Boarding Pass is known for our famous luggage tags. Stamped by hand, there is something amazing about seeing your name on something so permanent.
I spotted them after a friend sent me one. I asked for one right away. The moment it showed up in my mailbox, I was amazed. It was my name. Hand stamped. Something very permanent. And of course, your name is the most important word in the English language. It was very...personal.
We released the product, and started to sell a few at a time. We got a little bit of press from smaller websites and blogs — and we were having difficulty keeping up with the demand.
Then, in 2012, an editor from GQ Magazine called. His name was Mark Byrne. He said he really liked the tags, and asked for one that he could put in the magazine's December issue. Amazing, because I'd been reading GQ since I was in high school.
The magazine dropped first in Europe for some reason — we got a call just before Thanksgiving from someone who saw us in GQ and sent us a high-rez shot of magazine, about one week before it hit the stands in the U.S.
That holiday, we sold around 2,000 pairs. I was up for four days straight trying to manage, and I lost 14 pounds from lack of eating and lack of sleep.
But then, a funny thing happened. That same holiday, The New York Times and then Vanity Fair and New York Magazine wrote about them. All in the space of a few weeks. We brought in a team to try and teach them quickly, but ultimately it was a lesson in demand management. And, we failed. We now have a very strict cap on our production around the holiday period. When they are sold out, they are sold out. And, they sell out usually by around December 2.
Today, and since the very beginning, we use vegetable tanned leather from Wickett & Craig, one of the oldest operating tanneries in the U.S. The leather comes to us large sheets, which we then cut up into smaller, luggage tag sized pieces. We use an 16-ton press to cut the leather with a very, very sharp cutting die. Two at a time (it used to be one at a time but we got wiser). They are debossed with tools, by hand, and hand painted. They are impossible to replicate. It is just literally impossible to match the consistency by which our makers craft this product.
These days, our famous luggage tags are still hand-crafted, meticulously, one by one, and adorn luggage around the world—to the extent people are still traveling!