The Product Review: Satchel & Page Slim Mailbag

Editor’s note: For more product reviews covering excellent #menswear staples, head right this way.

Fit for the hills of Greece and the NYC commute, too: the Slim Mailbag from Satchel & Page.
Fit for the hills of Greece and the NYC commute, too: the Slim Mailbag from Satchel & Page.
As you go about improving your sense of style, it only makes sense that the details take on an added importance — as they should. Style upgrades in areas both big and small definitely contribute to a broader package in terms of your personal appearance. And there are a surprising number of companies allowing guys to get great quality for those upgrades while supporting up-and-coming brands (blog favorites like Pistol Lake and Apolis definitely fit this mold). Satchel & Page has certainly made a name for itself doing that, thanks to an initial Kickstarter run of simple yet handsome bags that raised nearly $230,000. The product focus has expanded since that time to include leather jackets and more, but its staple products — especially its well-known Slim Mailbag — are just as high-quality as ever.

I had the chance to chat via phone with founder Daniel Ralsky as I hopped on a plane to Michigan last month, and I had the good fortune to get my hands on the Slim Mailbag as I also hopped through Greece at the start of August (check out more on that trip here). And it’s proven every bit up to the challenge of navigating both international air (and ground) travel and the rigors of commuting in NYC. (Editor’s note: Before we dive in, although this bag is available right away, certain products — like the brand’s new line of belts — do fund via Kickstarter or the brand’s Web site).

Another shot from beautiful Santorini, Greece. The Slim Mailbag alongside a Goorin Brothers vintage ballcap.
Another shot from beautiful Santorini, Greece. The Slim Mailbag alongside a Goorin Brothers vintage ballcap.
The bag is, generally speaking, remarkably well-made and will absolutely only get better with age. It’s the type of piece I’m excited to get more use out of, because thanks to the excellent, rich leather, it should tell quite the unique story. Already, the patina is changing and actually looking all the better for it. It comes with a lifetime warranty and crucially, it feels like it could stand up to that test. The leather is thick yet not too stiff out of the box, ideal for a bag that was asked to do a lot right away, including lugging around my laptop and Issara leather laptop sleeve, plus various notebooks. Contained within the bag are also compartments for an iPhone, pens and business cards. The body of the bag itself has broken in remarkably well, a testament to the quality of the leather.

A closer look at some of the sturdy hardware on the Slim Mailbag.
A closer look at some of the sturdy hardware on the Slim Mailbag.
A leather shoulder strap rounds things out comfortably, and thankfully, it’s not at all tiresome to wear. The rest of the piece is quite remarkable in terms of quality. The 6-8 oz. rich brown, full-grain leather gets its rugged good looks from a hot stuffing method using oils and waxes — custom made by the company’s tannery, to boot. As you can see in the above photo, the bag is already beginning to take on unique nicks and scratches, which only make it look better (in my opinion). If you’re looking for a sleek, boardroom-ready briefcase, this isn’t the bag for you — but those who need something stylish, rugged and effective at carrying around the essentials will be more than happy to hear it stands up to the test. Note that this bag is three pounds, so it’s by no means a remarkably light carry if you only have a few items (say, not even a laptop).

A side-by-side look at the Slim Mailbag next to a slightly larger Kenneth Cole messenger bag.
 
But for those who like some history with their everyday carry, this bag’s got that, too — it’s inspired by the same style of bag carried by the U.S. Postal Service in the early 1900s, so it’s certainly up to a rigorous commute.  Officially as far as dimension go, the bag runs 11″ by 14.5″ wide by 4″ deep (so those with laptops running at 15″ should probably look to the brand’s larger, regular Mailbag). Hand-hammered copper rivets and antique brass hardware also lend the bag a lived-in look.

An in-depth look at the inside of this bag -- well-constructed and with just enough space for everything you might need.
An in-depth look at the inside of this bag — well-constructed and with just enough space for everything you might need. Photo courtesy of Satchel & Page.
Like some of the brand’s other products, this bag isn’t cheap up front, but it’s certainly durable and long-lasting enough to justify the price. Note that the relatively similar-in-looks Montague Leather Satchel from J. Crew retails for about $100 — if you can’t pony up the cash right now, that’d provide a slightly flashier approximation. It isn’t, however, the decidedly more casual waxed canvas and leather laptop bag that J. Crew also sells, which goes for just under $100. Yes, Satchel & Page’s Slim Mailbag provides both more sophistication and higher-quality leather and hardware than its peers in the market (although Navali’s Mainstay Messenger Bag would be worth your time as well if an in-between option was needed).  

Greats
Not all will find Satchel & Page’s rugged bag appropriate for their commute or their office, or with enough space to lug everything around, but the durability and quality combination is to be commended. The leather is rich and durable, the fastenings and hardware are sturdy, and the space is, for my needs, more than adequate. It’s the type of bag that looks great now and will absolutely improve down the line — hopefully, in both looks and performance.
Ben Sherman US

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14 thoughts on “The Product Review: Satchel & Page Slim Mailbag

  1. Satchel and Page. Avoid them. I “pre-ordered” their Pilot’s Bag. The leather looked nothing like their site’s photo. Their pic had a nice smooth, deep finish, satin patina, variegated color. The bag they shipped me? Muddy singular-tone flat, brown finish, absolutely reeked of formaldehyde. I challenge their assertion of “vegetable tanned.”

