Behind the Brand with Abel and Samuel of Troubadour Goods
In 2011, Samuel Bail and Abel Samet set out to find the perfect bag. One that married function and style, one you’d happily carry with you for years and years, but after months and month of searching they came up empty handed. So they decided to create their ideal bag.
Traveling across Europe to source the finest leathers and craftsmen for the job, Troubadour Goods quickly turned from a project based in personal frustration to reputable brand for the discerning traveler.
From a tanner whose processes go back multiple generations to a zip manufacturer solely responsible for every aspect of its line, the craftsmen behind Troubadour Goods are unmatched. Here are truly inspiring people with a life-long love of their art, family-businesses continually striving to better their already wonderful products, individuals who live and breathe their offerings.
Read on to learn more about the founders and the travels that led them to this point, in this week's Behind the Brand.
Album currently highest on your hit list:
Go-to cocktail after a long day:
Abel: Stout beer (preferably a nitro) – Left Hand Milk Stout is a current favorite.
Samuel: A really good negroni is my perfect aperitif. Story has that it was invented in Florence, where we’re lucky enough to regularly enjoy truly outstanding food and drink.
Favorite NYC Restaurant:
Huge fans of Maialino, at the base of the Gramercy Park Hotel. The restaurant is part of Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group and the Chef, Nick Anderer, is incredible. It’s the type of food and ambiance we want to experience again and again. Safe to say we’re there a few times on any given stay.
Best place to entertain a buyer or prospect during PROJECT in LV:
It all depends on the buyer and individual schedules! We personally tend to favor the outdoors – and enjoy hiking or rock climbing in Red Rock Canyon (twenty-five minutes from the show).
Samuel, in 2014 you trained and completed OTILLO, Stockholm’s infamous 75km endurance race and teamed up with Men's Health to blog about your training. Tell us about your training and the race! Sounds like an insane experience!
OTILLO is a team-based race across a Swedish archipelago. Two people spend a great deal of time training together to compete, as the race spans across 27 islands. Swim to one, run across it, swim to the next, and so on, 27 times! Originally, my girlfriend Karianne and I planned to tackle OTILLO together but due to an injury she had to bow out. Like the incredible partner that he is, Abel stepped in to fill her role and we competed together to complete OTILLO. It’s a grueling race, but ultimately great fun and highly rewarding.
You launched the line in 2011 and both came from a background in finance. Tell us about your start.
When we set out to launch Troubadour it was all about inspiration exploration – architecture, materials, culture, fashion, people, places, things. We scoured Europe, making over a dozen trips before honing in on our vision for Troubadour, we went everywhere from manufacturing towns and trade shows to small family-owned tanneries and artisanal workshops. Not only was it enlightening to meet great people as we shaped the business, it was such a gift to enjoy the best food and drink across all these wonderful places for the sake of research.
It's all in the name, why Troubadour?
The Troubadour name pays homage to the traveling minstrels – storytellers – of days long gone by. It is our hope the pieces we’re creating will accompany the wearer on many wonderful life journeys, all over. And the name takes into mind the stories these pieces will witness in their owners’ lives.
Your website features a strong commitment to original content. Has this always been the case? How has it affected your ecommerce business and where does the value of hosting original content lie for Troubadour?
We want to provide as much information about our collection as possible. Our team is passionate about the artisans, materials, and craftsmanship that anchor all our products, and appreciate any chance to share it with others. We hope it’s helpful and engaging for any of our clients who want to learn more about how these pieces are made, beyond just the standard product specs. We always try to create a more enriching experience for those interested shoppers.
What are some of the struggles you face as a rapidly growing small business? How do you address those challenges?
Finding and partnering with the right people is one of the most important pieces of our business. It’s critical to surround yourself with passionate, intelligent, excellence-driven people who can help nurture and grow the business in the right way, and serve as great sounding boards in our roles as founders.
Troubadour is London based, where does your biggest distribution lie? What has your strategy been thus far to support international growth outside of London?
Naturally, as a London-based brand, our strongest market for a long time has been in our home city. We’re happy to share that we’re growing day-by-day all over, following our stockist additions and word of mouth stretching beyond our shores.
The Thom Sweeney Collaboration seems like a match made in Sartorial heaven. Can you tell us a little bit about the collection itself? How did you connect with the Thom Sweeney team to make it happen?
Thom Sweeney founders Thom and Luke share our vision for functional, understated craftsmanship and commitment to creating items that are made to last. Once we began kicking around the idea to collaborate, the vision for a Leather Suit Carrier and Suede Day Bagrose to the top as items our respective clients would value for years to come. We’re huge fans of what they do, having admired them for years since they were two tailors in a shop in Mayfair.
You've been showing in THE TENTS for several seasons now, do you have any wisdom to impart on first time exhibitors?
THE TENTS is more than just an opportunity to showcase your best products. There’s a real sense of community among so many interesting brands at the show, making it a fantastic chance to make new friends and engage with the extremely talented people you’ll meet. Everyone – buyers, brands and the show team – is very welcoming and helps each other out along the way, and this makes for a great time!
What's next for the brand? Any exciting collabs or exciting new pieces we can look forward to seeing in August at PROJECT?
Yes! We have a lot of exciting new things in the works. This summer we will be sharing our collaboration with AirBnB co-founder Joe Gebbia that will be featured as an exclusive in Wallpaper* Magazine – one of the world’s true authorities on great design.
We are also incredibly excited to show our SS17 range for the first time this summer. This collection continues to build on the success of our Fabric + Leather line, though highlighting new shapes, fabrics, and colours for the coming season. We hope everyone at PROJECT will respond to it as strongly as our team has in design and development!
All imagery courtesy of Troubadour Goods