By Tallulah Dumonde
After a super comforting Dixie Eggs brunch (complete with grits) this past weekend, I stumbled upon my find of the season. There it was…soft, supple, and the most beautiful shade of turquoise I’ve ever seen that didn’t come from Persia.
Without a moment’s hesitation I made a b-line for the door. When I stepped through, passing under the sign that read Village Tannery, I immediately realized, this isn’t your average bag shop. There were greens and pinks and all shapes and sizes of the finest quality leather bags. No logos, no status symbol padlocks or embossed lettering, just impeccable craftsmanship.
Memo, part owner of the shop, came out and greeted me with a huge, affectuous smile. He encouraged me to pick up the bags, feel the leather, inspect the workmanship. Yeah, he knew I had my eye on the turquoise tote. He explained that he buys top of the line pelts in every color (the turquoise is one of a kind girls, so don’t even think about it). You can then choose your color, your design, your pattern…any different color trim you like, even the lining is custom made to your specifications. I knew the price tag was going to send me for a loop. Wrong!
Memo and his partner have two locations. The Bleecker Street store has been open since 1973, and this shop on Great Jones (just off of Broadway) has been open since August, when they moved their shop of 15 years, from Astor Place.
My conversation with Memo revealed even more positives. He educated me on different types and grades of leather and pointed out which ones work best for different bag styles. He advised me that he could remake any bag you have. For example, say you inherited this great envelope and you want another one in red. Simply bring it by and Memo and the gang will hand pick your red leather for you and, upon your approval, give new life to the beloved design. Typically, the turn around time on a custom bag is 1-2 weeks but they have been known to work all night like cobbler’s elves and turn out special pieces in 2 days.
If you’re still reading, after all this, and not in a cab headed down Broadway, just let me finish with this: There is a lifetime guarantee on every bag. Yep, every part of the bag is guaranteed. You break a zipper; they repair or replace it. That ought to be just enough to have you bag girls out there Finding Memo.
Village Tannery Locations:
7 Great Jones (between Broadway & Lafayette)
173 Bleecker St