Handbag Engineers – Verbua

Once upon a time there was a world where it was pretty normal to order a custom-made, high quality handbag that would last forever and would probably be passed on for generations. These days, however, it is much more of a rare luxury. You don’t usually even find people who would design and create the leather handbag for you, since the specialised crafts like these are mostly forgotten. There are still some exceptions, however. Welcome to Verbua.

A little atelier and craft-shop in an old building in the heart of Bratislava hides a real leather craft heritage. Veronika and Bastien make the most beautiful, precisely  hand-crafted bags you can imagine and will make all your dreams come true. The price for their beautiful work is much higher than the H&M bags we’re used to, of course, but these are not the things that change every season or get damaged after a year. These are real style treasures, part of the (maybe future) family heirloom.

French Bastien came to Bratislava to study international relations, Veronika studied education and found a good job at AT&T. They were living their normal „millenial“ city lives when Bastien’s dad from France told them he’s planning to retire and give up his leather making workshop. Veronika and Bastien decided it was time for a change, packed their things and moved to France for 6 months to learn the craft from Bastien’s father himself. Looking at the dozens of different tools, machines, boxes of stuff and various kinds of leather, I feel like I’m in a different universe. It must feel overwhelming and amazing to anyone who’s seeing it for the first time, like a real time-travel experience. In the time when everyone is learning to code and move their businesses online, Veronika and Bastien learned how to work with leather, how to cut patterns, how to sew it all together, which tools to use and when… The whole old craft. When they were ready, they brought the whole century-old equipment of the workshop back to Bratislava and lauched their own new brand – Verbua. Although their work is extremely difficult and exhausting at times and they usually only manage to make 4-8 bags a month, they both agree they’ve never been happier. And you can just feel that when you visit their little shop.

Verbua creates handbags, satchels, clutches, every kind of bag you can imagine and if you want something extra special, they are more than happy to make your dreams come true. It’s surprising to hear that most of their customers are men, but then again, they take great care and pride in their leather accessories. Their leathers come from France and you can find all types of leather here, except for reptiles, since they don’t like the conditions the crocodiles live in (I can only relate to that). Verbua launched in 2013, but it already made it to Paris – Veronika and Bastien collaborate with a great Slovak luxury brand Nehera, which showcases its collections at Paris Fashion Week.

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