The Beautiful American-Made, Full Grain Leather Briefcase That’s Cheaper Than Its Competitors

The Beautiful American-Made, Full Grain Leather Briefcase That’s Cheaper Than Its Competitors
The briefcase you've been waiting for.
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I'm excited to partner with Jackson Wayne on this post and to offer the first 10 readers a free card holder wallet with the purchase of a briefcase with code PRIMER. Click here!

What is this?

I’ve been doing this forever.

I just had that realization the other day. Someone reached out to me and wanted to ask some questions about starting a website and if I could share anything I learned about making it work along the way. It just comes down to persistence, I said, there will be a lot of ups and downs, excitement and frustration, but you have to keep going. I’ve published 3-4 articles per week, non-stop, since I started Primer 8 years ago.

That blew my mind when I said it out loud. I can’t believe it’s been that long, and thanks to Primer’s contributors we’ve done so many awesome fun, helpful features. I knew nothing about running a magazine or a business when I started, and the two things I’ve realized, regardless of your business or product, is that the customer (or in Primer's case, reader) always comes first, and make the absolute best damn product you can.

For Primer, that means making sure every article we do is as helpful as it can be, with the most thoughtful writers we can find, packaged with a design that motivates you to take action. Whether that’s learning to say no, realizing a real alpha male isn’t a dick, or upgrading your wardrobe, my goal is to make every piece we put out the best it can be and better than the last.

Along the way, I’ve seen a lot of products. Things I’ve bought, things I’ve been sent to test, and lots and lots of email pitches. 99% never make it onto Primer. You may have noticed we rarely publish articles about products we don’t like, and that’s simply because there’s a ton of review noise out there. Instead of focusing on all the things we’ve come across and found to be inferior, we choose to only take the time to highlight the ones that impress us. That performed as advertised, made of quality materials, and, in our opinion, worth the money.

And there have been a disappointing amount of bags and briefcases that never made the cut. Leather that looks and feels like plastic. Stitching that is uneven and frays. Chintzy hardware that performs as poorly as it looks and feels.

So, just for fun, brainstorm with me what the best leather bag would look like?

  • The highest quality, thick but beautiful leather available
  • A lifetime warranty
  • A design that is as classic as it is modern
  • Holds all the essentials for your daily haul without being bulky
  • Handcrafted in America
  • A great realistic price, with free shipping and returns

When you break it down like that, doesn’t it make you ask yourself, “Yeah! Why doesn’t someone just DO that?” The bag market is oversaturated with designer, gorgeous and overpriced options on the high end, and poorly designed, temporary options of low quality on the bottom end. Good luck getting out the door with anything costing less than $500 if you want good leather, good design, and good ethics.

That’s the exact, frustrating thought process Andrew Lynch had when he founded Jackson Wayne. Throughout the various jobs he’s had in his life, he’s always needed a great leather bag. But finding one that fit the bill ended up fruitless. So he set out to do what no one else has been able to do, and I must say, he nailed it.

This beautiful briefcase is made of thick 8 oz full grain harness leather, the best you can buy from a tannery. It’s the top layer of a hide and is the toughest available. Not only that, it’s from one of America’s oldest tanneries. Jackson Wayne gets their leather from Wickett & Craig Tannery in Curwensville – a small town in central Pennsylvania that’s only 90 minutes from where I spent the first half of my life.

They’re only one of two left who still vegetable tan their leather; a natural tanning process that uses things like bark instead of chrome tanning which uses harsh chemicals. Vegetable tanning takes 6 weeks, versus chrome tanning that only takes days. Vegetable tanning is the better way to do it, but of course, most tanneries opt for faster production instead of a better product. They’ve been one of the most respected tanneries in the world since 1867, focus on quality and never cutting corners, and emphasize a respectful and family-like relationship with their employees.

From there, Jackson Wayne hand makes their goods, from briefcases to journals, to wallets, in a small family-run factory with decades of experience and a penchant for true leathercraft. Seams are straight. The hardware is tough. Their quality control process is obsessive. These bags are built to last, and if you ever have any problems, Jackson Wayne’s lifetime warranty will take care of it.

But these briefcases aren’t just built tough, they look amazing too. Inspired by vintage lawyer briefcases from the 1920s-40s, the minimalist design makes it a leather chameleon. Take it to the boardroom. Take it to a cafe to do work. Use it as a laptop case for class. Like the best style essentials, a great bag is versatile in both function and design.

This briefcase is only $399 – certainly not chump change if you're on a budget – but of all the briefcases that I've seen in the 8 years I've been doing Primer, it's the only one that's full grain leather, American-made start to finish, with a modern design, and has a lifetime warranty at that price range.

The importance of buying a briefcase that’s full grain leather comes down to longevity. A cheap leather bag wears out. A full grain leather bag ages. Few things get better the longer you own them, but great leather develops a patina: A sheen and richness in color that is earned from years of use.

It’s not simply better than a cheap bag, it continues to get better. And that’s something that’s worth the money.

The first 10 Primer readers to buy a briefcase get a free card holder wallet with code PRIMER. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Primer!

Andrew is the founder and editor of Primer. He's a graduate of American University and currently lives in Los Angeles. Read more about Primer on our About page. On Instagram: @andrewsnavely and @primermagazine.

  • Gino

    Darn it I was hoping being the first comment won me the bag! lmao. But, beautiful bag. Any suggestions between the saddle tan and vintage brown? Definitely picking one up when I’m in the market!

  • rogun

    Think I remember when you started Primer. Didn’t you post it on styleforum.net? I can remember thinking it was a great idea, but I wasn’t very interested in your early work. Discovered Primer again, many years later, and I think it’s vastly improved.

  • ManBaby

    Wow, still no get-up?

  • Sean P.

    Andrew,

    What about the Baccini leather bag you proudly boasted about in your article? I purchased one based off your recommendation, but now I’m second guessing myself looking at this bag.

    • http://www.primermagazine.com/ Andrew

      Hey Sean, They’re different bags for different purposes. The Baccini is a fantastic value real leather bag with a good design. But it’s not made in the USA, likely isn’t full grain leather, and doesn’t have the same warranty. It just depends on what your needs are.

  • K_Dilkington

    Andrew,

    What is the color option you selected for the bag in your photo shoot? It looks like the vintage brown option, but I just want to make sure.

    Thanks!

    • http://www.primermagazine.com/ Andrew

      Yep! That’s the one.

      • GruneMSU

        Why did you go with Vintage Brown or Saddle Tan?