Designer Lizzie Falkenstein of Primecut had us over to her North Portland home studio. Each leather bag is designed and hand sewn by Lizzie herself. The coloring and variation of each cowhide used is unique, which makes each Primecut bag extra special and one-of-a-kind. We chatted with Lizzie about the excitement and hardships of starting a brand as she sewed a bag from start to finish. She brands her zipper pulls with a mini branding iron and heat from her gas stove, we were impressed with her ingenuity and efficient production for such a young brand. Check out the photos and interview with Lizzie below!
1. Why Portland? What was it that drew you to Portland or has kept you here?
I grew up in Portland and have only lived elsewhere for short periods of time. Every time I leave my appreciation for Portland and the Pacific Northwest grows. I love being surrounded by people who share similar creative and active lifestyles. You can't beat the proximity of the outdoors as well as everything the city has to offer.
2. What are your favorite things happening in Portland (design or otherwise)?
The amazing network of creative minds. There are so many opportunities to collaborate!
3. How did your brand start?
Primecut started as a total accident. At the time I was running a different bag company and working in architecture. I had just purchased a heavy duty industrial sewing machine in hopes of expanding to heavier materials. I stumbled upon a beautiful scrap of cowhide on my first shopping trip for leather supplies and ended up making a bag for myself. It felt amazing to make something that I was personally in love with. I have used the same bag every day for the last two years and still get compliments and intriguing looks. I realized that if I was going run my own business as a living I wanted to make pieces for myself and like-minded people. Primecut is only a few months old but continues to grow everyday with the hopes of being a full-time gig in the near future.
4. What has been your biggest obstacle?
Definitely time. I work full-time as a designer and run Primecut during the evenings and weekends. It can be hard at times to dedicate the majority of your free time to your passion project when there are so many cool things going on all around you. In some weird way it might be a blessing in disguise though, having less time makes me prioritize what is most important.
5. Who are your design icon(s)?
I'm not sure if there is one particular designer that I look up to. I find a lot of inspiration through architecture, I love the way that materials can interact with each other and are formally expressed. To me great architecture is timeless through the use of clean lines and beautiful materials. I try to express these concepts in each of my bags with the hope that they will become timeless and well-loved pieces of any wardrobe.
6. What are your favorite things about Portland?
The defined seasons, food, and abundance of dogs.
7. What neighborhood describes you best?
My neighborhood, inner North Portland. It is still a little rough around the edges and has a blue-collar mentality. People work hard and know how to get shit done.
8. Your favorite thing about your workspace?
My workspace is in my basement which means that I get to make a huge mess and not have to look at it or clean it up until I want to.
9. Tell us two truths and a lie!
I hate karaoke
I don't eat meat
I am really good at lying
10. 5 things you can’t live without.
The color black