BERLIN — German connoisseurs of understatement bags have a new source: Men’s accessory line Property Of… opened its first location in the country this fall in Hamburg.
The Property Of… concept lets buyers add their own name or initials to their bags, rather than carrying some other guy’s moniker — like Marc Jacobs’ or Tom Ford’s. The brand launched in 2006 with an alternative to the classic leather briefcase, then quickly added to the assortment.
Property Of… now has flagships in Singapore and Amsterdam — the latter being where the company honed its mission to present refined yet relaxed work bags in a café atmosphere, complete with freshly brewed coffee from small roasters, such as Portland, Ore.’s Stumptown, and Hamburg’s Mr. Hoban.
Designers and cofounders Peter Teo and Richard Chamberlain also run the PS.Gourmet restaurant group in Singapore. Property Of… opened its Netherlands-based flagship in 2011, then set its sights on broadening its range and reach in Europe, one cup at a time.
“We wanted to create a space where we could get to know the customer and where the customer could get to know the brand — a space where you could sit down, chat for a while and take it easy,” explained the head of European sales, Hendrik Stroscher. “We felt that just placing an espresso machine in a regular shop was not enough. In order to get the cozy feeling of a café, we actually had to turn the store into a café.”
Expansion was also a matter of finding the right real estate, and Germany was a given, thanks to the brand’s many fans here. Berlin, Munich and Cologne were on the watch list, but the perfect location was found just outside Hamburg’s Hanse-Viertel shopping area, nestled between Timberland and Red Wing Shoes.
Waxed canvas, denims and heavy-duty nylons are prevalent, along with vegetable-tanned leather trim, solid hardware and subtle details. At the time of purchase, whether online or in-store, each Property Of… bag receives a custom-embossed ID tag.
The brand’s work bags range from 149 to 499 euros ($189 to $633), backpacks from 89 to 339 euros ($113 to $430) and wallets from 59 to 159 euros ($75 to $202). It launched a small women’s range in 2013.
With tiled walls, warm wood floors, chalkboard signs and lived-in classic furniture, the Property Of… store also carries accessories such as tablet and phone cases; luggage tags; a selection of magazines, including Fantastic Man and Apartamento; watches from Britain’s Uniform Wares, the Netherlands’ Fromanteel and Sweden’s Daniel Wellington; Midori stationery from Japan and Monkey 47 Gin from Germany. Coffee drinks are gratis, but guests are invited to donate to a local charity.
Property Of… bags and accessories have also been sold by retailers, including De Bijenkorf in the Netherlands and John Lewis in the U.K. But Stroscher said Property Of… is moving away from wholesale and, to get its name out there, focusing on retail in its own stores and online.