Small States – TM1985: former Ralph Lauren designer goes American made w/ elegant backpacks, $407 giveaway + 25% discount


Small States features small companies that design and manufacture within the United States. 

It doesn’t get much more American than this story – where else would a great-great-Grandson of a Danish immigrant horse tack and bootmaker get a job at Ralph Lauren, work his way up the corporate ladder and then quit to start his own business? America of course.

Where else would a young designer become so successful that he found himself no longer creating, but rather overseeing a department and working with numbers and spreadsheets instead? Missing that feeling of designing something so much, that he had to sneak into the basement of the Ralph Lauren mansion to create his own prototypes after hours.

Where else does this happen? It truly is a Made in America story.

Let me introduce you to Tielor McBride and TM1985.

First, let’s rewind about 90 years, to Tielor’s great-great-Grandfather who made the trip over from Denmark to the United States. A tradesman himself, Christen Hansen started this whole story with his leather skill set. He spent his time creating horse harness’ and shoes, a trade that would one day serve as a great inspiration to Tielor himself.

Tielor has a strong sense of history, the skill set needed to create a beautiful utilitarian product is not one that is immediately found. Instead it takes years of cultivation, learning and studying things both old and new. For Tielor, its been a mix of his heritage, but also what he’s experienced in his own life. Originally from Missouri, with a love for theatre design, he made the move to New York to work on Broadway with an opportunity to do some side work for Ralph Lauren. Before long he was dressing the windows for all of the flagship stores.

After experiencing a lot of success at Ralph Lauren, Tielor found himself spending more time looking at numbers rather than doing much designing.

“I started at Ralph Lauren, and had a lot of success, got promoted a few times. But the more than moved up, I found that I was spending a lot of time on budgets and managing money.” Tieler says of his time at Ralph Lauren, “Really just a ton of paperwork, coming from a background of do-it-yourself and design it yourself, I missed having my hand in nearly every aspect of creating and production.”

After befriending some of the skilled tailors in the basement of the Ralph Lauren mansion, McBride began putting his designs to practice. Soon after, he was creating wallets and more, selling them on Etsy. Ultimately, the freedom of owning his own company proved to be a pull that Tielor could not resist.

“I started out on Etsy and developed quite a following there, the more that it grew I realized that it became an opportunity for me to jump of the corporate world, the sort of golden handcuffs if you will.”

The itch of design continued, and Tielor began spending time designing some of his own items. It started with the roll top sack, a beautifully designed bag that doesn’t fall in line with your typically structured pack. Instead, it has a unique lack of structure, it folds over at the top rather than zipping up.

“There is a lot of freedom, a lot of strings attached to owning your own company, but there is certainly more good than bad.”

Now, Tielor has TM1985 which operates and designs out of New York. He works closely with his manufacturer George who runs a decades old factory that creates his beautiful products locally. They use United States sourced materials, including leather from stateside tanneries and hardware from here as well. The importance of manufacturing in the United States is certainly not lost on Tielor.

“We source local and find the best materials from the best of US suppliers. It allows for a closer connection to and knowledge of resources and is the foundation of a exceptional product. We work to provide sustainable jobs for people in this industry, especially after such a mass exodus of the garment industry to China. It seems like this kind of skilled labor is vanishing in NYC but we are here to help preserve and rebuild it.”

It’s not an easy journey, especially when you make this kind of commitment to creating high quality products in the United States. For Tielor, it’s proven to be worth it, each day trying to improve on the last while cranking out beautiful accessories for your life.

“Our goods are inspired by things that stand the test of time. Utility pieces that have lasted generations give us a sense of history and trust – We know they will last through this journey and the next.”

We were lucky enough to check out some products from TM985, particularly the Hansen Tote, which we found to be a great bag for either gender. It’s quality design and craftsmanship shine, with plenty of room for storage, it is a beautiful option for storing your things on the go. The adjustable straps are a nice touch for making it just the right length for your individual needs. TM1985 is offering 9to5Toys an exclusive promo code so that you can save 25% off your purchase, just enter promo code 9to5Toys during checkout.

We are also choosing one winner this week for our giveaway, and they will be receiving a black leather CB briefcase, valued at $407.  To enter this giveaway, follow @9to5Toys on Twitter and retweet the article. If Facebook is more your thing, Like us and share this article with your friends. Additionally, you can enter the giveaway by leaving a comment at the bottom of this article. We’ll choose three winners next Saturday. Good luck!

Previous winners:

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