Stories / November 2019

Bags of talent: Samuel Bail of Troubadour

The Rake sat down with Troubadour co-founder Samuel Bail to discuss the brand’s trajectory to one of the best bag makers in the world.

If you've been in the market for beautifully made, waterproof leather bags anytime in the last five years, you will have undoubtedly come across Troubadour, the London-based brand of Samuel Bail and Abel Samet, who have carved a niche in high-end and highly functional contemporary bags. The pair have created a unique aesthetic that cleverly bridges smart and casual, incorporating a minimal aesthetic that befits everyday business attire but doesn't ever appear too formal to use with a laidback weekend outfit. We caught up with Samuel recently to discuss the brand's rise from green start-up to fully fledged luxury bag maker.

 

Great to meet you Samuel. Why don't we start by telling me how Troubadour came to be?

So by way of a quick background, Abel and I were working together at Lazards bank, sitting across the desk from each other, and he would often ask me for some shoe recommendations. I'd send him a few links and then he'd buy a pair of shoes and we'd move on and continue working. And then at some point he wanted a new bag that he could travel with as he was always travelling for work. Plus, we were doing sports events together, marathons and stuff like that. And so he wanted a bag he could use for both. I shot him a few links and he fires back with, "Yeah, I don't like any of these bags."

So I say "Come on, Abel. They're fine bags. Pick a bag!" but he just didn't like anything he saw. And honestly, neither did I. So we thought it would be an interesting project just to figure out how a bag is made and so we ended up spending what turned into a year and a half, including taking a bag-making course at Central Saint Martin's on Sundays at a time when we were working in a job that often demanded seven days a week in the office. We'd have to explain to our boss that we couldn't be in on Sunday and we'd have to explain why, which was because we were taking a bag making course together, for which we got a lot of flack. Anyway, that all really piqued our interest so for the next step we decided to use our holidays to drive around Italy, Spain, France and England, stopping in at leather tanneries or zipper makers! We'd just turn up and ask for a tour!

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Ryan Thompson