If you’ve found our website or have seen our products in the many retail stores around the country, you may be asking yourself, what makes Owen & Fred and their designs unique compared the competitors? Believe it or not, it’s not just one simple thing that makes us who we are. It’s a culmination of several aspects, all important in their own way. Here are those aspects that we aim to achieve with every product we make.
Quality is a hard thing to pinpoint when it comes to products you’ve never used before. It’s tough to know exactly what will serve you for years or fall apart as soon as the cashier hands you the receipt. Any company can say their products are the highest quality if they want, but to prove it, is another thing. So how do we do that?
First, we avoid cheap rubber or plastic materials, and instead, use materials that are proven time and time again to outlast its competitors. For example, durable duck canvas on our duffel bags. This is a material that has been around for centuries, used for sailing and sandbags. It’s tough just where you need it.
Instead of a light, and often cheaper, aluminum for metal, we opt for solid brass and stainless steel. These are materials that common knowledge tells us are high quality. Let us explain:
When you find yourself in an antique store or a flea market, what are the materials from thirty or forty years ago that still look great? Brass and stainless steel. They may be slightly aged with a certain patina to them, but nonetheless, they’re just as solid as the day they were made. You won’t find pieces cheaply made from plastic or cheap metals from decades ago because they’ve fallen apart and have been sent to the dumpster.
Second, we tell you exactly what our products are made from. Instead of making you guess, or hoping the product will last, we make sure you know you’re receiving the highest quality materials available.
Third, we don’t skimp on the detail. We use the best quality material even for the accents to a duffel or shaving kit bag, like leather handles and YKK zippers. This is because every part of a product needs to maintain the same quality as the larger material. We think of the quote, “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.” If you can’t rely on your zipper or your handle, then how can you rely on your bag?
For the longest time, manufacturing jobs were outsourced to other countries because it was more affordable for the company making the products. However, unfortunately, this ultimately hurt the American economy while making it hard for companies to have strict quality control. That meant cheaper, lower quality, items that were costing Americans jobs.
As we just said, we want to make high-quality products, which means making them close to home so we can have better communication with our manufacturers to ensure the best product available. By that, we mean it’s easier to receive a prototype of a design, test it, talk to our manufacturer about any issues, then go to market.
Secondly, as many companies are beginning to realize, manufacturing overseas cost about the same as making the same thing in America. If that’s the case, why not help build the American workforce by manufacturing our products right here? It’s a no-brainer.
Of course, along with manufacturing high-quality products right here in America, we also wanted our products to be affordable for customers. This is a tough equation as high quality and American-made usually means higher cost. What we realized however, was, when it comes to the cost of the product verse the retail price, many manufacturers spike their price to outrageously high margins. Three or four times what a product costs to make. That, to us, seems ridiculous.
Instead, we chose to keep low margins on our products so our customers can afford them. What we charge allows us to continue to grow the business and help pay for a team of dedicated employees, while still keeping prices fair to customers. Our hope is that Owen & Fred customers realize this, continue to shop with us, and support a company they believe in.
Last, because we’re not just some boring company solely trying to stand on moral high ground, we aim to make every product we design fun and charming. Might as well have fun while making high-quality, affordable goods, right?
We do this by adding small messages on our products that communicate something endearing from the gift giver to the recipient. “Hey Handsome,” or “You Earned It,” give the owner of the product a certain confidence, while reflecting a sense of their personality. As well, we like to add little messages of our own that might not even be noticed at first glance. For example, our labels wink at you — they have messages on the back.
When you add all of these aspects together, it’s obvious to see why Owen & Fred products are a solid choice as a gift for a loved one, or to yourself. Great design means American-made, high quality and affordability with a great deal of charm. Truly, Men’s Goods Made Great.