Partner Spotlight: J. Stark Bags from Charleston, SC

Here at Pappy & Company have been fortunate to partner with a number of incredible artisans, craft makers, designers and artists over the years to help bring the Pappy & Company brand to life. We choose our partners because they share the same values we do: high quality products, sourcing the best materials available, and a commitment to not only being the best in their trade but also to their employees and customers. Over the next few posts we’d like to shine the light on some of these great business relationships to say thank you for their partnership and share with you how we’ve grown our brand with collaborations like these.

We’re starting this “Partner Spotlight” series off with a look at our friends J. Stark, based in Charleston, South Carolina. J. Stark began in 2014 just before us and shares a similar tale of how they got started. Founder Erik Holmberg, began the business making wallets in his living room. Fast forward five years, and they now specialize in making heavy duty and timeless bags from leather and canvas. In the last year and a half, since Erik’s girlfriend Jess joined the company to help with production, they have opened a retail store and now have three other employees. Similar to J. Stark, there was a time when Pappy & Company orders were being fulfilled from co-founder Louise’s basement meanwhile juggling a toddler and twins on the way. We’re happy to say those days are behind us with two offices based in Louisville, KY and Sun Valley, ID and five full time employees to manage inventory, customer service, marketing and operations.

The introduction to J. Stark was forged, like many great business partnerships, over dinner with Julian Van Winkle who was talking about the recent beginnings of Pappy & Company co-founded by his three daughters, Louise, Chenault and Carrie. Julian saw a connection between the brands in terms of hard working people, small business values and a commitment to great products and good people. Founder Erik Holmberg explains, “from the start, we’ve been committed to authenticity and creating something that will work hard for you (our customers) and last.” From there, it was only a question of time before product development began between the two brands.

Since starting the partnership, Pappy & Company has launched three bags with J. Stark including our all purpose rifle green tote and two versions of our custom waxed canvas wine bag. We love working with J. Stark because they’re always looking to deliver a top quality product with unique materials. In the case of our wine tote, we use waxed canvas which is waterproof and Wickett & Craig leather from Pennsylvania, which is considered some of the best leather in the world. A case in point that what makes J. Stark unique to most other bag companies is that they are genuinely always searching for something new. We always create something new, whether it's a new design or a new combination of fabrics and leathers to create something unique,” says Holmberg.

What’s next for this great partnership? Holmberg says a large tote or briefcase would be a great addition to the collection. We couldn’t agree more.