Tag Archives: waxed canvas

Southern Makers: Sturdy Brothers

Ben and Spencer Young, the Sturdy Brothers | Oysters & Pearls

Photo credit: www.sturdybrothers.com

THE BROTHERS

Spencer and Ben Young are the Sturdy Brothers. Both grew up in South Georgia, and Spencer relocated to Thomasville with his wife to open up Grassroots Coffee in the summer of 2009.  After college, Ben worked in a coffee shop in Raleigh, North Carolina.  The brothers both saw and felt the need for a sturdy, heavy-duty apron in their roles as baristas, so they started making their own.  Almost immediately, they sponsored the 2014 Big Eastern Barista Competition by donating their aprons as prizes.  They were a huge hit with the baristas and requests for more aprons began to roll in.

A Sturdy Brothers Waxed Canvas Apron Used to Wax Canvas | Oysters & Pearls

THE KICKSTARTER

In order to get the funds to get their apron business off the ground, Spencer and Ben launched a Kickstarter campaign.  It was successful beyond their wildest dreams, and they hit the ground running with 226 backers from Thomasville and beyond, plus over $14,000 in the pockets.

Sturdy Brothers Leather Stamping Equipment | Oysters & Pearls Singer Sewing Machine at the Sturdy Brothers Workshop | Oysters & Pearls  Sturdy Brothers Leather Stamp | Oysters & Pearls

 THE GOODS

The thick, sturdy (for lack of a better word) canvas Ben and Spencer use for Sturdy Brothers products comes from Filson cuts.  They hand cut the high quality leather for straps and tags, then hand stamp those, too.

Waxing Canvas at the Sturdy Brothers Workshop | Oysters & Pearls Waxing Canvas at the Sturdy Brothers Workshop | Oysters & Pearls

They sew their heavy-duty bags and aprons, then wax them with beeswax, then dry them in a dryer. It’s a lengthy process with sweet-smelling, water-resistant results.

Hand Stamped Leather Tag, Sturdy Brothers | Oysters & Pearls Metal Punches at Sturdy Brothers' Workshop | Oysters & Pearls Ben, one half of the Sturdy Brothers | Oysters & Pearls

Their leather tags and handles and straps are all attached by hand using metal rivets.  Straps are reinforced with more leather on the backside of the canvas.

Adding a Sturdy Brothers Tag to a Waxed Canvas Apron | Oysters & Pearls

Finally, when they ship out a Sturdy Brothers apron, tote, or duffle, they wrap it up into brown paper packages tied up with string and hand-stamped cards and a thank you note!

Brown Paper Package from the Sturdy Brothers | Oysters & Pearls Sturdy Brothers Thank You Note | Oysters & Pearls Snow Tote for Natalie from the Sturdy Brothers | Oysters & Pearls

I was lucky enough to find this Snow Tote in my brown paper package, and sure enough, it’s become one of my favorite things.

Waxed Canvas Tote Bag by the Sturdy Brothers in Thomasville, Georgia | Oysters & Pearls French Ticking Waxed Canvas Tote Bag by the Sturdy Brothers in Thomasville, Georgia | Oysters & Pearls Snow Tote from the Sturdy Bros. | Oysters & Pearls

STURDY BROTHERS SHOP

If you’re itching to get your hands on these awesome goods, you’re in luck.  The Kickstarter campaign is over and the Sturdy Brothers website is open for business!  Check their online shop for purchasing all their sturdy merch.

www.sturdybrothers.com

Or if you’re local, the Sturdy Brothers are participating in Thomasville Center for the Arts’ FLAUNT!  Their popup shop on Jackson Street will be opening TODAY and will continue to be open for an entire month!

The opening party is tonight, September 5th, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm, and the popup shops will remain open until September 27th.  Purchase tickets to any of the events online at www.thomasvillearts.org.

Sturdy Brothers FLAUNT Pop Up Shop | Oysters & Pearls

In addition to being Ben’s workshop to create more Sturdy Brothers goods, he will have some additional items for sale for the month as well, including a handful of beautiful knives from O&P favorite Heartwood Forge!

Heartwood Forge Knives at Sturdy Brothers FLAUNT Pop Up Shop | Oysters & Pearls Goods at Sturdy Brothers FLAUNT Pop Up Shop | Oysters & Pearls Old Saw Flask at Sturdy Brothers FLAUNT Pop Up Shop | Oysters & Pearls Sturdy Brothers FLAUNT Pop Up Shop | Oysters & Pearls Sturdy Brothers FLAUNT Pop Up Workshop | Oysters & Pearls

Only a barista would have an espresso machine this awesome in their workshop.Sturdy Brothers FLAUNT Pop Up Shop | Oysters & Pearls    Sturdy Brothers FLAUNT Pop Up Workshop | Oysters & Pearls Sturdy Brothers FLAUNT Pop Up Shop | Oysters & Pearls

Be sure to stop by and visit all the amazing pop up shops in Thomasville this month.  It’s worth the trip for you out-of-towners!

