The Bag Family
A company that calls itself “aunts&uncles”? Doesn’t that sound a bit too retro or even uncool? Not at all; neither the products nor their makers are old hat. Indeed, if you visit the home of aunts&uncles in Neukirchen-Vluyn, you will quickly notice that the name is more than just calculated marketing. It stands for a pleasant family business that discovered a passion for handmade leather bags. aunts&uncles isn’t just a family business in the best sense on the inside; the bags and belts they create also become part of the extended family in the outside world. Just like aunts and uncles in real life, the bags by aunts&uncles have their own names and thus their own character too. Each bag is hand-made and hand-finished. As they are being used they develop their own unique character and tell every-day stories of friends, travel and difficult relatives.
The heart of the company is the Scheurer family. Four enthusiastic relatives and a friend of the family created aunts&uncles in Issum in 2004, with each doing their bit to get things off the ground. Their experience and previous activities came in very helpful: the father, Eckehard, worked as a sales representative in the leather goods sector for 40 years. 25 years ago, his son Sven joined the business, his daughter 5 years later, and a friend another 5 years later. Together they established several brands in North Rhine-Westphalia – and were so successful that the manufacturers at once started selling their brands again via their own cheaper employed personnel.
Sven’s wife Angelika finished her design studies at the Lower Rhine University of Applied Sciences in Krefeld in 1993. For her degree dissertation, Angelika Scheurer produced an analysis of market trends. The results of this analysis showed that people are discovering a new-found appreciation for old values such as family, honesty, and trust. The chaos of daily modern life is making people long for the good old times, peace and quiet to read a good book, clean nature and healthy food. The ever-increasing importance of sustainability, which also focuses on the next generation, also manifests itself in fashion for the five. They don’t want aunts&uncles products to be mass goods, or this season’s fashion accessory, they want them to accompany their owners for many years, ideally for life. For Angelika Scheurer, when it comes to design, the function and organization of the bags is just as important as appearance. The bags she designs are intended to accompany the users in their daily lives, like friends and confidants.
We all know the leather satchels from our youth, completely worn by the end, or the trainers that had to be made dirty before being worn for the first time. This used effect, which first conquered jeans fashion, has been introduced to the world of leather bags by aunts&uncles. The leather or the finished bags are worked on by hand to achieve this effect. The bags are made in small factories in India. A people-oriented and caring work environment as well as fair pay are fundamental requirements for aunts&uncles production. Hence, they are careful in selecting the companies they work with, companies that live up to these high standards.
They have told the story a thousand times of the Indian supplier who was sent off with designs and samples. His suitcase got lost without a trace on the flight from Europe to India. But he set about his work without his drawings and leather samples, with just his memory to aid him – and the result fully convinced the Scheurers. Today the long-standing Indian partners are part of the extended family. They go on holiday together once a year – like this year when they went fishing together at the Arctic Circle.
The aunts&uncles success story began in a garage in Issum, the Scheurers recall. From there they moved into a shop in Issum. The old butcher’s shop next door served as a bag warehouse. In January 2011 they were able to move into the new building in Neukirchen-Vluyn, which is more reminiscent of a loft than a company headquarters. In the beginning they planned to move into an historic old building, but the family decided on a new building made of wood, steel and concrete – simple and modern like the timeless bags. Even with the 20 employees, the company is still like a family. In the morning they often have breakfast together. Fruit trees with all sorts of fruit grow in the flowery meadow behind the storage hall – for the summer harvest.
Yet despite their love of the good old times, aunts&uncles has its finger on the pulse. Fans comment on the latest products on facebook, where they also exchange their experiences and offer their opinions.
The family of friends is growing constantly but in a controlled manner. After all, quality is one of the most important guiding principles of aunts&uncles and they aim to preserve this. Dealers in Germany, Austria, Switzerland as well as the Benelux and Scandinavia sell their bags. For the last six months the aunts&uncles collection has also been available in the USA and Canada in a few select, trendy stores.
Stand: Juli 2012
Aunts & Uncles
Tel. 02841 88227-0
Fax 02841 88227-60