J.W. Hulme Co. | Leather Bags & Luggage

Meet Dahlia Brue of Idun

Dahlia Brue
Dahlia Brue is the proprietor of Idun, an impeccably curated women’s clothing store that would be a draw in any city, but just happens to be located on Selby Avenue in St. Paul. The shop’s interior, minimalistic and stunning, serves as the perfect backdrop to a collection of brands and labels that feel effortless, sophisticated, and timeless.

Tell us about Idun.
Idun is a women’s clothing store in St. Paul. The purpose of Idun was to bring designers who were doing progressive work and bring it to people to show them that there were interesting things going on in St. Paul specifically.

What is important to you about supporting small business?
I think that supporting small business and even specifically American made is important because you know where product is coming from. You know that the business is really taking care to make sure that they’re bringing you the best product that they can. You know that they are really believe in it, so you know you’re getting quality.

Tell us your take on what’s going on in the Twin Cities right now.
I’m so excited to be a part of the Twin Cities and kind of what’s going on here. We’re not in New York, and we’re great with that. We love that we are Minnesota and a little bit under the radar, but still doing really, really great things. I think that to live here and to call this place home, you have to be pushing forward and interested in doing cool things.

What inspires your personal style?
I’m inspired by all different mediums of art, music, fine arts, dance, and it’s cliché, but nature. I think that’s the original beauty, and so going back to those things is really inspiring. I would say my personal style is classic and timeless, but adding a bit of a risk-taking component to make things a little bit interesting and thoughtful and make you look twice.

What’s your favorite J.W. Hulme bag?
My favorite J.W. Hulme bag is the Washburn Tote. I think it’s the perfect size. I have two kids, so I have a lot of stuff, and that bag is perfect.

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Meet Ben Morrison of Handsome Cycles

Ben Morrison
Ben combined his love of cycling and marketing background to co-create Handsome Cycles, a Minneapolis based bicycle maker whose wares can be found at fine bike shops nationwide. With vintage-inspired styles built to cater to the commuter looking for a more sophisticated ride than the sporty designs that fill the market, Handsome Cycles is right at home in the Twin Cities, one of the most bike-friendly metro areas in the country.

Tell us about Handsome Cycles.
We started Handsome Cycles in 2008. For me, it was kind of putting together my marketing background and growing up working in bike shops. Handsome was putting all those experiences together into launching kind of a different take on cycling. When we looked at what everybody else was doing, it was very sport-focused and very much trickled down from racing. We wanted to focus much more on commuters and give them really elegant, sophisticated bikes for just getting around, and so that’s the angle that we took on cycling.

What inspires you?
When we’re designing our bikes, we pull from anywhere that we can, be it vintage cars or color trend forecasts. The products that we design last 20 or 30 years. They need to still be fashionable two, three decades from now. We try and pull from all over, but always with a very mindful, classic esthetic.

What’s your take on what’s going on in Minneapolis & St Paul right now?
I think it’s really exciting that there’s all this big momentum coming from Minneapolis right now. More specifically, what I think is unique to this city is that there are all these different players, but nobody really seems to step on each other’s toes. There’s room for everybody. It is such a small town that that things are really accessible and you can know everybody.

What’s important to you about local designs?
I love that if it’s made here and designed here the money and the idea stay in the city. I think it’s important to support these local, small businesses, as it’s not just some faceless corporation. It is the person down the street, possibly your neighbor. So, I love that this city and this state are really good about supporting that. We do see a huge trend of people willing to spend the extra dollar to get a locally-made investment piece that will last them, as opposed to getting something they’re just going to use for a season or two and then throw away.

How would you describe your style?
I’m a big a fan of effortless. That’s my go-to for most things is to try and be effortless.

What’s your favorite J.W. Hulme product?
I really like duffle bags. So often if I’m traveling, it’s usually two, three days at a time, so a duffle bag tends to make the most sense for my needs.

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Meet Isaac Becker

Isaac Becker
Isaac is a former drummer turned renowned chef who transformed a way to make a living between gigs into a true passion and creative outlet, boasting a James Beard Award along the way. A major player in the fast growing culinary community in the Twin Cities, Isaac is at the helm of three of the area’s most outstanding restaurants: Bar La Grassa, 112 Eatery, and Burch Steakhouse and Pizza Bar.

Was there a moment where you decided to be a chef?
I was in a band, and I cooked to make a living. The band started not to work out, and cooking was a stable job for me. I ended up getting a job for someone who was very talented and once I realized that cooking can be an outlet for creativity, I kind of thought, well, this is something I could do then if the music thing doesn’t work.

