When I started writing product features for Urban Beardsman about a year ago one of my first pieces was about the No. 29 Leather Satchel ($650) from a fledgling family leather company in Ogden, Utah called Stock & Barrel. It was only about three paragraphs and I decided I needed a closer look.
I’ve gotten more into photography lately and needed a camera bag for my Nikon DSLR that wasn’t the size of a backpack or briefcase so I got a hold of owner Parker Litchfield and he suggested their No. 48 Camera Bag ($445) in vintage brown. At 5.5” x 9.5” x 10” it’s almost a perfect square, and most certainly the perfect size.
I’m a sucker for handmade goods that you just can’t buy in a store, and this is no different. The leather on this bag is so good. I felt like Indiana Jones as soon as I loaded my gear and put it over my shoulder. It comfortably holds my camera and two lenses, which is all I need for a day of shooting.
I’m not sure what is sweeter on the No. 48, the construction or the design. The nickel rivets and hardware are beautiful as well as functional. The removable padded insert provides real protection and the divider is removable too. I dig the two end pockets, perfect for extra batteries and sd cards.
I recently caught up with Parker and was able to ask him about some questions about his vision, his products, and leaving his job to pursue Stock & Barrel full-time. Photo creds to Brent Whaley (@Whaleysworld).
JL: What were you doing before Stock & Barrel and what made you finally take the leap to start it up?
PL: I’ve been building Stock & Barrel gradually since 2012 but i didn’t jump into it full time, as our main source of income till January 2016. Before then I was working in marketing for a couple of the top camera bag companies in the photo industry.
It was always tempting to quit my job and work with leather full time. And when the company faced a major downsizing, and I got laid off, I had to make the decision to either find another job, or finally pursue the dream of ours (my wife and I) to work together in our shop making leather bags full time. Though it was scary, the decision was pretty easy for me. We haven’t looked back.
JL: Why leather?
PL: Leather is a timeless, classic medium and always seems to stand the test of time; in durability and in style. Once I got it in my head I couldn’t get it out. And I still feel that way. Anytime we get a new hide rolling through our shop, it always seems better than the last one and I can’t sleep till I can create something from it.
JL: What drives your inspiration?
PL: I’d like to say that inspiration comes from some magical, mystical moment on a mountain top but in the end I feel like i’m driven most by the urge to perfect our craft and get better every day. Especially the way leather craft has recently caught on and spread like a wild fire on social media. It’s really important to me that we’re always improving and creating things that are 100% original and pushing the limit with our own techniques.
JL: What do you want someone to take away from owning your product?
PL: I would hope that someone can feel the quality behind our products in materials and in the craftsmanship. But beyond that, I would hope that while someone is going about their regular routine, maybe walking out of the office, being consumed by the modern world, they can grab on to one of our bags and immediately be transported to a simpler time, maybe in the old American west, paying homage day in and day out to a time where skilled craftsmanship was highly valued and men took pride in the things they carried.
JL: What are you most proud of up to this point?
PL: I have to say i’m proud of how far our little family business has come. When I started I had no experience in running/managing a business and up until now we haven’t been able to give our full time and attention to running it. It’s been a complete bootstrap experiment. But I love our online community and influencers that stand behind our products.
JL: What upcoming new products can we look for in the future?
PL: This year has really been a turning point for our business. We have some beautiful new pieces coming out soon, including a new line of wallets on Kickstarter in July. Keep an eye out for them, we would love your support. They’re made out of the most beautiful russet harness leather from one of our favorite American tanneries, Wickett and Craig. The time and attention to detail that goes into our new line is far from where we’ve been in the past. Also, watch out for some new laptop/camera bag designs as well as more camera accessories like straps, slings and SD card wallets.
JL: How long have you had your beard?
PL: I’ve had a beard for about four years. About as long as I’ve known my wife. She still claims to have never seen my naked face. I don’t know that she ever will.
JL: Right on. What do you love about having a beard?
PL: I like having a beard because it keeps my face from looking like a naked mole rat.
Do you know of an awesome product out there that we should feature? Let us know via twitter @bandholz