What are your briefcases made from?We
use cowhides of varying color, texture, weight and finish. We have
thousands of sides of leather in inventory and regularly purchase special
leathers for briefcase exteriors. Everything on our bag is made from
leather with the exception of the hardware. We make our own binding,
handles, straps, key holders, etc... The exterior of a case needs to be made from leather that is carefully selected for durability, weight and aesthetic quality.
Where does your leather come from?We have acquired leather from different tanneries around the world but most of our favorite
briefcase leathers come from the Midwest. Our premium briefcase leathers come from Horween tannery in Chicago.
How should I take care of my briefcase? That depends upon the
leather. Some leather needs to be oiled or conditioned periodically,
while other leathers are impregnated with a lot of oil or have a waxy
finish and don't need any special care at all. "Naked" leathers, those
without any finish, are more delicate and prone to being spotted or
stained, while leathers with a finish will resist staining. Your best
bet is to ask us how to care for your particular briefcase.
What if my briefcase breaks?We will try to fix any Mitchell briefcase for free, for life, to the original owner if we can
(if you run it over with your car or start it on fire, there isn't much
we can do). There are times where a problem just can't be fixed, but
we have gone to great lengths to make our briefcase extremely durable.
Should you encounter a problem, just let us know and we'll do our best
to take care of it.
Why don't you use "easy access" closures instead of buckles on your
Classic model briefcase? I see many other briefcases that have these
quicker closures hidden underneath a faux buckle. We have tried
literally every kind of closure known to man over the last 30 years.
For a while we offered our Classic case with combination locks and other
heavy duty push-button closures. Over time some of them would break
because the entire weight of the bag is pulling on that mechanism when
you carry it with the handle. We eventually decided that the buckle is
the only indestructible closure. Some people think the buckles are too
time consuming to open and close, and for those people we recommend our
Messenger briefcase which uses magnets for quick and easy access (which
we can safely do because there is no handle to lift the bag from). My
father would say, "why are you in such a hurry?" But we also believe
that once you know the proper way to open and close the buckles and you
do it a few times, it becomes quick and easy too.
Why doesn’t the Messenger bag have a handle? Because the handle would pull open the magnets every time you lift the bag. We designed the Messenger as an alternative to the Classic which has our patented handle and real buckles, but in exchange for quick access you lose the handle.
Can you customize a briefcase for me?Yes we can within the context of our available styles (Classic, Compact Classic, Messenger, and Document).
You can tell us what color and type of leather you want for the
exterior, interior, binding and trim. We can also customize certain
aspects of the inside of the case; things like adding a pocket to fit
your iPad or other special need. Our designs have evolved over the
years to be as durable and functional as possible, so they are what we
make. We don't typically do one-off designs because they would be
extremely time consuming and cost prohibitive, not to mention unreliable
and untested. So we cannot modify the basic structure of any of our cases and do things like adding gussets or changing the height, width or depth.
I want a briefcase that looks perfect, no marks etc... Well then
leather is not what you're looking for, at least not full grain
leather. You might be better off getting a bag made from synthetic
materials or corrected top grain leather (re-finished to cover the
animal marks). We use mostly natural full grain leather and yes, that
means that you will see lines and scratches and other "imperfections"
because the hide came from an animal. We try to incorporate the "good"
marks in artistic ways on the most visible areas of the bag and minimize
the visibility of the imperfections. Personally I prefer when a
briefcase has more natural character visible on the front of the bag,
but everyone is different. We can always work with you to ensure that
your briefcase reflects your taste.
I just put a big scratch in my new briefcase. What should I do? That
depends. Some leather gets scratched very easily and other leather is
much more resistant to scratches because of a heavy finish. The bags
that tend to scratch easily can sometimes have marks rubbed out or
minimized, but these leathers tend to look great as they collect more
marks and age. It's kind of like a favorite old baseball glove or
bomber jacket, they develop character. The leathers that are intended
to stay more pristine can sometimes have stain applied to minimize a
scratch. Each leather is unique. Generally, a briefcase is meant to be
used and will gather scars over the years, so try not to get too
worried when a new mark appears.
Do your briefcases hold a laptop or netbook computer?Yes they
do. The basic dimensions of our three main cases are approximately 16.5
by 11 inches, which will accommodate most 16" (or 15.4) and smaller
laptop computers. We can also design your bag with a custom leather
insert that acts as a divider and will separate the middle compartment
to provide a snug fit for your computer.
I would like to order one of your cases without a logo on the exterior. Is that possible? Sorry but we do not offer any of our cases without a logo on the exterior, nor will we relocate the location of the logo to any other part of the bag. You can however ask for our smallest minimalist wallet-sized logo on any case. Our wallets, valet trays and other accessories are all available without a logo.
Mitchell Innovations and Patents
My father, Jerry Mitchell, was obsessed with solving problems,
especially when it came to the critical support areas of a briefcase.
