This short film was created spontaneously while we were documenting the origin and the making process of our compagnon ‘the beewax’ leather care. In fact this little parcel of nature belongs to Co-founder Vitalis’ family. If you’re interested about our leather care product in particular, check out the product in our shop.
Where did compagnon actually start? And how? For that we’ll have to go back to 2009. compagnon as a concept is much older than that. There is a little story that will tell you about what we mean by that, right here…
We found ourselves in some kind of desperate situation of need. We kept searching for a leather camera bag and we found several alternatives in the course of months. But there was always something to put us off. Sometimes the material didn’t feel or look right, in some cases the craftsmanship was not up to par. Often the design was just too uninspiring, looking photography-nerdy or overly brash. We could go on with this, really…
So the goal was set: “Let’s make a bag ourselves. The best super premium camera bag from leather around. So we’ll get what we actually would love to use and live with.”
A few minutes later we climbed off the ego train and realized we should make a couple of extra units of our photo bag, just in case other people out there might like the bag as well. Possibly there were other leather enthusiasts like us. We sat down and stuck our heads together. While Vitalis was designing the first couple of prototypes, we realized this was much harder than we had expected. Most of the initial ideas went straight to the bin. But some ideas stuck, getting us closer and closer the the first original compagnon.
Long story short, the first ‘messenger’ camera bag was sold in December 2012, on the brink of the new year. From this day we made sure to preserve the unique essence of compagnon while making subtle improvements. That’s what we work on everyday together with our great team.
Functionality was definitely important to us. But so was the style and looks. It needed to be restraint and thus suitable for professional photoshoots or respectable events. But it also shouldn’t have a snooty, imperious or nerdy appeal thus it wouldn’t look right around you on your bike crossing the city center in the afternoon. It had to be cool and laid back as well.
Another crucial focus was durability and decades of possible life span. Just because we always loved the things most that we could be using for years. We love the feeling of something kind of growing on you. compagnon was set to provide this feeling as well. Win over your heart. For this reason our compagnon buffalo leather as well as the authentic waxed canvas for our products feature a signature “pull-up” effect. This basically means that every compagnon bag will retain a one of a kind patina from its use. Do you know these gorgeous leather wingback chairs from victorian tea clubs? It’s just like that. So your bag will become a mirror of your adventures and your life. It becomes a part of your own story, not looking alike any other compagnon out there. Always one of a kind.
On the inside we’re using prime velcro velour. It not only allows for storage separator pads to be fitted in countless ways suiting all of your demands. It also suits the bags durability. On the point where nylon, polyurethane or other synthetic pads collapse, crumple up or start ripping, our velour is still well in its comfort zone.
All compagnon products are developed, designed and tested by us in Birkenfeld near Pforzheim, in Germany’s Black Forest region. compagnons are sized and built by our partner workshop in the EU neighboring country. The craftsman and women share our passion for premium goods and put their skilled work and know-how in every single product. Vitalis spends a lot of time at the workshop, working alongside the crafters, being around making sure the finished product is right. We disassociate ourselves from products built in low wage countries where human and labour rights are commonly disregarded.
From the beginning compagnon’s characteristic 100% naturally tanned buffalo leather was produced in Italy. In our pursuit of best possible quality that exceeds our own requirements while being able to preserve local manufactured products, compagnon leather will be made by a family run, traditional tannery in northern Germany. This step limits ecologically unfavorable transport distances. Furthermore we get to stay in closer contact to the natural production process and quality control. This change benefits our region and several small and midsize companies from our area, too.