What inspires you?
I think a lot of things inspire me. I remember my wife and I bought a house by a creek and taking my then baby for a walk in the morning, it was so beautiful near the water, the houses that were near it that, for some reason, it made me want to go to work and cook. I think anything that’s really beautiful or creative, somehow it can connect in my mind with the work that I do.

Tell us about the culinary community in the Twin Cities and what is next.
The culinary community in the Twin Cities is pretty small. We all know each other, for the most part, or we have mutual acquaintances or friends. It’s a pretty friendly community, there’s competitiveness, but I think there is in every industry, whether it’s big or small, so it’s natural. What could be next for Minneapolis or Minneapolis/St. Paul is the Michelin Guide. The trajectory that the Twin Cities are on with the restaurants that have been coming here or in our opening, I think, in the next ten years, it could happen.

What’s your favorite food or foods?
I like noodles a lot, whether it’s Italian noodles or Asian noodles, so anything with pasta or noodles.

What’s important to you about supporting small businesses?
Small businesses tend to have their customers more in mind in what they want or need. It’s not so much what the bottom line is going to be. As a customer or a consumer, having small businesses around is good for that reason. You’ll get a better quality or a higher quality product or a service.

What is your favorite J.W. Hulme product?
My favorite J.W. Hulme bag is the duffle bag.

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Meet Kate Arends of Wit & Delight

Kate Arends
Kate Arends wears many hats: blogger, product developer, branding consultant, designer. In 2009, she founded Wit & Delight, a lifestyle blog that has garnered a tight-knit following with an edited yet approachable point of view on decor, fashion, and entertaining. The website has since broadened its focus to include mental health and wellness topics. In 2014, she introduced a limited-edition line of products with Target Corporation. Kate is a proud resident of St. Paul, where she resides with her husband, Joe Peters, and their sweet English labrador, Winnie.

Tell us about Wit & Delight.
Wit & Delight is a blog I started in 2009. I was a new designer and wanted a place where I could begin to collect all the things that I was trying out, what inspired me, and find some like-minded people that were interested in the same things. People came and followed, and it’s been a conversation we’ve been having ever since.

What inspires you?
I think people inspire me the most. I like to have conversations with different people, getting outside of my comfort zone in terms of location. I like to travel – really finding, and looking at things that worked for artists in different decades and learn from what inspired them and reinterpret it into a modern way.

Tell us your take on what’s going on in the Twin Cities creative community.
I’m from the Chicago area, and when I first visited Minnesota, I was so surprised what a creative town it was. I think it’s always been embedded in our culture from the 1970s when punk rock came about. Now people all over the world find these Minnesota brands that have been around for centuries and realize how important that craftsmanship and legacy is. I think it’s something that’s been happening for a while, and it’s due time Minnesota gets credit for it.

What is important to you about supporting small business?
Supporting small businesses is important because it’s supporting the makers that make this community possible – right in your own back yard. By doing so, you allow this prosperity in Minnesota to continue to happen, and you allow for more opportunities for new creatives to get you’re a part of.

What’s your favorite J.W. Hulme bag?
The Gladstone Bag is my absolute favorite. I use it for travel everywhere I’m going. It’s beautiful. It’s a forever piece.

Describe your style.
I gravitate towards classic pieces that build on a lifetime. I’m not one to try out trends. Good button-downs, great blazers, a good driving loafer, great quality leather bags – I think it allows your personality to be front and center. I really like the idea of keeping pieces as they live on with you.

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Meet Brock Davis

Brock Davis
Brock Davis is an award-winning, multi-disciplinary artist and 17-year veteran of the advertising/design industry, where he has collected every notable industry award including the prestigious Cannes Lion. He is a regular contributing artist to the New York Times, Wired, Esquire, Fast Company, Time magazine, and The New Republic. His work has been viewed and shared millions of times over (via 171,000 Instagram followers and counting) and has been featured on NPR, USA Today, ABC, Comedy Central, G4, and was recently named one of Wired Magazine’s 18 influential design leaders. Follow him on Instagram @brockdavis.

What inspires you?
I’m always inspired by being surrounded by other creatives. It doesn’t matter what the discipline is. I get inspired when I eat at a restaurant, and I look at the food in front of me and think about how much time and composition goes into that; when I look at how people express themselves through fashion or through music. Minneapolis, of course, a lot of creative people in all of those disciplines, that’s very inspiring for me to be in that community.

When it comes to making my own work, I really try and draw inspiration from just basic, ordinary things that we see in life that we forget about. My most inspiring times of the day is probably when I’m doing something mundane and mindless: sitting in traffic, cutting the grass, washing dishes. My best ideas always come during these kind of times where I’m scrubbing a pan, and “Oh!” and something hits me. Sometimes it’s something cool and sometimes it isn’t, but there’s always a curiosity there.

