Hobo Bags doesn’t follow trends; instead, they design leather bags with purpose and an eye on their ultimate use, says Koren Ray, Founder and Chief Visionary Officer at Hobo Bags, a female-founded, family-run brand that makes leather goods.
“We make leather goods, and we’re committed to making leather goods that only get better with use,” Koren says. “That’s why we design products with pockets for planning and plotting and everywhere you need to go. But I think the other key to Hobo is that we do believe that we can use our craft to inspire a life of creativity, joy, and self-expression.”
The name of the brand itself is a nod to the company’s code, she says.
“We were inspired by the original American hobos who traveled out of necessity for work and but shared a value system based on kindness and responsibility and hard work,” Koren says. “So that code has informed many of the decisions and things we’ve done over the 30 years.”
Hobo goes its start before the Internet boom days, so it began as a wholesale company that sold to small retail stores around the country.
“We went to trade shows all over the country in our beat-up van with our homemade trade show booth,” Koren says. “Eventually, the Nordstrom buyer stumbled upon our booth, and my mother, being the amazing visionary she is, stepped out into the aisle and said, ‘Do you carry leather goods?”. She was then able to get an amazing conversation going with the Nordstrom buyer. That was our kind of our big break.”
To this day, Hobo doesn’t have a vast marketing machine, Karen says.
“We are in the business to make products that we love, that we’re proud of, that women enjoy, that are creative and innovative and interesting and fun and colorful,” Koren says. “The products speak for themselves ultimately, and the consumer is voting with her wallet that this is a brand she believes in that she will invest in. And that just makes us so, so proud and inspired to keep going.”
In Part 1, Koren talks about:
* Gratitude to her mother for sharing her values and financial support.
* An overview of the brand.
* How Hobo’s bags are unique.
* What inspired the name Hobo Bags.
* How the company spread the word on its products in the pre-Internet days.
* The big break with Nordstrom.
* The brand’s approach to marketing.
Join Ramon Vela and Koren Ray as they break down the inside story on The Story of a Brand.
For more on Hobo Bags, visit: https://www.hobobags.com/
This episode is also brought to you by Sendlane.
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