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Featured Shop: basäder

May 29, 2013

by Philip and Elin

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Hi, we’re Philip and Elin. We live in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and own a small artisan bag company we call basäder. Elin is the designer and maker, while I enjoy communicating with our customers, sourcing new materials, and growing our storefront.

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Our process is heavily driven by a mission to create lasting pieces and promote timeless design principles. All of our work is produced in our studio in Williamsburg, where we laboriously hand-dye, cut, and assemble our pieces. Through experimenting with new techniques, materials and finishes – and even just wearing our own work – we’re continually improving upon our product offerings.

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Elin was born and raised in Sweden, but we share very similar stories. We were both interested in contemporary art from a very young age, and grew up in small towns before falling in love with Brooklyn. Before we started basader, Elin worked as a knitwear designer at Ralph Lauren. I also worked in the fashion industry, as a web designer and e-commerce manager. A bit disheartened with the disposable culture that encapsulates the fashion district, we wondered why a lasting, high quality, timelessly-designed business could not exist, and dreamed of creating our own brand.

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We started basäder with nothing more than two bags and an idea. Nine months later, Elin left her job and we moved our business into a beautiful studio. Etsy allowed us to slowly invest in our business, experiment with new ideas, and gain valuable insight via direct contact with our customers. For us, Etsy offers the opportunity to achieve artistic independence, and we’re extremely grateful to be a part of this growing trend!

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If we can persuade just a small fraction of consumers to buy “for life” – especially when confronted with a plethora of cheap disposable alternatives – we’re extremely happy. Conscious consumerism translates to offering a timeless aesthetic, sourcing local top-quality materials, and working on tight margins. Knowing we’ve supplied our customers with a lifetime item is a rewarding objective, and without a marketplace like Etsy, it would be simply impossible. If we were forced to rely on traditional retail channels, our bags would warrant exorbitant markup, essentially pricing out a majority of the people we hope to serve.

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We hope to grow basäder enough to start seriously experimenting with non-traditional materials. While our cork-bark line is an excellent example of this, we’re currently exploring various leather alternatives that might resonate more with our intended audience. From tree-tap leather (an organic alternative derived from the rubber tree) to recycled tires, our dream is to create designer quality bags that seamlessly integrate responsible materials. In the meantime, we’re building bags that are made to last indefinitely, using materials sourced locally in the US.

All photographs by basäder.

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