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Filtering by Tag: gift guide

Bags! {Christmas Gift Guide}

Ben Ashby

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I collect bags. I have my go to every day bag (the FOUNT bag), I have my utility bags for when I’m teaching classes (the Sturdy Brothers and the Artifact Tote), I have a travel tote (A JW Hulme), and I have ones for special occasions that I pull out when I’m going somewhere special. I also have a few that I believe in not only for their amazing quality but because I love the people making them. Today I wanted to share a list of my favorite bags for this Christmas season.

Each day is supposed to be nine goods, but for this one I had too many I loved…yet I know I still forgot a few. 18..and go….

1) FOUNT is my go to bag. Made in Cleveland with insanely good leather. They’re basically the Birkin of handmade.

2) I love Peg and Awl. They are one of the original makers to popularize waxed canvas. The PA based team is as genuine as they are creative.

3) J.W. Hulme is a classic American heritage brand. They’ve been creating luxury American made goods for decades. They still hold true with creating timeless pieces that last for decades.

4) Red House VT is a maker I’ve known for years. Watching them grow has been an honor. Their clean Vermont inspired designs are always a refreshing take using rugged materials.

5) Liz Riden is somewhat new to the scene. Specializing in women’s leather goods she is making top quality leather smalls the attic of her Lancaster, PA home.

6) I have had an Artifact tote for eight years. The thing looks as good today as it did nearly a decade ago. They bring midwest charm and midwest frontier level quality to each piece they make.

7) I have two Sturdy Bro. totes and they are indestructible. The waxed canvas is so sturdy I’m convinced it’d survive a hurricane. These are the totes you want if you know its going to get messy and needs to hold up.

8) J. Stark brings a timeless southern feel to their brand. Each piece reminds me of a throw back to earlier days of handmade. Their brand feels like it belong on Main Street in a cute southern town. The entire brand is so well tied together.

9) Forest Bound is one of the OG’s. Like Peg and Awl, Alice has been making top quality well built bags for nearly a decade outside Boston. Her Escape bag has become icon.

10) Farmhouse Frocks is entirely made by Amish makers in the heart of Ohio Amish country. Their designs are always inclusive of all body types and sizes. Their leather goods are festive reminders of their farming, rural, small town roots.

11) One of my favorite totes to carry in the city is a canvas tote by Lineage. Well lined, well structured, and well designed. They bring a bit of modernity to a classic style of bag making.

12) Bradley Mountain is one of the OG millennial makers. San Diego based but inspired by the rugged mountains each piece is a beautiful reminder of good design.

13) I’ve known General Knot for forever. Originally known for their ties and bow ties their well built zippered totes have certainly won my heart.

14) Millican backpacks are the kind you use when you know its going to be a journey. Perfect in airports or camping.

15) Tracey Tanner is a Brooklyn based bad ass who brings fun and bright colors and leathers to the game. Her simple yet very well built designs are perfect smalls to carry on their own or to throw inside a bigger bag.

16) Loyal Stricklin, like Bradley Mountain is one of the first millennial makers to hit it big on social media. Made by a husband and wife team in Nashville each piece is touched and created by them.

17) Artifact Goods is bringing slick modernity to the leather game. Made in central California these bags are they perfect city bags. Timeless yet modern.

18) Our vegan option by Sole Society is actually one of my favorites. I am stopped everywhere I go by folks telling me they love this bag. It pairs perfectly with the Fount bag if you don’t mind mixing vegan and leather.


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There will likely be a second bag list as I’ve already remembered several friends I’ve forgotten. Stay tuned.

Candles! {Christmas Gift Guide}

Ben Ashby

I’m insanely lucky to be friends with so many amazing candle makers. Creating this list got incredibly hard when I realized I could only include nine, so I must start by saying there are so many other candle makers beyond these nine, these just happen to be the ones I picked for a variety of reasons. Others will be included in future lists.



1) I first met First Hand Supply Co at American Field in Boston. There is something about their scents and the price point that instantly set them apart from all the other candle makers there. They have clean scents that are equally inviting and warm as they are refreshing.

2) I’ve loved Sydney Hale candles since I first discovered them at Fable and Flame in Lexington. In those days it was a team of two hand pouring the luxury candles. Its been a joy to watch them grow over the years.

3) Harmony Farm candles are delightfully affordable and retain their scent for a very long time. These are the type of candles you fall in love with in small town shops and load up on for gifts all year long.

4) PF Candle is the classic and the original. The first candle to go viral on Etsy nearly a decade ago PF has become a standard in any millennial home. We love the team behind them just as much as we still love their classic packaging, their timeless scents, and the west coast minimal vibe they brought to the game.

5) Great Bear Wax Co is the lone man on the list. Based in Alabama these candles carry a bit of a masculine feel, a bit of a southern feel, and a bit of a rugged nature vibe.

6) Flores Lane are the candles I am most often burning. They last forever and have soft subtle scents. Made in West Hollywood by a small team and hand stamped and labeled.

7) I love Wax Buffalo for their packaging. Its bold, its timeless, its perfect. Her scents are amazing too, but that packaging, it just gets me.

8) Ethics Supply Co has a candle for everyone. The mission behind the brand is promoting nature and the outdoors. The candles carry themes dedicated to the national parks, the different regions of the US, and a spirit of nature. The quality is amazing. The packaging is amazing. The people behind the brand are amazing. (Hands down Starry Night is the candle you need for all summer long.)

9) While this one isn’t a candle it is my favorite Tatine product. Buy this one for yourself. There are plenty of other options for gifts. This one you deserve to treat yourself with.