The Top 4 Considerations for Buying Your Next Tote
Whether you are replacing an old bag, or just looking for something new, the key to finding your ideal leather tote is to think about how you will use it and how it makes you feel when carrying it on a daily basis. Here are the top 4 consideration we recommend when looking for the ideal tote online:
1. Does the seller offer a variety of tote sizes?
2. Do the seller use durable, genuine leather?
3. Does the seller offer several leather types to match my preferences?
4. Can the seller customize a tote to match my style?
Your first consideration when buying a leather tote is how much stuff you need to carry and where you are headed. Ultimately, this will inform your decision with respect to selecting the proper size for your lifestyle. Leather totes can range from smaller, hands-free crossbody totes to standard totes and large totes for weekend travel, so look for a seller who can provide a range of tote sizes so you can find the best one for your lifestyle.
Many clients have told me they plan to use their Kerry Noël leather tote mainly as a fashionable daily laptop/tablet tote for work. Both my standard leather tote or large leather tote would be a great option if you are looking for a single leather handbag for work or running errands around town. Both will carry plenty of tech accessories, cosmetics, and work folders/binders...the large tote of course will just carry even more. Our genuine leather totes are available with a number of options, like the attached leather laptop sleeve which secures your laptop while leaving plenty of room for all your other daily work essentials.
My large and regular leather totes have additional options, such an attached leather tablet sleeve for tablets like iPads or Kindles.
It also offers brass bag feet with a firm base insert to provide additional bag structure and additional protection for the bottom of your tote.
Looking for something a little more secure? Consider an optional zippered closure on top.
If you’ve resigned yourself to the fact that you must carry a traditional laptop carry case for work items plus a handbag for your personal items, then you may want to consider a crossbody tote. Large enough to carry all your daily personal essentials, but small enough to stay out of the way, my Crossbody tote is affordable, fashionable, and available in a variety of colors to coordinate with just about any outfit.
The adjustable crossbody straps (which is how these smaller leather totes got their name) make hands-free carry a convenient option when you’ve got your morning cup of coffee in one hand and a laptop case in the other.
Handcrafted from Durable, genuine leather
Don’t we all just need a leather purse that’s ready to roll with life’s punches like us? This is what has made leather totes such a popular option for women; they are incredibly versatile. You want a stylish purse that looks great at work or around town, but also serves double duty for weekend sports with the kids, weekend getaways, or a date night without having to swap your stuff into another purse. All of this means your tote has to look good AND be made from the finest durable leathers available.
For these reasons, you should look for sellers making their tote bodies from top-grain or full-grain leathers as these are the most durable (and costly) part of the hide. Leather tote bodies made from 4oz to 6 oz top or full-grain leathers look great and will last a lifetime if properly maintained. In terms of the top handles and crossbody straps, try to find sellers who are using bridal leather. This is the same leather saddle & tack makers use for horse reins & halters.
If you ever ridden a horse (or seen somebody else do it), then the reins in your hands were made from bridal leather. When made from 8oz to 10oz bridal leather, top handles and crossbody straps may be a bit stiff at first but will soften quickly with daily use and last a lifetime. More importantly, they actually look better with age as they develop a rich patina from regular use.
My tote bodies are made from 4oz to 6oz top or full-grain leathers (depending upon your preferred leather style) and my handles are all made from 10 oz bridal leather. All of my leather totes have been designed and handcrafted to transition easily from daily worker to weekend warrior.
When I designed the standard and large tote bags, I wanted something that could carry my laptop and heavy design binders to work every day, but also act as an overnight bag for weekends at my in-laws or as an extra carry-all tote (because for some unknown reason moms ALWAYS end up carrying everybody’s junk on family vacations).
Leather Types to Match Your Style
Do you like the leather on handbags to be buttery soft and slouchy, or smooth and structured? Asked differently, would you rather carry a huggable, soft leather tote every day, or would you prefer something with smooth, slightly stiff leather that stands on its own, even when empty? The answer is important as you will be spending a ton of time with your new tote, so you should consider the pros and cons of each.
Soft and slouchy tote bag bodies are generally made from top-grain leathers tanned using chromakey tanning techniques. This makes them buttery soft & incredibly flexible with a very consistent dyed color throughout the leather. So, if you are looking for a cozy leather you could practically wrap up into a leather ball, go with a seller using top grain, chromakey tanned leathers.
If you are looking for a tote that can stand up on its own, then you should look at a full-grain pull-up leather tote seller. These leathers are super smooth on the surface and the wax finish from the tanning process that provides their structure also creates a beautiful “pull-up effect” that slightly alters the color of the hide when it is stretched, twisted, or compressed. This tanning technique allows these leathers to age beautifully and develop an amazing patina over time while maintaining their structure. If this is the tote leather for you, look for sellers promoting “pull-up” leathers in their bag bodies.
Here at Kerry Noël, we elected to give our clients both options (plus a third for good measure). That means all of our totes are available with either full-grail pull-up leather or chromakey top-grain leathers. We then added a third option that’s not to soft and not too structured, but right in the middle. These are our Kodiak leathers. We wanted to provide our clientele with a full range of leather types in a variety of colors to meet their needs and preferences.
Custom Options to Match Your Style
The bag that you carry can say a lot about your personality, so you’ll want to go with the one that embodies your personal style perfectly. Modern ecommerce technology, when combined with bespoke, artisan manufacturing practices, allows online sellers to deliver bespoke, handcrafted leather goods tailored to each buyer’s needs. Think of bespoke suit makers on Savoy Row in London, or handbag ateliers along Rome’s famed Via del Corso. Beginning in the 1950, artisan products were replaced by big box retailers mass marketing “designer” goods that were mass produced overseas.
Seventy years later, thanks to modern e-commerce platforms and global shipping integration, online vendors can now provide the best of both worlds: bespoke luxury leather goods at fraction of traditional “big box” retail prices. We suggest looking for an online seller who can deliver exactly what you want, not what Madison Avenue and the designers of Chinese-made handbags tell you what to want. You are an individual and you’re working harder than ever for your money; you deserve to get exactly what you want. Modern e-commerce platforms make it possible. Why settle for less from a luxury leather goods maker?
When clients place orders with Kerry Noël, they are ordering directly from the source. We rebel against the idea of designer leather handbags made in Chinese sweatshops.
We handcraft and customize designer leather totes from genuine American leather as we receive the orders. That means you can customize your tote from over 10 leather colors, 6 feature options, 3 tote styles, and 2 leather types.
Said differently, there are roughly 360 tote variations alone here at Kerry Noël. You choose the options that match your style and your personality.
What qualities do you look for in your ideal handcrafted leather bag? We would love to hear from you! Give us a shout on Instagram or Facebook and subscribe to our email list for exclusive updates!