Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Momma'sMater's got a brand new bag!
My latest coup de foudre. Pretty much finished my window-shopping on Saturday, ready to head back to the apartment, I decided to enter the slightly-intimidating but beautifully intriguing shop I'd noticed on Alberni, just off Burrard. Just down from Tiffany's, across the street from L'Agent Provocateur, with the Hermès store kitty-corner, Wolford's and Ports nearby, not my usual price points. But I could see beautiful, clever, simple leather inside, and I need a new bag -- I love my red doctor's bag, but I wanted something a bit more suited to springtime.
I tried several styles of bags by M0851. The company is Canadian with all goods made in Canada (a plus for me) and stores in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, New York, and Paris (I might take my bag to say bonjour to its Parisian cousins). And I needn't have been intimidated. Once the very friendly but not at all pushy Raymond (a customer who liked the product so much he now works in the store!) showed me several of the bags, their lightness, the quality of the leather and the finishing, the practicality of the design, I was sold, but wasn't yet buying, if you know what I mean. I was sure I'd have to start a savings plan for one of these, but was very pleasantly surprised by the price range. The company does no advertising other than their website and word of mouth, a primary reason owner/manager Kimberley gave for the very reasonable cost. As well, their minimalism means you're not paying for hardware or embellishment and the limited colour range perhaps keeps production costs in line as well.
Of course, I ended up choosing one of the more expensive models because I liked the idea of the flap for security and I love those convenient outside pockets (water bottle, small umbrella, camera). The bags in this Noeud (Knot) line are designed to have either one knot or two -- one allows enough length for the bag to go cross-body while two yields a length that tucks very comfortably under a shoulder -- and if I'd been more thoughtful with my photograph, you'd see that the shoulder strap is lovely and wide for even, comfortable distribution and grab.
My big challenge was choosing the colour -- I rejected the possibility of the mushrooms, taupes, or greys and see-sawed between a versatile mid-blue and this tomato, but finally decided to go for the splash and I'm glad I did. To help me choose between all the possibilities, Kimberley hauled out her own convincingly worn-in bags so I could see what they looked and felt like after years of use. That's not all -- she emptied her own purse and insisted I fill it with items from mine and walk around with that weight -- she really wanted to make sure I would be a satisfied customer.
And it worked! The next day Pater and I were back in scoping out a possible birthday gift for him as he really needs a new this-is-not-a-briefcase case (he approved of my bag as soon as he saw it, recognizing the quality, versatility, and promise of many years' use). At least, that was the pretence I had for getting him in the doors -- if he happened to take note of their lovely line of minimalist, architectural leather wear and how well some pieces might suit me, well . . .