And if you make it by to see Ben, be sure to tell him I sent ya!

For more Sturdy Brothers:

@SturdyBrothers

www.sturdybrothers.com

Until Next Time

My Life Through an iPhone

Just some scenes of life lately, through the lens of my iPhone’s camera.

A sneak peek of the workin-progress Sturdy Brothers Popup Shop in Downtown Thomasville for FLAUNT… more details to come on that Friday!

Sturdy Brothers Pop Up Shop Sneak Peek | Oysters & Pearls

Beautiful embroidery floss at Material Things here in downtown Bainbridge.

Embroidery Floss at Material Things in Bainbridge, Georgia | Oysters & Pearls

Some scenes from the maidens‘ recent pickin’ trip to Moultrie…

Mannequin at a Yard Sale | Oysters & Pearls Antique Coca-Cola Cooler | Oysters & Pearls Antique Coca-Cola Bottles | Oysters & Pearls

Kirbo Law Firm in Moultrie, Georgia | Oysters & Pearls Courthouse in Moultrie, Georgia | Oysters & Pearls

 Wheat and June are perplexed as to what us maidens are going to use all this junk for…Truck Full of Pickings | Oysters & Pearls

Some adorable (even as a Gator fan) UGA brownies that I came home to made by our resident Bainbridge High School art teacher, Rebecca.

Gameday Brownies | Oysters & Pearls

We went to visit Wheat’s aunt Martha over the long weekend, too.  She gave me a primer on antique Singer sewing machines and showed me her beautiful collection…Antique Singer Sewing Machine | Oysters & Pearls

…and I got to play with her little herd of friendly goats…Goats | Oysters & Pearls

This one is named Pearl. :)Pearl the Goat | Oysters & Pearls

And chickens, too!  The itch for me to have goats and chickens is getting far too strong for my HOA.Chicken | Oysters & Pearls

Cock-a-doodle-doo!  Rise and shine and enjoy your day, friends!

Until Next Time

Southern Makers: Anhaica Bag Works

THE NAME

Anhaica was the capital of the lands the Apalachee Indians occupied, where the present-day capital of Florida now sits.  Anhaica Bag Works is also located in Tallahassee, where Marina Mertz makes really sweet bike bags and other waxed canvas goods.

Anhaica Bag Works | Oysters & Pearls

Marina's Bike, Anhaica Bag Works | Oysters & Pearls

Anhaica Bag Works | Oysters & Pearls

THE PLACE

I first met Marina in person a few weeks ago at Due South, but I “met” her on Instagram even before then.  Marina is such a sweet, kind person, and the care with which she makes her hand-waxed canvas bike bags and accessories is evident.  I fell in love with her bags and the faint, sweet smell of honey that comes along with them immediately, and we immediately made plans for me to visit her in her Tallahassee workshop.  Housed in her parents’ basement on the north edge of Tallahassee, Marina, joined by her family dog, Max, her cat, Today, and her part-time employee Adriana, crank out an impressive supply of Anhaica bags.

Anhaica Bag Works | Oysters & Pearls

Max, Anhaica Bag Works | Oysters & Pearls

Anhaica Bag Works | Oysters & Pearls

Though filled to the brim with canvas, nylon webbing, thread, sewing machines, flowers, bags, and more, Anhaica doesn’t feel the least bit crowded.  It’s full of odds and ends and beautiful things.  It feels collected, not cluttered.

Anhaica Bag Works | Oysters & Pearls Vintage Singer Sewing Machine Cover, Anhaica Bag Works | Oysters & Pearls Snaps, Anhaica Bag Works | Oysters & Pearls Vintage Sewing Machine at Anhaica Bag Works | Oysters & Pearls Fresh Beeswax Cakes at Anhaica Bag Works | Oysters & Pearls Sewing Machines at Anhaica Bag Works | Oysters & Pearls Sewing Machine at Anhaica Bag Works | Oysters & Pearls

THE PERSON

Marina started out selling her bags by opening a small sewing shop called Community Fabric out of a warehouse in Railroad Square a few years ago.  Fresh out of college, she sold needles and thread, taught sewing classes, and made all manner of bags.  Her bike bags really started to take off, so she shuttered her little shop and began sewing bike bags full time.

Encouraged and inspired by long-time boyfriend, Justin of Old Field CyclesAnhaica Bag Works was born and Marina has never looked back.