There are two places where every briefcase is most likely to fail: 1)
the two points at which the handle connects to the top of the bag and 2)
the two strap holders which are stitched and/or riveted onto the side
or back of the bag. We address these two "problem" areas in ways that
no one else has before or since.
First, is our patented Modular Handle with Integrated Frame.
Instead of attaching the handle to leather at two points as is commonly
done with a stitched and riveted technique, our handle is screwed
through a long steel plate that is sewn in between two layers of leather
and stretches across the entire width of the top flap of the bag. The
purpose of this is to transfer the stress from two small points in the
leather to the entire long steel plate. Whatever weight is being
carried by the handle, is spread evenly across the entire width of the
steel plate. In order to prevent the steel from hurting the leather by
cutting through it over time, we make special leather "pouches" that are
fitted around the ends of the plate to encapsulate the edges. Also,
because the handle is screwed through the steel bar and two layers of
leather, if something were to go wrong with the handle, it can be
replaced in a matter of minutes.
Second is our patented Resistance Pouch. Unlike most bags where
stitches and/or rivets have to carry the entire weight of the briefcase,
ours has two pieces of Velcro stitched into a pouch that forms our
strap holder. When tension is applied to this pouch, the force is
spread across the entire surface area which includes the Velcro. By
trapping the Velcro in place inside the pouch, much of the force is
dissipated as the two opposing pieces of material (hook and loop) try to
move in opposite directions but cannot. This technique has been so
successful that customers who carry a lot of weight in their bag for
many years actually wear through the solid brass hardware instead of the
leather and the stitches! When this happens we can quickly install new
hardware at no charge.
Other things we do to make our Briefcases better...
We use four leather trimmed solid brass feet to protect the bottom of
the bag from wear and provide a nice additional detail to the appearance
of the case.
We stitch the entire bag twice. First the bag is assembled and stitched
to lock the structure in place. Then binding is applied which provides
a second layer of stitching and a finished and aesthetically more
pleasing look than rough exposed edges.
We stain any and all visible leather edges on the inside, outside and strap of the bag.
We make our own straps, binding, handles, pockets, lining, etc... from
scratch and use the same leathers that we use to make the rest of the
We make our own shoulder pad (improved as of 2009) that uses three
layers of leather for maximum comfort when carrying a heavy load.
We do not rely on rivets alone (which have a tendency to eventually tear
leather) in any of the critical stress points on our briefcases or
We use double layered leather on our straps for exceptional durability
(they are actually much tougher than the metal hardware) and have an
elegant finished look.
How many cards can your money clip wallet hold? Anywhere from as few as 4 (1 per slot) to as many as a maximum of about 10 to 12 cards. I generally have about 8 to 10 cards in my wallet every day with 1 in each of the lower slots and 3 to 4 in each top slot. See the video "Taking a Closer Look at the Money Clip Wallet" at the bottom of our video page.
How does your money clip wallet compare to other similar looking ones I've seen? While it may look similar it's quite different. Our hardware is specially sourced from North America and is far superior to the Chinese made versions that everyone else uses. The spring clip has no moving parts and is custom made for us by a local manufacturer in Grafton Wisconsin. We also take great pride in our leather and are as careful selecting hides for our wallets as we are with our briefcases. The design has continuously evolved over decades and has benefited from constant improvements.
Can I order the wallet without the logo? Yes
Do they need to be conditioned? Not really. Most of the leathers we use are deeply impregnated with oils and waxes that will protect the leather for years. Also, a wallet is not exposed to the elements like sun and rain the way shoes or briefcases are, so they can be left untreated in most cases.
Are there any differences other than the leather between more and less expensive models? No, the design is identical.
Do you stock belts in any sizes? No, we make each belt custom to order.
How are your belts constructed? They are made from 2 layers of carefully selected leather glued back to back and then re-cut to the final width of 1.25" (our standard) or 1.5" (optional wider belt). We then stain the edges by hand and box stitch the belt to insure that it doesn't come apart the way inferior belts often do. Our keepers are hand made with rolled edges and double stitched. Finally we provide 7 holes spaced 3/4" apart for better fit.
I wear size 34 pants so can I just order a size 34 belt from you? No, we ask that you measure according to the diagram on our Custom Men's Belt page for an accurate sized belt. The problem is that there is no consistency for pants sizes nor belts purchased off the rack at stores. Also, because we build each belt custom to order, we get as specific as 1/2" odd sizing such as 33.5".
What can I customize on my belt order? You can choose the main exterior leather, stitch color, and buckle hardware.
Can you make a belt for an old buckle that I would like to use? Yes, provided that the buckle is sized at 1", 1.25", 1.5", 1.75", or 2". These sizes correspond to what our strap cutter is capable of. We cannot make belts to fit European buckles that fall between these measurements.