he has trained. While most of his business is conducted online, he does have a retail store front with the leather goods made in the back. As they say, business up front and party in the back.
Everything Joe makes is 100% made in America. There is a technical term called “Made in America – one step removed” where parts of the product can be assembled out of country but the final assembly is completed here in America. Nothing like this happens with J.P. Marcellino. All of the briefcases are 100% made in America. The nylon bonded thread is American from Edington, the leather is American bridal leather from Hermann Oak, the hardware is American, and the design and construction are American.
While these bags are beautifully designed, they certainly don’t lack for ruggedness. Form follows function. Each bag is stitched by hand using an age-old technique called saddle stitching which makes for very durable and repairable seams. Glue is rarely used. The downside is that the saddle stitching process is time consuming and physically difficult. It is evidence of a true commitment to durable quality.
There aren’t many leather companies doing work like J.P. Marcellino and not many are charging the prices they are. These are exquisite leather goods. They use grade A bridal leather for their briefcases (this means you will not find stretch marks in the leather which will inevitably create stretch marks and ripples on the bag with use).
One of the unique design traits J.P. Marcellino has is what they call the “strong eye latch.” It is reminiscent of J.P. Marcellino’s former name, Strong Eye Leather. There are only so many creative ways to build a briefcases and it is not uncommon to see very close copies of popular bags on the market. J.P. Marcellino has managed to keep their briefcase designs unique through keeping their latch supplier top secret, which is a good idea. No doubt the design would be copied and reproduced in a matter of months if the supplier of this latch were public information.
It is a clever design that works very quickly. The leather safety snap comes off and with a quick flip the latch opens up. The length of the lever allows for quite a bit of strength in the closure while still being easy to use.
J.P. Marcellino can’t keep up with demand for the briefcases so they were not able to immediately supply BestLeather.org with a bag to review, however, we are going to be reviewing their new Horween wallet being released soon and the signature Strong Eye Latch Briefcase. With the high standards of craftsmanship I saw in the store I look forward to building a greater appreciation for the work that has gone into Marcellino’s company and products.
Thank you for your time Joe!