Marina Mertz, Anhaica Bag Works | Oysters & Pearls Today the Cat, Anhaica Bag Works | Oysters & Pearls

Marina Hand Waxes Her Own Canvas at Anhaica Bag Works | Oysters & Pearls

THE PROCESS

Marina and Adriana, first cut bag patterns from cotton canvas and wax them.  Marina purchases her canvas locally, and she sources her beeswax locally, too – from my parents’ neighbor in Bristol, who also owns The Bee House where I get my beekeeping supplies.  It’s a small, small world.
Marina recycles as much as possible for her shipping materials, and she frequents The Sharing Tree on Railroad Square for both supplies and inspiration.

Waxing Canvas, Anhaica Bag Works | Oysters & Pearls

The beeswax is melted in a pot and brushed on the canvas with a paintbrush.  Then a hot iron is run over the wax, melting it deep into the fabric. The beeswax makes the canvas water-resistant while smelling sweetly of the honey bees who made it.

Waxing Canvas at Anhaica Bag Works | Oysters & Pearls Waxing Canvas at Anhaica Bag Works | Oysters & Pearls Waxing Canvas at Anhaica Bag Works | Oysters & Pearls

Waxed Canvas, Anhaica Bag Works | Oysters & Pearls

Once the pattern pieces are waxed, Adriana “re-squares them,” as sometimes the waxing process causes them to be a bit misshapen.  Then, Marina begins sewing.

Adriana, Anhaica Bag Works | Oysters & Pearls Sewing Machine, Anhaica Bag Works | Oysters & Pearls Marina Sewing at Anhaica Bag Works | Oysters & Pearls

Marina waxes first, then sews her bags together.  She double stitches everything and takes care to test all her prototypes rigorously before offering them in the shop.  She is meticulous and painstaking and it shows in her work.  And sometimes it makes her a little crazy – especially when it comes to a certain bag.

She tells me that her most popular bag is actually her tool roll, and I can see why and at least eight different reasons I need one, too.  I can also see why stitching those small pieces of velcro over and over and over might make one a bit crazy.  It makes me appreciate her work (and the tool roll) that much more.

Tool Rolls Being Sewn at Anhaica Bag Works | Oysters & Pearls Bags in Various Stages of Progress at Anhaica Bag Works | Oysters & Pearls Tool Rools, Anhaica Bag Works | Oysters & Pearls

The final step on every bag is to stitch on a hand-printed Anhaica tag.

THE LIFESTYLE

Making bike bags isn’t just a livelihood for Marina – it’s a lifestyle.  She doesn’t own a car, and she commutes across Tallahassee daily to her workshop on her bike.  Her bags stand the test of time because they have to.  

Marina is passionate that biking could change the world if we’d just let it, and her enthusiasm is contagious.

The Bicycle is the Most Efficient Machine Ever Created, Anhaica Bag Works | Oysters & Pearls

I rode my bike almost exclusively when I was in college in Gainesville, and it was so liberating (not to mention, figure friendly).  I obviously can’t bike from Bainbridge to Thomasville for work, but listening to Marina preach the virtues of bicycle culture made me want to try.   Her line of bags would sure make it an easier – or least, better looking – commute.  Maybe one day I’ll be able to ride my bike to work again.  I look forward to the day I need one of her backpacks.

Backpack from Anhaica Bag Works | Oysters & Pearls Messenger Bag, Anhaica Bag Works | Oysters & Pearls Backpack, Anhaica Bag Works | Oysters & Pearls

And she doesn’t limit herself to bike bags (even though they are her thing).  She is having a limited run on some amazing bucket tote bags at the moment, and she makes the occasional tote, purse, clutch, and wallet.  The flap cross-body purses pictured below aren’t online, but actually may still be available – email Marina ASAP if you want one!

Limited Release Purses, Anhaica Bag Works | Oysters & PearlsBucket Bag from Anhaica Bag Works | Oysters & Pearls

Anhaica Bag Works Tote with Matching Change Purse | Oysters & Pearls

Anhaica Bag Works Tote with Ikat Lining | Oysters & Pearls

THE SHOP

Even if you don’t ride a bike to work every day, you can appreciate the high quality of Anhaica Bag Works.  The waxed canvas ages beautifully – I can fully vouch for that, as that last tote bag came home with me.  They are just as stylish as they are hard-working, and they will see you through bike rides and road trips and everything in between for years to come.

Anhaica Bag Works | Oysters & Pearls

Visit Anhaica Bag Works over on Etsy, where she was the featured Etsy seller on May 16!

Anhaica Bag Works on Etsy

Anhaica Bag Works Website

Anhaica Bag Works on Instagram

Anhaica Bag Works on Facebook

Anhaica Bag Works on Twitter

Shop Local. Support Small Businesses.  Ride Your Bike.

Until Next Time