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  • MacCase Leather - Premium, Original and Still the Best
  • Jody K. Deane
    Jody K. Deane

MacCase Leather - Premium, Original and Still the Best

The entrepreneurial life can be a rocky one. Just ask any entrepreneur. At the same time, it's that feeling of jumping of the cliff on a regular basis that gives the entrepreneurial life it's edge, it's excitement. Such was the birth of the MacCase leather line, MacCase Premium Leather.

MacCase leather hide raw and unfinished

As has been stated a few times around here, MacCase invented the Apple-specific case market back in the late nineties with the introduction of a briefcase for the original iBook. It was a huge hit and a whole new sector of the case market was born. Before MacCase, Apple owners had to two choices when looking to protect their Apple portables: dull or boring. These offerings came mainly from the big box stores whose options were less than inspiring. Knowing the Apple customer wanted something more interesting, inspiring and personal, MacCase seized the opportunity and has never looked back.

Fast forward 5 years and while MacCase leather is still a dream, the MacCase line has grown and is the number one Apple specific case brand at tier one retailers like CompUSA. Things are good at MacCase. Or so it appeared. Let us not for get that the entrepreneurial life can be a rocky one. Like a ride on a good roller coaster, you're down, you're up and then you're down again. Rumors started circulating that CompUSA was in trouble and may go away. While the company had a broad range of customers, CompUSA was the hundred pound gorilla on the MacCase balance sheet.

The rumors proved to be true and the once mighty brick and mortar computer giant was swept into the dust bin of retail history. MacCase lost their biggest customer. Most people might think that losing one's biggest customer and all the revenue that comes with it in one day would be catastrophic to a young company. It wasn't. It was not our fault that their business closed. We could not control what happened. The only thing we could control was how we would respond and what we would do next. MacCase leather would be the response.

The Apple-specific case market was maturing. Competitors were coming and going especially when Apple introduced their first Air model. There were so many companies launching some sort of case or sleeve based on Apple's "envelope" ad campaign. Everyone here really felt like we were the Goliath's and the Davids were storming the gates. But just like in the late nineties when no one thought anyone would want a case designed specifically for an Apple laptop, MacCase had a second act that would be just as ground breaking and original as the creation of the market itself. MacCase leather. A full line of MacCase leather cases, sleeves, bags and backpacks designed specifically for Apple portables. No one had done it before. The risk was huge. 

Designing the MacCase leather line was fun. Really fun. Leather is quite a material. It can be finished in so many ways and offers endless possibilities for expression. Swatches poured in from factories from as far away as Argentina, India, Pakistan, Turkey and Brazil. Design drawings filled the walls of the MacCase studios as new forms, new statements and fresh takes on what were now classic designs took shape. As all this work was going on, the debate started on what to call the new line. "Black Label" was one early choice that was floating around. Based on the couture culture where black label clothing is the highest in quality and design. It also sounded a bit like an alcohol reference which is not what we wanted.

Working on the details of a MacCase leather flight jacket

MacCase has a tradition of being pretty straight foreword with our product names. We never named our products after famous vacation destinations or cities. We basically call our products what they are: Sleeve, Backpack, etc. So when it came to the all important naming of the MacCase leather line, we held fast to our tradition and came up with "MacCase Premium Leather". The premium part was important because it made a statement to the world that the hides we were going to use were better than the hides people were used to getting in the price points we would be selling in.

No one, not Calvin Klein, not Kenneth Cole, no big time New York based design conglomerate could come close to the quality of the hides we were going to use. All the existing leather bags that were on offer in the big box stores and online shops were probably all made in the same Chinese factory. MacCase leather wouldn't be. The Chinese can do a lot of things but quality leather is not one of them.

Hong Kong has a great history of tailoring and some of the best fitted suits in the world can be purchased there. Across the bay, deep in the mainland, the sewing culture for soft goods does not have this tradition. Workers are taught faster is better. And when you are sewing nylon or polyester, this can be fine. It just doesn't work for leather. Well it does in as much as the two pieces are sewn together, but leather work is a craft. You have to understand and be passionate about said craft to create products that are imbued with a spirit. This is product design and manufacture at a whole other level and this is what we wanted for MacCase leather.

We choose a small family owned tannery outside Kolkata, India. Leather tanning and the craft of leather goods goes back centuries there and that is just the type of history and culture we wanted as part of the new line. One of the main spiritual elements that was a cornerstone of the new products was that we would only be using hides from cows that pass naturally. In many parts of the world, cows are killed for their meat and then the hides become a by-product of the meat production industry.

In India, cows are scared and are well cared for. The cows that would be providing the hides for the new MacCase leather line would come from the Indian highlands and live long, happy, healthy lives. Once they pass, their hides become available. This is the reason why it sometimes takes a while for our Premium Leather models to arrive if they are out of stock. Luckily, over  the years we have had the absolute greatest customers who have the patience of saints. The have been known to wait not weeks, but months for products to arrive. We are humbled by their loyalty and passion for our work.

The idea of a MacCase leather line was born out of the loss of our biggest customer. It was an idea that no one saw coming and customers loved and still do to this day. The MacCase leather line took Apple portable protection to a new level "The pinnacle of Apple portable protection" is the slogan for the line. It was when it was launched in 2007 and it remains so today.

"MacCase leather would be the response."

 

 

  • Jody K. Deane

Comments on this post ( 2 )

  • Sep 02, 2015

    Troy -

    Thanks for leaving the comment. It’s interesting that you mentioned the men’s wallet. Michael did have some wallets he designed created and they were given out to loyal customers as gifts. A few of the customers reported back that the wallet was the best they had ever owned. I’ll make sure I mention your desire for one.

    - JKD

    — Jody

  • Sep 01, 2015

    Great story. Love the background info on MacCase…the best shoulder bag I’ve ever owned! Can’t wait till you guys design a men’s wallet as I’m sure it would be just as fantastic as the rest of your products. You can call it the MacWallet!

    — Troy Stukowski

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