It’s not difficult to spot the now-iconic Herschel bag around Vancouver. It seems as every twenty-something can’t resist the Herschel Little America, a solid backpack constructed from canvas with leather straps and a big drawstring pouch—a bag that conjures up to a modern day fashion staple in this era. Lyndon and Jamie Cormack weren’t entirely new to the fashion retail business when they decided to found Herschel Supply Co. The Vancouver-based duo spent years as sales reps in lifestyle fashion before they launched their company in 2009.
Today, Herschel has not only been a success story in terms of numbers, but has achieved the kind of coveted youth-brand identity that can only be accomplished with a keen understanding of its consumer. And what really nailed Herschel’s success is that the retro boy scout/private school chic has worked on moms and kids too, securing it broader appeal and making it a hit with the back-to-school crowd as well. In the words of Herschel global marketing director, Mikey Scott, “They launched a brand instead of a product.” We sat down with Mikey to talk everything Herschel & what inspires the brand to date;
How do you obtain to the original mission/objective of Herschel and its historical roots dating back to the 1900’s?
To set the record straight, our brand is only 5 years old. The story of how Herschel Supply came to be stems from the tow town of Herschel, which has a population of 30 people and is located in Saskatchewan. In the early 1900’s, Peter Alexander Cormack traveled over to Canada with his wife Annie as part of the homestead program. Most recently, brothers Jamie and Lyndon Cormack named Herschel Supply Co after the town where three generations of Cormack’s were born and raised. Our goal is to create timeless product with fine regard for detail.
What do you find is your most unique product in this year’s lookbook or the most requested item you guys supply?
Honestly, I really like the new wallets that we’ve come out with. There’s so many to choose from and up until now, I’ve never really had a wallet that was my go to choice from an accessory brand. Of course there’s luxury brands that I used to really aspire to but in terms of a product that’s usable everyday and stylish enough to fit in anywhere, my everyday wallet would be the oxford pouch in black leather. We always get asked for the Little America backpack and our Novel Duffel bags. There are tons of colour options to choose from.
Are you working on any exclusive partnerships for new & unique products with other brands or companies?
Right now we are just about to launch our newest partnership with Clarks Originals. For the last two seasons we worked with New Balance and had lots of success with the models of shoes and boots that we designed. The newest partnership with Clarks is build on this success and offers a more contemporary take on classic Clarks Originals Desert boots and a new silhouette called the Vulco Guide boot. Working with such iconic brands is really humbling for a company like us because almost everyone in the office has grown up owning a pair of Clarks, I mean, who hasn’t right?
How does Vancouver inspire the brand?
With everything that Vancouver has to offer in such close proximity, we get inspired daily in each season of the year. Being able to travel the world and always come home to Vancouver, the brothers who started the company always come home with a fresh perspective on how lucky they are to live in Deep Cove and only be 20 feet from the water and 20 minutes from a spending time on great hike in the woods or sitting chairlift on a local ski hill. Vancouverites are really lucky to have lots at their fingertips to keep them inspired. It’s such a multicultural city filled with people from every corner of the planet. All of this diversity inspires our brand to be something for everyone on a global scale.
What are some Herschel essentials for a weekend getaway?
All you need for a weekend is a Little America filled with your daily items and Novel Duffel filled with a spare pair of gear for a hike, a dress shirt for a dinner and a Chapter Dopp Kit for all your bathroom essentials. If you can manage to match the bags, that’s always a plus. Being able to pack right instead of pack heavy will allow you to use what you need and have enough room to bring a little something home to remember the weekend with.
Where do you draw inspiration from in the design process with your most popular product, the backpack?
We’ve had success right from the beginning with backpacks but as we continue to grow as a company, so do our product lines. Its safe to say that we are learning from the success from our backpacks and duffel bags and expanding that knowledge into other categories like messengers, totes, luggage and wallets. We’re more of a lifestyle accessory brand as opposed to a backpack brand like many of the other brands in our space. Check our Instagram for a little view into more about our brand.
– Karli Fahlman