In the bustling world of business, not all brands manage to carve a niche for themselves. One exception to this rule is Herschel Supply Co, a Vancouver-based company that has managed to become a household name for travel bags, backpacks, and accessories since their inception in 2009. Known for their distinguished designs, the brand has managed to stay relevant a whole decade later, even amidst a global pandemic. This was primarily achieved through a bold step to redesign their entire product line.
A Walk Down Memory Lane
Herschel’s journey is a fascinating one. As with any brand, there were ups and downs, but what kept them afloat was their unshaken belief in their foundations. Jamie Cormack, the co-founder, speaks fondly of the company’s origins. He recalls how the pandemic forced them to pause, reassess, and introspect. It was during this period that they decided to revisit their roots, and in Cormack’s words, “refresh our origin story.”
The Story of Herschel
How did they go about this, you may ask? The answer lies in the brand’s profound connection to its name, Herschel, which is a place where Cormack’s great-grandfather homesteaded and where much of his family was born and still resides. The team even visited Herschel to reacquaint themselves with their roots and to infuse their brand with renewed authenticity and meaning.
The Redesign Journey
This introspection was perfectly timed with the brand’s ambitious decision to redesign their entire product range. They decided to revisit their classics and update them with a modern twist. The process was challenging but exciting. The idea was to create timeless products that had style, quality, and purpose. A primary focus was also placed on sustainability.
From a mere 6% recycled fabric, Herschel upped their game to an impressive 95% within one season. This is a testament to their commitment to being an environmentally conscious brand. They also established an impact department to assess their global footprint in every aspect.
The New Classics
The redesign process was meticulous. Each detail was scrutinized, and each component was considered for efficiency. The aim was to ensure that the new designs remained recognizable as Herschel. The familiar look of Herschel bags was preserved, but the lines might be slightly different, and the color blocking more modern. Despite these changes, the brand’s iconic white woven label continued to stand as a mark of Herschel’s enduring quality.
The Herschel Ethos
Herschel has always prided itself on its democratic approach to design. They strive for a unique blend of timeless classics with an innovative twist. This innovative spirit is brought to life through their collaborations with artists, the new categories they introduce, and the high-quality designs they produce. Their goal is to make their customers love not just their products, but the brand itself.
The Love for Travel Bags
Cormack’s passion for travel bags is evident when he talks about them. He believes that a travel bag should feel like a part of the person carrying it, like a new handbag. It should be easy to handle, and it should possess a personality of its own.
New York Connection
Though based in Vancouver, Cormack shares a personal connection with New York. He describes it as a city that captures you and doesn’t easily let go. Herschel’s first-ever NYC store is a testament to that connection. It not only marks a new milestone for the brand but also reinforces their identity for the future.
Herschel Supply Co’s journey is an inspiring tale of resilience, reinvention, and relentless passion. Their commitment to sustainable practices, quality products, and timeless designs sets them apart in the ever-competitive world of fashion accessories. Despite the challenges of the past decade, they continue to surge forward, grounded in their roots but always looking ahead to the future.