Tell us about your business.Craftsmanship runs in the family of TM1985 founder Tielor McBride. McBride's great-great-grandfather Christen Hansen, who immigrated to the States from Denmark, owned his own horse tack and boot shop in 1922. Eighty years later, McBride, born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, took his Midwestern roots to New York. He worked as a window designer at Polo Ralph Lauren, in charge of retail development and visual merchandising. Looking for more creative independence and an opportunity to create products with integrity, McBride started TM1985. He made the first roll-top backpack in 2010 and bag production led to wallets, travel accessories and more. In the future, TM1985 will grow to incorporate outerwear denim, and, later, furniture and lighting, to complete the full vision of a lifestyle brand.
What makes your business stand out?Utility and functionality are the prime motivators. Every bag we carry came from something I’ve made for myself. Different activities have different needs and call for something specialized: hiking trips in Nicaragua, schlepping fabric around the Garment District, trips to the farmers’ market. I love problem solving, and this is the most tangible way to do it. I see TM1985 becoming a strong leader in the renewal of American manufacturing and resurgence of quality-made dry goods. Producing locally not only supports the economy, it makes logistical sense. I’m a practical man, I need to hold something in my hand to know it’s good. I like being able to visit the family-owned factory to chat with the owner and witness every part of the process - it's gratifying. As we've grown, we have kept our integrity by producing locally. I see TM1985 as a pioneer in scaling up the cottage "maker" industry to be sustainable, strengthening local manufacturers and creating lasting jobs.
What's the best business advice you've received?My approach to design and selling accessories with integrity stems from something I read a long time ago: it's not what you're selling, it's why you're selling it. I don't sell just bags: I make things to help people get around. Bags help you get places and allow you to carry more than you can hold in your hands. They say the hand axe was man’s oldest tool, which it might be, but how did he carry it in on his way home? Probably a bag… I think both about the product I sell and how it will be useful to someone who buys it. But at the end of the day, it's the "why" more than than the "what" -- that's always stuck with me.
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