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Meet the brand - Sandqvist

Anton-Sandqvist-bags

Sandqvist is the story about the engineer who got tired of his regular office job, made his own bag and now is selling them via over 500 retailers all over the world.

By Henrik Malmberg | Interview

If Hollywood would made the same amount of movies about fashion as they produces rom coms the story about Sandqvist could be a classic. With a few reservations it has a perfect storyline for a fashion movie. Regular guy gets tired of his big, grey office job, quits his job and goes chasing his dream and catches it. This is pretty much the story on how to bag brand Sandqvist were born. So we had a chat with the founder, Anton Sandqvist, if this was actually the way it happened or if there are som flaws to this fairy tale story.

How tough was it really, to start a brand from scratch, were you ever doubting yourself on what you hade getting yourself in to?

– I had quiet a lot of doubt actually. Mainly because it took that a while before I could live of the business. I started it in 2004 and it wasn’t until 2010 I was able to take out my first pay.

How someone can afford leaving his day job, start something of his own and not getting paid for six years is because Anton Sandqvist didn’t immediately quit his job and started chasing his dream. When Anton left his well-paid job as a engineer at Toshiba he just left it half way. So three days a week he was still at Toshiba, the other two at home sewing and working on his dream.

"If you are a Dressman-customer, you are probably not a Sandqvist-customer."

Eventually Anton did leave Toshiba fully and went all in on his own brand and company.

– I never doubted that this is what I wanted to do and never really on whether or not I would succeed doing it. I got the feeling right from the get go that this was probably gonna work out. The hardest part of it was to quit my well-paid job with the knowing that from now one I would have to cut my pay in half, if not more. Then try to make the everyday life float with just half of your income.

But you never doubted about the idea, about the bags?

– Well, sometimes I did but quiet early on I got the sense that I had found something here, a nische. The competition wasn’t to big, the bags sold quit well och most of all, people were interested in buying our products. It was more about reaching out to sufficient number of retailers and customers to make a living of it.


How did you do that?

– When I started I had no idea how that kind of things worked. So I just went from store to store, or called them. I went to stores that sold brands I liked and I thought would go well with my bags. It was very hands-on at first but I soon learned that in the fashion industry all the buyers go to sort of fashion weeks where they meet the brands. This whole process was very much learn by doing for my and I learn’t a lot of it.

The first Sandqvist bag

Even though this learn-by-doing-process was long for Anton and his brand it help build the brand Sandqvist. This slow and stick to your thing type of approach to his work is one of the brands biggest strengths claim Anton.

– We’ve always been consistent, we didn’t start making T-shirts just because that would be fun. We been hammering and grinding our own way and I think thats a good thing as the world picks up things slowly. It takes time for people to realize ”aha, that exists and it looks like that” and if you change your look or what it might be the brand will not stick with people.

 

To succeed with what Anton have, his bags are currently being sold through over 500 retailers all over the world, you have to have one special ingrediens, besides the idea and the hard work. That's timing.

– Very much timing. When I started selling the first bags there were not to many specified bag brands. You had the luxury brands like Louis Vitton and then you had these cheap bags with no sense of style och fashion at all.

 

And that’s were Sandqvist fits in. Right between the luxurious, exclusive brands and the cheaper ones who had put more effort on function rather then design. Sandqvist is for the person who likes quality, a simplicity in the products and a clean esthetics. Or as Anton would put it:

– If you are a Dressman-customer, you are probably not a Sandqvist-customer.

 

The success of Sandqvist hasn’t gotten to Antons head or is not even something he thinks about on a daily basis.

– You work with this everyday and get sort of blind to flaws at home. First when someone points at the fact of how many retailers we have right now that you actually stop for a second and think: ”Thats right, and thats surreal.”

 

Although Anton has a come a long way with his brand and company hes not satisfied. He has a dream goal his aiming for.

– If you’re a part of our customer group, no matter where in the world and thinks ”I need a new bag”, we want to be top of mind for that person. I am aware that it's a long way to get there but thats our vision at least.

 

Anton Sandqvist 5 favoritväskor

1. Hans
It's a personal favorite that I use both to work and out in the nature. It's great for basically every work related issue and has a computer pocket in the back. It's robust construction and hardy material makes it ideal for shorter day trips in the mountains or out in the woods. Match it with this outfit.

2. Mickel
A nice and clean toilet bag, which every man needs, and our Mickel is a classic.

3. Floyd
Floyd got it's name from the legendary heavy weight fighter, Floyd Patterson. A great bag for the gym in other words.
4. Kim
Kim is the perfect backpack for work. Clean, simple and the computer lies perfectly in it. Kim is made in a new, and lighter material (polycotton) in our new series, Ground. Ground is the step-in-series of Sandqvist which means still great bags but to a even better price.

5. Stig
Stig is the super classic of Sandqvist. It's been with us since 2010 and is still going strong. A simple and good back pack with the characteristic closing.

 

 

SHOP SANDQVIST - CLICK HERE

 

 

Sandqvist store

 

Facts about Sandqvist

 

Founded: 2004
Head office: Stockholm, Brännkyrkagatan
Employees: 14
Revenue 2014: 5 millions USD
Known for: Clean and a Scandinavian expression made with great quality that stands the test of time.
Favorite piece: Their backpacks. They are robust, clean and ages well.