The man bag. Once something that only the most discerning men would carry has morphed into an everyday staple for men of all walks of life. When searching for the perfect bag, the options seem endless. Do you go for something that solves your technical needs, or do you opt for something that caters to your inner fashion junkie? Luckily for you, we’ve discovered a brand that encapsulates everything we’ve been looking for in a bag. A brand that focuses not just on creating a bag that’s good for your laptop, or a bag that looks great. A brand manages to straddle both the consumer electronic market and the lifestyle market. Let us introduce you to PKG bags, a brand that shows that functionality and style don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
We sat down with the creators of PKG, Mike and Andrew Priestman to discover the brand origins, and how PKG is taking the world by storm by creating well crafted, stylish, consumer friendly bags.
When discussing the origins of PKG, the beautiful thing about it is that it came to be somewhat organically. Through a strategic assessment of the market and intuition, Mike and Andrew Priestman saw a hole in the consumer electronic market for beautifully crafted bags with a lifestyle feel. While it sounds like the two brothers had an ‘Aha!’ moment, the creation of PKG came from a deep understanding of the consumer electronic industry stemming from Andrew’s and Mike’s origins as the primary distributors for Skull Candy Headphones.
“We had a distribution company, and for all the brands we’ve worked on the past, we’ve done all the marketing, all the sales, and all the distribution. In 2003, we took our first foray into the fashion lifestyle and tech side. We took skull candy headphones and saw an opportunity to really grow that brand. We grew it from 0 – $15 million dollars up until 2 years ago where they took the company public,” Mike tells us. ” In that period, distribution was getting tough. Margins are getting slimmer, retail margins are getting larger, the piece of the pie for distributors was very small. So about 5 years ago we looked at opportunities in the channels we played in and said to ourselves ‘we need to be able to control our own destiny’. Instead of taking brands building them up and then saying ‘okay, thank you, here you go’, we wanted something we could control globally, and that was the start of PKG because we had a lot of experience through retail channels and through consumer electronic retailers like Best Buy and outdoor action sports stores because of Skull Candy.”
With the understanding of how PKG would fit into specific sales channels, Mike and Andrew Priestman began to design products that could be sold at consumer electronic shops like Best Buy, but also could be sold in the coolest local downtown shops like GotStyle. “We try to find markets that bridge the gap between the two. Understanding that building a brand is a huge part of the sustainability of the brand,” Andrew tells us. While a sustainable brand is what every brand builder is looking to create, it’s almost impossible to do it if your brand doesn’t stand out.
“We were designing for our own demographic, so there is a lot of personal taste that goes into it. We like it or don’t like it. We would carry it or wouldn’t carry it.” Mike tells us, “truthfully, lots of trial and error.” Andrew added that “there are many brands that design a great bag, but the key is to design a look that has a signature on it. Whether that’s in your fabric story, your design story, whether that’s in your feature set story. It needs to encapsulate all of that, so when a guy walks into a store, he knows that that’s a PKG bag.”
While design is paramount, in order to have a successful brand, it’s not everything. it’s about knowing where your product stands in the sea of thousands of other products clouding the design making process of consumers. The gentlemen behind PKG have this knowledge.
“We build products with dedicated digital spaces, but they are well thought out. We want you to use our bags from Monday to Sunday. It’s all incorporated into one fantastic piece.”