Interview: Breaking In A New Brand With Cavalier Essentials

We get to know Taylor Pemberton, the man behind the leather goods and vintage pieces that make up Cavailer Essentials.

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Earlier this year we introduced you to Taylor Pemberton, a young creative who presented a line of carefully crafted goods as an industrial art concept called Cavalier Essentials. In that project, he sought to present the types of items he thought cinematic idol Steve McQueen would carry with him while living on the road out of a beat-up duffle bag.

Now, the line has gone from just a concept to a full made-to-order e-commerce site. In addition to leather goods, Cavalier Essentials also carries grooming products and other men's furnishings like flasks and lighters. We caught up with Taylor Pemberton to see how things have changed in the past few months.

Initially the concept behind Cavalier Essentials was the products Steve McQueen would use if he "carried a beat-up leather duffle bag on the back of his motorcycle." Has this changed when you went from concept to commerce?

The initial concept for Cavalier is very consistent with where the brand is now. The vision was clear and simple at the beginning, and we have every intention to keep building along a solid foundation. Following our "hit the road and live" concept, Steve McQueen was a very good character to accompany the brand and lifestyle. Everything came to fruition in the last two months or so. It's been great experiencing the constraints and solutions you must come up with when transitioning into actual commerce. We like to believe that while things will update and change as we move forward, our values will stay consistently solid. 

What kind of guy is the Cavalier Essentials man?

The Cavalier man is someone who does what they love. He possesses an understated confidence and desire to build character. The Cavalier man is always moving forward, and growing alongside those who are close to him.

What thought process goes into the leather goods you make?

I like to make things that speak for themselves. Much of my design direction is very minimal, functional, and straight forward. The leather we're using is beautiful, and I would never want to tarnish that with decorative elements. Everything in the leather production is very considered, not only for aesthetic reasons, but also functional and ergonomic reasons.

Duffle bags are an interesting choice to produce, what drew you to this particular accessory?

I see a lot of people making backpacks, briefcases, and messenger bags, but I don't see many custom-made duffle bags. Our duffle is very different than most in regards to production and design. We have two small pockets on the inside, and decided to leave the outside bare — to focus on the beautiful materials and leather aging qualities that follow. It's a powerful product to say the least.

What would you say sets Cavalier Essentials apart from other companies producing similar goods?

I think there are a lot of brands doing some incredible things. I have several friends who are making and curating an immense quality of standard that is hard to follow. That being said, I think there are a few very important reasons on why Cavalier's original products are different.

One of the most important reasons is the production. Our leather goods are made-to-order, meaning we offer the ability for slight customization. Also, since our products are made by hand, we can absolutely ensure that what you receive is one-of-a-kind. For instance, we may sell our wallet to two different people, but each wallet possesses its own unique irregularities that make it truly personal. In addition, each product will age slightly different than the other, making it a valuable keepsake that can be passed on for years to come.

What motivated you to start the Online Flea section of your site, and where do you source these products?

I've always loved exploring unknown thrift stores and flea markets. I attribute most of it to my curiosity and love for learning. The Online Flea was an obvious extension as it brought our collective vintage interests to an entirely new context. It's one-part curation, one-part exploration, and two-parts presentation. We see it as an opportunity that will allow us to find products and consumers that share an appreciation for quality goods. Also, we're able to see a history of products that once cycled through the Cavalier archives — meaning we get to not only develop an understanding for such products, but also pass them on to a more-deserving recipient.

Check out Cavalier Essentials.

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