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Canadian bag company getting play in U.S.

By Shelby Stanger
February 07, 2011 10:30 AM

There were a few brands that stood out at the Know?Show, including bag company Herschel Supply.


Started only 18 months ago, the Canadian brand has already received test orders from Nordstrom, sells to Urban Outfitters and is in quite a few boutiques in the USA. I sat down with co-founder Jamie Cormack to ask him more.


Why did you decide to start an action sports based bag company?

We consider ourselves more of a lifestyle brand rather than strictly action sports based. We felt that footwear, denim and apparel in general was progressing and the bag market was something that had remained the same for quite some time. We were inspired by a lot of bags outside the action sports circle and wanted to be able to bring well designed product with great attention to detail that would catch the eye of lifestyle stores but also remain at price points that were acceptable from the action sports market.


Fashion may be on our minds but we have skateboard, surfing and snowboarding in our hearts.


How is the brand financed and where do you manufacture products?

Jamie CormackJamie Cormack of Herschel Supply Co.


We are self-financed and we manufacture our products in Hong Kong and China.


Who do you sell to in the U.S.?

The Agenda Showroom handles our sales in the U.S. So far we are in Urban Outfitters, Karma Loop, Need Supply, American Rag, DQM, Kicks, Reed Space, Thalia Street Surf Shop, Goods and also in one of my favorite furniture stores Modern Anthropology.


How about in Canada?

We sell to the Boardroom, One of a few, Underworld, Plenty Stores, the Source, Little Burgundy, Simons, Off the hook, and Norml to name a few.


Is the brand bigger in the U.S. or Canada? Are you anywhere else besides these two countries?

Our USA Sales are quite a bit larger than our Canadian Sales due to the USA having ten times the population of Canada. We are also distributed in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Russia, and we have just set up France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, Norway and Sweden.


You said the brand was affordable. Does that make it tough to sell to boutiques?

Our classic backpack starts at $45. We go up to $150 for a duffel. So far the reaction has been amazing, but yeah, some boutiques were at first skeptical and wanted us to raise our prices because they thought the bags looked too high end to cost this low. We want to stay true to our mission and keep prices affordable.


For Fall, we added some higher-end materials such as Coated 12 oz and 20 oz canvas as well as some military Cordura. These bags start at $69 and go to $149.


You also have a technical line of winter backcountry packs?

We have a collection called “The Winter Club.” There are five pieces all designed for mountain gear – made to take on the hill. They range from $99 to $139. We sell to core shops and boutiques. Features include a new Roll top design, compartments for your Shovelhead, handle and probe, Waterproof YKK zippers as well as many neatly tucked away pockets to store cameras, goggles etc. We have a strap system we call KnowStrap. This system recoils on its own so you don’t have to deal with webbing straps hanging or flapping around, giving the bag an overall clean look.


What’s new for fall?

For fall we have increased our SKU count in bags from 40 to approximately 110. We have added a nice range of Fall colors to go along with our Core color offerings of black, navy, grey and red. We have also expanded into wallets and have introduced some new travel bags.



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