How would you describe what’s going on in the Twin Cities right now?
It’s definitely a really good time to be a person who makes things. The maker mentality over the last couple of years, is really strong. There’s such a great, creative culture here, musically, lots of just really talented designers and artists. It’s really easy to be inspired, and I think that it helps make the work better in anyone’s creative discipline.

How would you describe your personal style?
I like minimalism. I like kind of the less is more mindset. I love the process of having an idea and executing that idea so that it resonates as clearly as possible. I like to go back and strip things away until it’s precise and clean. Also, I like to capture things that feel everyday and normal to people, but keep that composed so that it just looks very pristine and clean when I take my images.

What’s your favorite J.W. Hulme Bag?
I love the Editor Brief: lots of compartments for my camera, phone, laptop, change of clothes if I need it, whatever. I also love the esthetic of it, the simplicity. It’s very nice.

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Meet Kelly English of Cheeriup

Kelly English
Kelly’s desire to provide her spunky, citymouse daughter a natural and enchanting outdoor play space led her to create a giant hut made of willow branches called a “Thicket”. Weaving together her art, design, and education backgrounds the Thicket is an expertly hand-crafted objet d’art that’s sturdy enough for years of heavy use. Cheeriup’s success has garnered accolades from The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, and Apartment Therapy. Recently Kelly has added the smaller and portable “Fledgling” to her product line that fits yards with a reduced footprint that can be also be brought indoors.

Tell us about Cheeriup.
I make willow playhouses that I call thickets. I actually harvest all the willow from around the entire state. It’s all wild material. Then I hand weave each one into playhouses, primarily for kids, but it’s pretty uncanny how most adults tend to get inside them too.

What inspires you?
What really inspires me with this work is the natural world and the element of play. Early childhood is such a magical moment that we all experience, and it ends up being a touchstone for us for our entire lives. Part of the joy of building these thickets is meeting people and watching them get tunneled back to this time of play and magic that’s really fleeting for most of us in the high tech world that we live in now.

Tell us about being a part of the maker community in Minneapolis/St Paul.
I think we have been thrust back into a new arts and crafts movement. The idea of craft and people making objects by hand and being involved at every stage of that process is really important right now. It’s exciting to be a part of that, and I definitely feel a kinship with the community here in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Describe your personal style.
It’s a mix of handmade, practical and simple. I have a minimalist style, I think, but if I could pare my life down to owning only objects, wearing only objects, that are handmade, that would be my dream.

What’s your favorite J.W. Hulme bag?
I love the Legacy Backpack, and that [Seaside] blue is awesome. Color is life to me, and I love that color.

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Meet Tom Whisenand of Indeed Brewing Company

Tom Whisenand - Indeed Brewing Company
Tom Whisenand is a former globe-trotting photojournalist, cribbage player, and Twin Cities native. But it was his love for craft beer that inspired him to co-found the Indeed Brewing Company with friends Rachel Anderson and Nathan Berndt in 2011. The revered micro-brewery is located in the heart of “Nordeast” Minneapolis, and has amassed a legion of passionate drinkers who have helped raising the profile of the burgeoning local craft beer scene. Indeed’s lineup boasts 26 varieties, of which Tom has diligently sampled each and every one. For ‘quality control’ purposes of course.

Tell us about Indeed Brewing.
Indeed Brewing Company was started in 2012 and has grown quickly to become one of the largest craft breweries in the state. We employ about 40 awesome and dedicated people all focused on making and selling high quality and consistent beer. We love to use unique ingredients in our beer and take chances.

What inspires you?
People all around the world have been making and drinking beer for thousands of years but we are still finding ways to do things a little bit differently or improve upon an age old process. Beer is simple and universal but at the same time lends itself as a canvas for infinite levels of artistic expression.

How would you describe what’s going on in the Twin Cities right now?
People often describe Minnesotans as being a hearty bunch and I think this is true. More specifically I think people who choose to live here and build businesses here share a common characteristic of optimism.

Describe your personal style?
Being in the brewing industry I get to be pretty casual. Jeans, t-shirt, or button-up shirt.

What’s your favorite J.W. Hulme bag?
The duffle bags are pretty sweet.

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Meet Lisa Hackwith of Hackwith Design House

Lisa Hackwith
Lisa Hackwith immersed herself in the art of making clothing, and began selling clothing online in 2010 and four months later she decided to quit her job to devote herself full time to Hackwith Design House.

Was there been a pivotal moment where you decided to be a designer?
I taught myself to sew after I graduated from college with an art degree. I took a year off to research MFA programs when I discovered my medium – designing and making clothes.

