Faire Leather is perhaps best known for their initial Kickstarter campaign, which blew past funding goals to become the most funded Singaporean project on Kickstarter at that point in time. Faire Leather’s initial offering, the Bond Travel Briefcase, received critical acclaim by many established media outlets, with inventory selling out almost instantly. Building upon the success of the Bond Travel Briefcase, Faire Leather recently launched the Bond Slim Briefcase for those who just wants a slim office briefcase to carry everyday to work, and they graciously sent me one for review!
Faire Leather Co. – the Brand
Faire Leather Co. was founded by the pair of Joseph Lor and Ryan Choy in 2017. Describing themselves as a “men’s leather goods online label that redefines true value as Functional Luxury at a Fair Price”, Faire Leather “taps traditional know-how from decades of heritage and experience with real-time feedback and data to create stylish products designed for maximum function.” Joseph Lor is actually the son of James Lor, the founder of local leather goods company Tocco Toscano. Unlike other young bag startups, Faire Leather Co is able to tap upon the decades worth of manufacturing capability of Tocco Toscano – ensuring that you get a quality product (likely crafted by the same craftsmen who have been making Tocco Toscano products for decades) at an affordable price.
Faire Leather’s USP (unique selling point) is that their bags offer “effortless organisation” – their briefcases (and portfolios) acts as an organiser, with numerous specific compartments to allow for ease of access. This design philosophy stemmed from a personal problem of Ryan – the interior of his previous briefcases were often a mess as he simply dumped everything inside. As a result, he often couldn’t find what he was looking for (keys, earphones, pens, etc) in his previous briefcases. With Faire Leather, Ryan and Joseph aims to “reimagine the structure of the conventional briefcases”, so that busy professionals are able to find their daily essentials with ease, much like how James Bond (the collection’s namesake) is always able to access his tech gadgets whenever the need arises.
Without further ado, let’s delve into the review of the Faire Leather Bond Slim Briefcase!
Faire Leather Bond Slim Briefcase – Review
The build quality of the Bond Slim Briefcase is pretty impressive, especially considering the price.
The exterior of the Bond Slim Briefcase is fashioned out of US Top Grain Leather. Unlike lower quality “Genuine Leather”, top grain leather will patina after time, resulting in the leather looking even more beautiful as time passes. Now, getting a top grain leather briefcase for under S$500 is near impossible – a full leather briefcases from more established brands such as Braun Buffel often cost more than S$500, and even then the leather they use may not be top grain or full grain. In addition, Faire Leather offers their leather briefcases in two different finishes. Customers get a choice between vegetable tanned leather (the briefcase reviewed in this article) or cross-grain leather, which features the “grains” of the leather more predominantly. Between the two, my preference is the vegetable tanned leather briefcases, due to their smoother and slicker look. It’s a personal preference ultimately – the vegetable tanned leather briefcases exude a more polished aura, while the cross grain leather briefcases come across as slightly more rugged.
I’m pleased to report that the hardware on the Bond Slim Briefcase is of stellar build quality too! Firstly, Faire Leather uses EVERBRIGHT® zippers from YKK. YKK is kind of like the Rolex of zippers – they are the undisputed market leader in their industry, a feat gained due to the high corrosion resistance, high durability, and smooth zipping action of their products. All of us who have own bags/briefcases before know that the zippers are often the first component to spoil, so I’m glad that Faire Leather didn’t skimp on this area! Elsewhere, I’m also happy to see that the handles of the briefcase are bolted on, instead of being stitched. Bolted on handles are more durable, and should be able to withstand a greater weight than handles that are merely stitched on. Lastly, the Bond Slim Briefcase also comes with a sling that allows you the option to sling the briefcase if carrying it becomes too laborious.
On the inside, the Bond Slim Briefcase is made of a combination of Microfibre and twist nylon. Faire leather states that the selections of these materials makes the briefcase lighter, and also reinforces the polished aesthetics of the briefcase. The lining is nice to the touch, and feels rather premium. As compared to the cheap polyester linings one finds in lower quality briefcases, the inner materials used in the Bond Slim Briefcase certainly feels a tier better. In addition, the stitching of the various compartments is pretty good too, with no fraying or loose threads visible.
While the Bond Slim Briefcase is superbly made, its real USP (unique selling point) is in its organisational abilities. Despite only featuring one compartment (as compared to two on the Bond Travel Briefcase), the Bond Slim Briefcase contains more than enough compartments for all your daily office essentials. On one side, it has a laptop compartment (up to 14 inches), a business card compartment, a slip compartment with a pull tab for a card wallet, 2 small pockets (including 2 SD card sleeves), and two large tab organisers that can be used to hold your cables, glasses, and watches. On the other side, there are 4 medium tab organisers that can be used to hold earphones, cables, keys, etc, pen slots, two small pockets that can be used to store notebooks/phones, and a large zip pocket that can be used to hold all your tech accessories such as a mouse and laptop charger. Overall, I would say that the storage capacity of the Bond Slim Briefcase is pretty impressive, especially given its slim form factor.
That being said, there was quite an adjustment period coming into using this Bond Slim Briefcase. I’m the type of guy who’s usually immensely lazy – I simply dump all my stuff into my briefcase before heading out. I had to get used to organising my various items, Marie Kondo style. After I adjusted to the structure of the briefcase, I did find it easier to access my items without having to rummage for it. The Bond Slim Briefcase is not merely a change in briefcase structure – it’s also trying to bring about a change in the mindset of its users.
