In Berlin, in the Manufaktur of fine leather goods company Munk Bogballe, experienced craftsmen combine the best of traditional, German quality craftsmanship with the distinctive classical elegance of Danish design to create products of the finest quality.
For those who have not heard of Munk Bogballe yet, could you tell us what you do?
Munk Bogballe is a small, family-run luxury company based in Berlin that handmakes fine business accessories of worldclass ox leather from South Germany.
When you say business accessories, what do you mean?
Our signature product is our business bag but we are gradually adding to that so now we also do cases for telephones, iPads and credit cards.
Why not travel bags, wallets, keyrings and so on?
We are obesessed with quality, design, detail and usability and since it takes a good while to perfect the balance and translate it into the right expression, we take it one step at the time. Or rather, one product at the time. We have been practicing for a while on a number of new products, though, and they will be coming out this autumn.
Can you tell us what we can look forward to?
Well, the first new things we will introduce are a women’s purse and a tote bag.
With more to follow?
Certainly. But we will not rush into enlarging our collection.
So customers who need, say, a briefcase or a travel bag now and like your design and approach will have to wait? Or shop elsewhere?
Luckily, they do not! We have a bespoke service where we tailor-make pieces. So should someone wish for a product that is not on our website yet all they have to do is to contact us. Then we will develop a design and make their dream item in our workshop.
You explicitly mention that you source your leather from South Germany. Why is that important?
It is a question of quality and sustainability, really. We want the best and the best leather comes from there. The supply chain is very transparent and we can see how healthy cows, environmentally friendly tanning done by tanners with decades of experience enable the production of fantastically soft and durable leather.
And what about the cost? Surely, it must be more expensive to buy German leather and to produce in Berlin than to produce in Turkey or Bangladesh.
It would be wrong to say that we do not care about cost. Any company must. However, to us what matters most is quality and heritage. I always say that you get where you source from.
What do you mean?
In Berlin luxury leather craftsmanship has a history of more than a hundred years and our bag makers are extremely passionate and proud of their work and of being part of a company that is seeking to reinvigorate and safeguard the craftsmanship tradition. We don’t cut corners like many of the big luxury brands that have already moved their production out of Europe and made compromises on the leather they use.
Who are your customers?
People who appreciate quality and design. They come from many sectors. Banking, architecture, entrepreneurship, consulting, marketing, journalism. Or politics, like Joachim Gauck and Obama.
Final question: What is your goal?
It is easy to change the world but very hard to improve it. We want to inspire people to do the latter. When you feel and smell the soft leather in your hand on your way to work or simply look at your bag and take in its beauty, it means something. It makes you happy. Our hope is that that happiness
can help inspire our customers to achieve their goals and thus make the world better. Not just different.
An interview with David Munk-Bogballe, the company’s founder and director | PHOTOS: MUNK BOGBALLE