What does handmade mean to you, and why is it important?
Like J.W. Hulme, we value quality, and it’s important to us that we make everything in our studio in Minneapolis where we know our workers are paid fairly and where we can monitor the quality of the products we are putting out. We want our pieces to be favorites of our customers, and items that they can pull from their closets for years to come.

What are your favorite J.W. Hulme products?
I love the Excursion Bag and the Weekend Bag.

What else inspires you?
I am inspired by those living authentic lives. People who want to buy local, to support their neighbors, to know that their money is being used toward something productive and not destructive while contributing to the local economy. Our clothing is made with these people in mind. It is also inspiring to be a part of a community of makers and small business owners that provides the conscientious consumer with beautiful and quality products. Our favorite meetings are the ones where we get to sit down with artists that are a part of our Makers Alongside Hackwith Design House series and hear about their work, their passions. There is nothing more inspiring than talking to someone who loves what they do and are great at it.

How would you describe your style?
I am drawn to clean lines, neutral tones, and pieces that are made with care and in a sustainable way. I am pretty minimalist when it comes to accessorizing, so I wear pieces that I love and feel comfortable in.

What is important to you about buying local and supporting American Made?
I am constantly impressed by people in this country that have stepped up and are doing things. They’re making, creating, writing, building, contributing. They’re forming businesses doing what they love and are good at. We are proud to have brought back manufacturing jobs to the North Loop neighborhood in Minneapolis. We are impressed by other companies and people doing the same. It’s exciting to be a small part of the movement back to American Made products and joining those who have been doing it all along.

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Meet Tastemaker Rita Mehta of The American Edit

Rita American Edit
Rita Mehta, founder of The American Edit. A place to celebrate the brands that manufacture in the United States, educate the ones who would like to start, and elevate self-sufficiency in style.

What does handmade mean to you, and why is it important?
Anything that is handmade is special – whether the item is the epitome of quality and a work of art and precision or a work in process. Technology is amazing and has it’s place, but there is an irreplaceable appeal to handmade goods.

Tell us about your favorite J.W. Hulme product picks.
Continental Duffle, Linwood Large Wallet, Leather Envelope, Legacy Shopper Tote

What is important to you about supporting small business or American-made brands?
There are too many reasons to share in one post! Ultimately, I believe in responsible, thoughtful consumption and the best way to do that is to support local businesses and brands.

What else inspires you?
Travel. The amazing makers I meet while writing The American Edit. A really great book. The idea that the more I work, the more I can give back.

How would you describe your style?
Casual. With the exception of my shoes, I focus on comfort and almost always wear jeans. I wouldn’t say my style is minimalist, but I ascribe to the idea that you should buy less, but better and have a comparatively small wardrobe that aligns with that notion.

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Meet Tastemaker Pip Hanson of Marvel Bar

Pip Marvel Bar
Multidisciplinary by nature, Pip Hanson started bartending while studying jazz drumming and playing in rock bands in 2005. He first learned the bar trade under Johnny Michaels at La Belle Vie in Minneapolis before moving to Tokyo in 2007, where he tended bar at Fifty One in the Roppongi Hills Club.

During his days off Hanson sought out cocktail mentors in Ginza, Tokyo’s fashion district, where he studied classic Japanese cocktail technique with “hard shake” inventor Kazuo Uyeda. He also helped form the rock group Mazis, which was chosen by Tokyo’s Rocking On Magazine as one of the 20 best new bands of 2009.

Upon returning to Minneapolis Pip oversaw the bar program at Cafe Maude and co-founded the North Star Bartenders Guild. He also penned a drinks column for Metro Magazine where he opined about the nascent Twin Cities cocktail scene and helped translate Kazuo Uyeda’s Cocktail Techniques into English. In 2011 City Pages named him Bartender of the Year.

After more than a year of planning Pip and his team opened Marvel Bar to acclaim in August 2011. Bon Appetit Magazine named Marvel Bar and The Bachelor Farmer one of America’s ten best new restaurants and Marvel Bar has been a James Beard national semifinalist for Outstanding Bar Program two years in a row. It has also received national recognition as one of the best cocktail bars in the country from Eater.com and Thrillist

How would you describe your style?
Design by deletion

What else inspires you?
Everything, even the examples of what not to do.

What is your favorite part about what you do?
Making someone’s day better.

What are your favorite J.W. Hulme products?
I like the simplicity of the classic brown and grey totes.

Tell us about the community in the Twin Cities and how you work inside of it.
There are so many people doing incredible, eclectic things all over – it’s great to be able to learn from totally different crafts.

What is important to you about supporting small business or American-made brands?
I respect dedication to quality wherever it’s found.

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