Sustainability is being pushed front and center for many fashion brands. The challenge comes in balancing sustainable practices with durability and style. A further hill to climb is keeping prices low. Very few brands are able to make this level of quality accessible, but one particular brand stands out: Portland Leather Goods (PLG), an Oregon-based company with the goal of producing high-quality leather goods sustainably and affordably.
The company, run by founder and CEO Curtis Matsko, is now in its seventh year in business. He recalls their humble beginning in a garage with only an X-ACTO knife and scrap leather. Today, the team runs Portland Leather Goods as one of the fastest-growing bag companies in the US.
The unmatched quality of PLG’s leather bags is undoubtedly the secret to their success. Their classic designs are crafted from the best leather and wear beautifully with time. The company has gained a massive following thanks to its commitment to affordability and community while upholding its eco-friendly values. Claiming to be everyone’s go-to daily bag, PLG produces other leather products such as purses, leather totes, backpacks, and accessories.
Some believe that ethical sourcing and sustainability have to be sacrificed to attain a certain price point, not to mention to hit ever-growing production numbers. But PLG refuses to compromise on any of those values. They’ve strategically chosen their artisan workshop location in León, Mexico, which places them closer to gold star, award-winning tanneries in North America, ensuring a lower carbon footprint. The proximity to these tanneries also allows them to foster a community feel and be more intimately involved in their supply chain, which in turn allows them to reduce waste while keeping the quality high.
PLG’s community efforts and superior craftsmanship have gained them over 100,000 5-star reviews in less than seven years. Their Facebook group, PLF Insiders, is among the most followed groups, with a whopping 50,000 followers. Their tremendous growth enabled them to launch Patina, a sister-company focusing on high-quality leather boots and shoes.
The founders did not foresee the speed at which they’d achieve their enormous growth. They share that creating more space often was one of their biggest challenges. Imagine building new walls only to knock them down weeks later! The team recalls that every 6 months, they had to tear down more walls, build more tables, and hire more people. Expansion may be a positive thing, but protecting their leather bags from all the construction sheetrock dust was challenging. All in a day’s work, it seems, as they’ve maintained a consistent level of quality in their products.
And with this high-quality craftsmanship, one might wonder, does the price tag follow? Fortunately for PLG’s avid fans, they’ve kept high-end leather goods accessible. Curtis notes that everyone kept asking why their prices were so low. Always keeping its customers at heart, Curtis insists on creating a high-quality product while considering the average person when pricing it.
Portland Leather Goods is confident that it will expand globally, given that they double in revenue growth every year. They also plan on expanding into the apparel and accessories category. Uncompromising in its values, the company will follow the same mantra of making high-quality, classically-designed products from long-lasting natural materials that last a lifetime and improve with time.