A while back, I wrote a post for one of my favorite blogs, Dappered. It was all about shopping for shorter gents, and it generated a bunch of comments and questions.
One of these questions came in via email from a man named Roman Khan. We ended up emailing back and forth about chinos and sweaters, talking shop about various brands and sizes.
Turns out that Roman, who happens to be 5’6″, owns a leather goods company called Linjer.
He told me that that him and his partner, Jenn, are on a mission to “make luxury leather goods more accessible”. They’re creating premium quality leather bags with clean, minimal designs and selling them online for very reasonable prices.
In short, they’re cutting out the middle man (i.e., brick and mortar stores).
Sounds good, right?
Roman also explained that they are a brand new company, and they’re raising money with an Indiegogo campaign (which is similar to Kickstarter).
I get a lot of emails from people trying get funding for their ideas, and most of them fail miserably. Probably because it’s really hard to raise money.
But Linjer has raised over $130,000 in less than two months.
Naturally, I wanted to get my hands on one of these bags.
For the purpose of review, Roman sent me a soft briefcase in black.
Linjer is the Norwegian word for “line”. As you can see, these lines are clean. The design is so sleek and elegant, which is a refreshing take on the briefcase. It’s modern, but I don’t think this look will every go out of style.
Like all of their bags, this one is made out of full-grain vegetable-tanned leather from Turkey (learn more about vegetable-tanned leather right here).
This briefcase is large enough to fit a 15″ laptop. It has clean lines and a minimalist design. No bells and whistles, no unnecessary bulk.
The hardware is antique silver. It has a soft brushed look, which is much more subtle and modern than shiny chrome metal.
Let’s talk about size for a second. I prefer small men’s bags. The best bag is one that’s just big enough to fit all of your things. Short men especially should avoid large, wide or bulky bags.
Most messenger bags and briefcases look a bit oversized on my small frame, which is part of the reason I use a 13″ laptop.
This Linjer briefcase is super streamlined, but still, I’d prefer not to carry around a 16″ wide briefcase.
Which is why I’m really excited about the Linjer portfolio case.
It’s just as clean as the briefcase, and it’s wide enough to hold a 13″ Macbook. Perfect for svelte gents.
You can preorder one of these bad boys for $279 (discounted from $329) by supporting Linjer’s campaign.
Linjer is off to a great start. Roman and Jenn clearly love what they’re doing, and it’s great knowing that a fellow modest man is at the helm.
In a world of oversized, over-priced leather bags, Linjer may be an awesome resource for shorter gents who want accessories that fit and flatter their body type (or any man who appreciates quality goods without ridiculous markups).
Do you like these bags/cases? Leave a comment below!
I purchased a soft tote based on their “story” and I regret it. The dye came off the leather at the bottom corners in less than six weeks. I have totes that cost a fraction of this bag and did not show this kind of wear and tear in such a short period of time.
I find that Linjer bags are of good quality but I think that they are over priced. Von Baer also uses vegetable tanned leather, however, I think Von Baer’s leather is better in quality based on the pictures I’ve seen of both brands and their prices are significantly lower than Linjer.
Another “made in china” brand that claims to sell luxury goods, but it doesn’t have anything of luxury except the word. COGS of this briefcase it’s really cheap and I can estimate their profit to be much more than 5x, as Jason Turner said before.
Their women Tote bag is around 350$, same price as Michael Kors and guess what? They’re both made in China.
High quality has another name, not Linjer for sure.
I’m not a leather goods expert, but I’ve been using two Linjer products for a while now (the wallet and portfolio), and they’re both aging wonderfully. No damage, just a nice patina.
They’re noticeably higher quality than other leather goods I’ve bought.
But of course there’s way nicer stuff out there. I think to get into the top of the line products, you have to spend some serious cash.
Do you have any favorite brands that offer better value than Linjer?
Deb Gartland says
Purchased one on these bags In San Fancisco on vacation, love love love it!!! Beautiful, top quaility, looking forward to my next purchase!! I did however purchase the luggage color and would like to treat the leather. What could I use and not ruin my leather?
Jason Turner says
To begin with, the claim that they did research and found that the best workshop to make their bags is in Turkey. This is a big fat lie. The best according to the world craftsmanship index are in Sweden and Japan. Turkey is one of the cheapest and lowest quality.
Secondly, the interior is a cheap fabric cloth, it will be good for one year or so, but from the second year you should expect some tear and damage. It’s very low quality. Let alone the ultra-cheap YKK zippers which tend to get stuck after a year of every-day usage. Remember your cheap jackets where the zips broke into two pieces?
Third, I like their design. Simple and clutter-free, but it’s (I hope unknowingly) a copy of a London-based brand which I will not name so as to avoid accusation of being affiliated with them.
To conclude, because I’ve worked with a lot of leather companies in the past, I can tell you the black bag you got, costs about $80 to make and the full price is $489. I don’t see any savings here. Just a markup of about 5x
Now as for the why / how they raised their money in Indiegogo, it’s simply enthusiasm for something new and an attractive promise of cheaper yet luxury-grade goods (they’re most certainly not luxurious). After the first few disappointments their brand probably will fade away except if they start making actually high-quality luxury pieces (average cost $250) and sell for $500.
As for Roman, if he’s Norwegian, I’m an alien.
Can I learn from your expertise by asking you a few questions?
You mentioned that the YKK zippers are of poor quality, what are the best zip manufacturers in the industry?
Also, you mentioned that the linjer briefcase will cost approximately $80 to produce. In comparison, how much does it cost most European luxury goods brands to produce one of their briefcase?