The best bag you’ll ever own

I sold another bag last week. I’m up to four — five, counting the one I bought myself. That’s $3,000 in sales for Saddleback Leather, a company to which I have no connection, beyond absolutely loving the bag I bought there.

How did I become a salesman for a company that doesn’t even know who I am?

It started with a great product. Saddleback’s bags are awesome. I have had one of their briefcases for almost five years now, and I still get compliments on it every week. It’s a bag that looks better with age, is high-quality, and is totally distinctive.

Every other high-quality or unique product I own has elicited an inquiry at times. I own a lot of really great, flawlessly designed and incredibly functional products that I can’t conceive of improving in any way. I don’t pitch any of them. Saddleback is the one company that when someone asks, I can’t help myself: I become the firm’s biggest advocate.

Why am I an evangelist for this company? 

Because Dave’s a great guy. At least he seems to be. 

I ended up on the Saddleback Leather site a few months before buying that first bag, and came across the story of Blue. If you’ve spent more than 30 seconds on any of my social accounts, you know I’m a dog guy. Dave, who started Saddleback Leather, is a dog guy, too.

The more I read about the company, the more I liked it. Its story is wonderful. It involves foreign travel, crooked police, true love, lots of dogs, and a passion for what the company does.

My Saddleback bag has a personality. All of the other beautifully designed products that I have are just that: great products. But there’s a story behind my bag, and it’s one I add a chapter to every time I travel with it. That story, and the personification of the company through Dave, connects me with an otherwise faceless company. It generates an emotional connection. It makes me root for their success. It bonds me more closely to their products. And it makes me an evangelist for them in a way I’m not for other brands.

Great stories are hidden inside every brand, but the special ones understand how to leverage them in a way that makes me not only buy the product, but keep selling it over and over again. If you see a guy in a bowtie and a badass-looking leather bag walking around Philadelphia or through an airport any time soon — stop me: I have a bag to sell you.