Manufacturing and Small Business & Startups

At Bros. Leather, it's in the bag

The growing business gets a high-profile endorsement in the entertainment industry.

January 30, 2015
| By Pete Daly |
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Bros. Leather
Adam Kail shows off one of the men’s bags his company designs and sells online. Photo by Michael Buck

Bros. Leather Supply Co. in Grand Rapids just got a big boost with a promotional partnership agreement with Garrett Goodwin, the drummer for singer Carrie Underwood for the past eight years.

Adam Kail, a serial entrepreneur who already had started an executive search firm, started Bros. Leather a couple of months later in March 2013 because, he explained, he could not find a leather bag “that I liked, at a good price.”

Bros. Leather took off and now has five employees. The company designs and sells leather bags, wallets and iPhone cases for men, made overseas to the specifications of Bros. Leather and sold mainly via the Internet.

It became challenging for Kail in 2014 to stay on top of his booming leather business (brosleather.com) while still running the executive search firm he founded in January 2013 called MagnaVita Search (magnavitasearch.com), also an online company. He still runs MagnaVita Search, which will soon undergo a name change to Harrison Gray Search & Consulting.

Although he declines to give specific numbers on sales revenue and units sold, Kail (pronounced “kyle”) said Bros. Leather “sold a ton of bags last year, more than I thought we would, by a lot.”

His bags have a “vintage look” and are “half the price of other leather bags,” said Kail. While most of the customers are men, many women are buying his products, too. Kail said he isn’t sure if the women are buying for their own use or as gifts for the men in their lives.

Prices start at about $29 for an iPhone case and go up to $255 for a leather duffle bag.

Kail and a friend who works for him as a designer learned together how to design the leather carrying bags that are growing in popularity among men around the world. The bags are made under contract in India and China, but Kail said his company is looking at Italian and German leather suppliers for possible additions to the product line.

Some of his bags are designed to accommodate a laptop and have pockets for a variety of things. His bags “look good and are very trendy,” he said. He uses one for carrying his laptop and iPad. A leather bag makes it “easy to carry around stuff like that,” he said.

Both of Kail’s companies are located at 401 Hall St. SW in Grand Rapids.

Recently, Bros. Leather was contacted by a representative of Garrett Goodwin who advised Kail that Goodwin likes Bros. Leather bags and was available for marketing endorsements of the product line. Kail quickly made a deal with Goodwin and said he has since become friends with the high-profile drummer.

“It’s been a really cool partnership/friendship,” said Kail. He said that for Goodwin, it is “a hands-on partnership.” Goodwin has many online followers and Bros. Leather bags are seen in many photos and videos of Goodwin. Kail said Goodwin “goes out of his way and goes beyond what our agreement says to help support us by getting our name out there.”

“The biggest threat to an Internet business is not being found” by the public, said Kail.

“You could have the greatest online company in the world, but if no one has heard of you, you’re not going to last,” he added.

The online connection with Goodwin will help make Bros. Leather more visible and add to its name recognition. To increase visibility, Kail said his products also have been offered on flash sale websites, including touchofmodern.com.

“Every person that owns a bag (from Bros. Leather) is marketing my bag because they’re going to get questions about it,” said Kail.

Kail, 29, is a native of the Detroit area. He has lived and worked in New York City, where he attended The King’s College and earned a degree in politics, philosophy and economics. His first job was in college admissions, and he soon went to Denver where he worked in administration at Colorado State University. In Denver, he also worked in administration at Jones International University, which was founded by entrepreneur Glenn R. Jones in 1993.

Kail and his wife, Beth, who works with him at Bros. Leather, moved to Grand Rapids about two and a half years ago. In addition to their leather goods business and executive search consultancy, the Kails have a busy home life, with three children ranging from a newborn to a 5-year-old.

“I seriously would not want to live anywhere else,” said Kail, describing West Michigan as “great for small business, for raising your family, great for socializing.”

“This is where we want to grow,” he said.

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