I got this bag HERE, for SGD$157.
I got this bag in Sevilla, for SGD$120.
Sevilla has a long tradition in working with leather. Right next to the bullfighting arena, there was a bespoke leather shop. When we enquired, the craftsman needed 6 weeks to tailor a pair of shoes. It gave me an idea to scrounge about for a good deal in a leather backpack for myself. It makes sense to shop for products that are made locally.
Scented candles and lanolin creams were good and cheap in the Cotswolds. They had lovely leather goods too, which I bought for my children. I don't even know why I did not buy any leather bag for myself in the Cotswolds. Perhaps, the designs did not appeal.
The Wonderful Husband walked with me for 3 hours in Sevilla before I found my bag. I had stringent requirements you see. Firstly, it had to be No Brand. Secondly, it had to be of great workmanship. Thirdly, it had to be of very soft leather. Fourthly, I wanted zips, not buckles.
The branded bags of pure leather were way overpriced. Anything with a brand on it, is overpriced. The bags with no brand, were cheap China imports. It was frustrating. Finally, we found an old style leather shop in an unobtrusive cul de sac. The shop was untouched by mass commerce. The bags were well-made and fully leather. However, being a very traditional Sevillan shop, it stocked very traditional designs which all had buckles and ties, instead of zips.
Fortunately, I was able to find my mini leather backpack for SGD$120 in the softest leather imaginable, on the lowest shelf at one corner of the shop.
After we got home, I found another leather backpack of a somewhat unique design on Etsy. The craftsman works in real leather in Ukraine. I rather suspect that she makes her bags to order. When you order, she makes. Therefore, it can take a while to arrive. I ordered on 7 January. The bag arrived on 5 February.
However, I don't mind the wait because I love the bag she made. I would prefer to wait for a good product than receive a substandard one fast.
What really tickles me is that I can get high quality leather goods online at a fraction of the cost of a branded bag in the shops at Orchard Road. In between, one needs to pay the location rent, the inventory storage, the salesgirls and the company who goes around sourcing for leather goods in order to paste its "brand" on the bag.
By going straight to the craftsman, I save so much and feel good that my money actually goes to the person with the real skills to make the bag.