    When I tried to return it, they at first refused, claiming their site said it’s not returnable. Turns out their site doesn’t say what they think it does and they agreed to accept a return. Then they gave me an incorrect return-shipping address, refused to give me the corrected one, instead insisted that the package be “intercepted”, adding a week to the shipping time, delaying my refund.

    They are a joke, bunch of crowd-funded hipster doofuses who don’t have a clue.

    1. Thanks for weighing in. Sorry to hear you had that experience with the brand. I clearly had a different one — crowdfunding and the initial run of a product can sometimes be tricky to nail down, I will say that.

  2. I just saw these guys at Pop Up Flea. Beautiful stuff. I walked out with a Mailbag and Bomber jacket. The quality of leather is phenomenal, especially at their price point. Super nice guys as well. Expect to see big things from this brand in the years to come.

    1. Hey Tyler — glad to hear you checked out PUF! I didn’t get a chance to stop by this year. I’ve been really pleased with their product, and I’m sure you’ll be as well. Let me know how you enjoy it, and thanks for reading!

  3. Dealing with negative reviews is something pretty much any online business has to deal with at some point. In 4 years of business, this is the first customer (user Mad Max above who has posted this review on several websites) who attempted to defraud Satchel & Page, so it’s no surprise this customer is now spreading falsehoods about our company online.

    Without getting too much in the details, let us just say this:

    • Our legal team has a file with all correspondence and information regarding this customer.

    • We never refused a refund for this customer. When this customer requested a refund, our customer service agent stated that he needed managerial approval to make an exception to our standard return policy, because the product this customer purchase was clearly non-refundable. About 1 week after this customer first contacted us, we approved an exception to our policy and proceeded with a return. At no point did we ever reject the customer’s return request. We’re not going to flood this message board with screenshots of our archived website, but for anyone who would like to see what our policies and website looked like on September 19, 2016 (about 1.5 months before the customer purchased) the links are below. That is the closest archived date before the customer’s purchase that we were able to pull up. Although the policy was clear to most everyone who ever preordered an item from us, we have since simplified the policy wording so there is absolutely no room for misinterpretation on our policy with Pre-Sale items:

    Return Policy: https://web.archive.org/web/20160828151908/http://www.satchel-page.com/pages/shipping

    Product Page: https://web.archive.org/web/20160920073423/http://www.satchel-page.com/products/pilot?
    (note the green crowd-funding status bar)

    • During the return process, the customer opened a PayPal Fraud Protection case (#PP-005-284-285-587) against us. The customer’s first proposal to resolve the case through PayPal is below:
    To resolve the case, the customer requested a partial refund of $200 of the $445 he paid, and for him to keep the bag. Essentially, he attempted to use PayPal Fraud Protection to gain a 45% discount on the bag. If the leather quality was as poor as the customer states, it’s strange he would still be willing to pay $245 for the bag.

    • This proposal by the customer essentially amounts to fraud. And when we obviously refused his proposal, the customer became more hostile and threatening.

    • While the bag was in transit back to us, the customer elevated his threats and demands. At this point, we brought in our legal team in and stopped direct communication with the customer. Here is the customer’s threat (this is after the return was approved and the bag was in transit back to us):
    “Here’s my offer now: Refund ALL the money I’ve spent, including my return shipping charges of $35 and an additional $100 to compensate me for the time I’ve wasted trying to deal with these issues. That’s a total of $570.Short of your acceptance of my offer here I will be asking for participation in the resolution of this issue from both the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs and the AG of New York State.”

    Link to screenshot of the customer’s attempted extortion:
    https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0072/8702/files/paypal_case.png?7322094019956476446

    Again, just to be clear, this is extortion.

    • There was a mixup with the shipping address, which was completely our fault. We immediately resolved it with USPS and explained that to the customer before his extortion attempt. We incurred a $24.93 expense from USPS for our mistake. The bag was originally scheduled to arrive to us on December 8th, but due to our mistake it arrived to us on December 10th. The refund for the customer was processed on December 11th.

    Probably everyone has purchased something online that they decided to return. Most people with fair intentions simply return the product and move on. I’m not sure of the exact motives or intentions of this customer. I will say that most reasonable people with fair intentions would probably not open a PayPal Fraud case in order to get a 45% discount on the product, then later threaten action by the Attorney General of New York if he is not financially compensated with $135 in excess of the refund amount.

    There are many leather companies online to choose from and we’re not trying to sell anything to anyone here. When someone attempts to defraud our business, and then spreads falsehoods on the internet in attempt to damage our business, we will always rightfully defend ourselves.

    For anyone interested in reading numerous, non-biased reviews from customers who didn’t attempt to extort us, you can visit the below links to our 4 past crowdfunding campaigns with support from 1,969 customers combined:

    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/168453096/simply-the-highest-quality-belt-guaranteed-for-lif/comments
    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/168453096/satchel-and-page-calf-leather-and-waxed-cotton-jac/comments
    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/168453096/satchel-and-page-leather-bags-guaranteed-for-life/comments

    Thanks for your time in reading this. We did not mean to hijack this blog post, and out of respect for your community, we will not be commenting further.

    Respectfully,

    Satchel & Page

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