Living in Italy sticks with a person.
While living in Italy for 3 years and drooling over all the great fashion-oriented leather bags she was seeing, Laura Burkett kept asking herself, "Why aren't there more options for business people to carry their stuff to work in a way that makes their lives more convenient and shows that they have a sense of style?" There were some options out there, but none really addressed the issue of needing to carry a laptop along with the desire to look great. So she took the idea to a cobbler in Perugia and over a series of meetings, road trips to Florence, and modifications arrived at the very first prototype for what is now called "Zaino" - or "backpack" in Italian.
- Carrying a backpack to a business meeting no longer made you feel like you should check it at the door?
- You only needed ONE bag to get you your through your entire career?
- American craftsmanship were employed to bring Italian-inspired designs to life in creating unique, luxurious, and functional business accessories from premium, full grain leather?
- There were a way to combine the function of a leather briefcase with the convenience of a backpack, in a contemporary yet timeless design?
11 Bags in 11 Months
The cobbler's name was Sergio and his craftsmanship impeccable. He was not fast, however, and 11 months had passed when he completed our first run of 11 pieces. His priorities were shoe and belt repairs for the "citidiani" of Perugia and he took both seriously. He was a magician with a rough hands and heart of gold, and as his informal apprentice, Laura learned enough to know that his trade is one that should never die - and one that can never be automated for mass production. She carried this passion back to the U.S. to pursue her dream: to take the inspiration she found in Italy and use it to create new designs that address the contemporary professional's daily challenges - and work with craftsmen (and women) right here in the U.S.A. to bring the concepts to life.
MADE IN AMERICA?
Absolutely. The pieces in this collection were inspired in Italy, but we're passionate about producing them in America.
We want to be a part of bringing jobs back to the US, and we know that the sewing and textile talent that helped fuel the Industrial Revolution is still alive and well. It's harder to find and it's costly, but it's here and we want to employ craftsmen who possess the skill to make wonderfully crafted pieces that will stand the test of time.
Our longterm goal is to open a factory here in Rhode Island and employ local artisans to bring our designs to life. In the meantime, however, we're working with existing factories in Manhattan and Massachussetts.
Our mission at Laura Burkett Designs is to create the bag you simply can't do without - the bag that simplifies your life yet expresses your individuality and sense of style. All of our products are made of rich, sumptuous leather whose character deepens over time. Human hands have crafted them one by one, with care and attention to every detail. Our pieces draw unsolicited compliments – they look good, they feel good, they smell good and - perhaps best of all - they function well. If you don't see the bag you simply can't do without for functional reasons (size/shape/compartments/closures/etc.), drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'd love to hear your ideas about the ideal 'cant-do-without' bag.
THE BURKETT MANIFESTO
We believe in passion, perseverance and the promise of the American Dream. This country is rich with talent and skill and we aim to employ those skills in creating one-of-a-kind pieces that are used and admired for decades. We want to be a part of rebuilding the economy in U.S. through a trending return to artisanal manufacturing.
We believe that being different is what makes life interesting. Small-batch production is a way to allow craftsmen to express their passion and skill. We strive for excellence in the products we create and don’t believe in cutting corners. That’s why we source the finest materials available and partner with skilled craftsmen to bring our concepts to life.
We believe it’s important to contribute to society. A portion of the proceeds from every item sold will be donated to a charitable organization that aims to educate and/or empower individuals in at-risk situations. Women for Women International helps women in war torn countries gain the skills they need to support their families and communities. They are currently our charity of choice.
WE DON’T BELIEVE…
We don’t believe “faster is better,” which is why we produce in small batches that may take 8 to 12 weeks to complete. Each piece is meticulously handcrafted by artisans who are passionate about the work they do.
We don’t believe in mass uniformity. Each Laura Burkett item will have its own individual character and will grow in richness over time.
We don’t believe that “more is better.” That’s why our products are built to last and convey a timeless feel. We believe that having one premium handcrafted bag for 20 years is better, both environmentally and economically, than having 15 mass-produced bags each last a year or two. Our brand is about style, sophistication and longevity.
We don’t believe in making more to make more – meaning our line is deliberately streamlined to allow for focus on quality. We plan to make these designs – the few but mighty – for quite a while.
We hope you’ll enjoy them and send us your stories of how they’ve accompanied you through your life’s adventures.
Laura and Team