Story of the First River City Handbag
The story of the first RCL handbag happened in the fall of 2011, shortly after Aaron and Erin had just gotten married and were starting their life together. To hear their entire story, you can click here. But for now, back to the short version of the birth of the RCL handbag. The summer before they got married, Aaron had been in a motorcycle accident and couldn't work for about a year and a half.
During that time, he had moved to Ohio with Erin and picked up an interest in leatherworking. To not die of boredom, Aaron found a local shoe repair shop and begged to work for free. In exchange, he learned invaluable leatherworking skills. He set up a workshop in a spare bedroom of their home and a first few things Aaron made were a phone case, an axe sheath, and a bike basket.
Erin's birthday was coming up, and Aaron decided to make her something special. Recently, they had been out shopping when Erin saw a leather bag she loved. Even though they couldn't afford it at the time, Aaron remembered the bag and went to work in their spare bedroom designing the first ever River City Leather Tote! He used the leather and tools he had on hand to create a beautiful, one-of-a-kind gift for Erin. This is also when the first logo appeared for RCL.
October 2011 rolled around, and Aaron gifted the tote to Erin, which was a big hit. Of course, she loved it, and they posted some pictures online to celebrate! That came with a huge surprise from friends from near and far who saw the tote bag and asked for Aaron to make one for them. The totes that came to life were all unique, differing in shape, color, and size – based on individual requests.
With this new-found interest and inspiration, Aaron had recently been released (by his doctor) to work (from his motorcycle accident) and had taken a full-time job in the Auto Workers Union; RCL became his side hustle - which isn’t a side hustle anymore. As Interest grew so did the location, storefront and inventory to what we are today.