Brand building is a tricky business. Try too hard and people don’t trust you, try too little and they won’t even know you exist. Brands with history, and a history of doing something well, have a big advantage. “Authentic” brands possess the quality of longevity and substance – particularly in today’s market.
In an attempt to take advantage of this trend, some companies tout embellished histories or toss around the word “heritage” with casual abandon. They want you to buy into their version of history or their new brand’s freshly imagined “vintage” past. Then there are the guys who actually make stuff, make it well and often forget to toot their own horn. They are craftsmen first and marketers second; a rare bird, frankly. They don’t “market” heritage, their products are their heritage.
So, when the president of the United States went looking for just the right Made-in-America briefcase, he headed directly to Fall River, Massachusetts, and the workshop of Frank Clegg, owner of Frank Clegg Leatherworks.
The briefcase you see at President Obama’s feet in the official White house photo above, propped gently against the legendary Resolute Desk, is Frank’s Double Gusset Zip Top Briefcase, in black harness belting leather.
Exactly how did that outstanding briefcase find its way into the president’s hands? Apart from being one of the finest leather craftsman in the United States and having a roster of devoted customers that literally spans decades…well, Frank won’t say. He confirmed that said briefcase is indeed from Frank Clegg, but beyond that he said simply that he is humbled and honored that it accompanies the president.
OTC is an unabashedly proud and longtime supporter of Frank and his exceptional products. As we said in what is perhaps our favorite post, “Frank Clegg doesn’t just make leather bags; he crafts heirlooms, one at a time, by hand.” For Frank and his craftsmanship to be honored in such a remarkable way is not only fitting, it is validation of function over mere form, substance over flash, and actual heritage over marketing.
Mr. Clegg, welcome to the White House.