Oliver Cabell bag
Minneapolis-based accessories brand Oliver Cabell launches today, with some smart-looking bags, and a mission to disrupt the luxury fashion business, which is known to mark up products as much as 10 to 20 times what they cost to make.
Founder and CEO Scott Gabrielson says he got interested in the manufacturing industry after the 2013 Rana Plaza Building collapse in Bangladesh, which killed 1,130 workers. A North Dakota native, Gabrielson enrolled in a master’s program at the University of Oxford where he focused his studies on the evolution of the fashion industry.
He graduated with a plan to create an “honest alternative,” by partnering directly with factories and promoting responsible manufacturing.
Produced in the same Italian factories that churn out bags that retail for $1,200, Oliver Cabell bags sell for $240 to $285. The line is launching with a laptop backpack and a weekender bag, in black or beige with leather details. I’ve yet to see them in person—from images, the bags look elegant and professional. But no doubt what’s most interesting about this brand is its transparency. You can read online about the cotton mill, leather tannery and factory that helped build each bag. Does that matter to consumers? Will they pay a little extra for repsonsible manufacturing? I think so—as long as the product is desireable: well designed and high quality.
“Consumers will be able to see exactly where their products are being made, in what factories, the cost that goes into it (labor, materials, etc), as well as our mark up,” Gabrielson says. He's just getting started. Gabrielson is already planning to start expanding his team on the ground in the Twin Cities. olivercabell.com