However, there are some drawbacks to this design. While there are plenty of slots, each are designed for a specific purpose – a compartment to hold your laptop, some to hold keys, cables, pens, etc – the problem arises when you are carrying an item that there’s no compartment for, like a bottle of water. This was an issue I faced – I often like to have a bottle of water (or coke) with me for hydration purposes, and there was simply nowhere I could slot the bottle in. Nor was there space/compartment for other handy items, such as an umbrella. This would not have been a problem with conventional briefcases. As such, there are pros and cons to this “organiser” design/concept of the Bond Slim Briefcase. I would say that whether this “organiser” design works for you depends upon your current situation, and your usage. If you’re constantly rummaging through your briefcase in a futile attempt to locate your items, and bring roughly the same kinds of items (laptop, mouse, pens, various wires, keys, earphones, shades, watches, etc) to work everyday, the Bond Slim Briefcase should work for you. However, if you’re more of doraemon user (carrying all kinds of items in your bag), you may find the Bond Slim Briefcase lacking as there’s no specialised slots for a variety of things as aforementioned.
All in all, the Bond Slim Leather Briefcase from Faire Leather is well-built for the price, and its sleek design looks great on the exterior. I find the “organiser” design of the briefcase unique, and it does enable one to access their items almost instantly, no rummaging and fumbling required. The only drawback is when you are carrying items that don’t have a compartment designed for them, such as a bottle of water or an umbrella for rainy days. As such, whether the Bond Slim Leather Briefcase works for you (in my humble opinion) really depends on this: do you often carry multiple items not illustrated in the sample carry (pictured above)? If so, the Bond Slim Leather Briefcase may not be the best fit for you. However, if the sample carry includes all the items you ever need for a day in the office and more, then the Bond Slim Leather Briefcase is probably one of the best full leather slim briefcase you can get for under S$500.
Shootout: Faire Leather Bond Slim Leather Briefcase vs LAVNG Soft Leather Briefcase
I happen to own another slim briefcase, from another local leather goods brand, LAVNG. As both briefcases are priced similarly, I’ve decided to compare both briefcases together in this shootout!
From a build quality perspective, both full leather briefcases are extremely well-built. The leather both brands use are of high quality, and will patina nicely with age. In addition, both briefcases uses YKK zippers, and features bolted on hardware and handles. As such, I’ll have to say that both briefcases are possesses pretty good build quality for the price.
From a design perspective, I might have to give the Bond Slim Briefcase a slight edge. Based on the exterior looks of the briefcases, I personally prefer the sleek, minimalist look of the Bond Slim Briefcase a tad more. The LAVNG Soft Leather Briefcase also boasts a minimalist, clean exterior, but it just doesn’t look as striking as the Bond Slim briefcase does. That being said, the main design difference between the two would have to be the interior design of the briefcases. The LAVNG briefcase possesses a more conventional interior design, with a general full-width compartment with a few handy slots (pen, cards, keys, etc). In contrast, the Faire Leather Bond Slim Briefcase features a unique “organiser” interior, chock-full of dedicated compartments aimed at allowing users to access the item they need easily. Ultimately, which interior design is better for you depends on your carrying habits, but I have to give props to the design team of Faire Leather for their creativity in trying to reinvent the interior compartments of briefcases.
Where LAVNG regains its slight edge is in its lower price – currently, the LAVNG soft briefcase about S$27 cheaper than the Faire Leather Bond Slim Briefcase, pre-tax. That’s not alot, but it’s not insignificant either. Personally I genuinely think its a draw between both briefcases – both briefcases are great full leather briefcase options for under S$500 – and I have my personal uses for both. I tend to carry the Faire Leather Bond Slim Briefcase out for a full day at the office, when I have a lot of things to carry out. On the other hand, I often carry the LAVNG Soft Leather Briefcase out when I’m bouncing from place to place and didn’t have much to carry (laptop, a few pens, cables and earphones, water), such as when I’m meeting various clients at Starbucks or in their offices. Again, which briefcase is better for you probably depends on your personal carrying habits, but I believe you can’t go wrong whichever way you choose!
Conclusion: so the Faire Leather Bond Slim Briefcase “shiok” or not?
The Faire Leather Bond Slim Briefcase is quite a value proposition for its sub-S$500 price. Firstly, it’s excellently built – top-grain leather construction for the exterior, YKK zippers, bolted on hardware, etc. The interior feels pretty nice as well! There was definitely an adjustment phase where I had to discipline myself to organise all my personal items in its various compartments, but once I got over that I definitely had a much easier time accessing the items I needed. However, I did sometimes get frustrated by the lack of storage capacity for miscellaneous items (bottle of water, umbrella, etc). Ultimately, the Bond Slim Briefcase is perhaps best for the everyday trips to the office, and if you’re looking for a sleek looking briefcase with a compartmentalised interior to bring to the office everyday, it fits the bill quite nicely without breaking the bank.
For those interested in the Bond Slim Briefcase, the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” will grant you 10% off all products! Now, there’s good news and bad news. Bad news: due to its popularity, the Bond Slim Briefcase is currently sold out. Good news: stock will arrive at the end of May, and to reward you for waiting, Faire Leather is offering them at a special pre-order price of S$459! After the 10% “WAHSOSHIOK” discount, the Bond Slim Briefcase can be had for just S$413, which I think is pretty good value. If you’re planning on purchasing one, I would suggest pulling the trigger fast – once stock arrives, the pre-order price would be reverted to the usual MSRP.
View Faire Leather’s full range of products here.
Exterior: Vegetable tanned embossed US Top grain cowhide
Inner Lining: T72D x 200D Twist Nylon
100% Filament Polyester Thread
L38 H29 W7 cm
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wahsoshiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!