An Artistic Approach to Leather Goods

by Karen Alberg Grossman

Catching up with Chris Bosca in Bosca’s Columbus, Ohio, studio earlier this week, we were highly impressed by the evolution of a business that is too often considered an afterthought in menswear. Fine leather accessories are among the most beautiful, artisan-inspired pieces a man can own, yet rarely are they merchandised with impact (or with love) on retail selling floors. Chris Bosca is determined to change all that.

Getting creative: Chris Bosca and Rob Stevens in the design studio

“Success at retail is commensurate with commitment,” explains Chris, whose upscale account base includes Nordstrom, Mitchells and Stanley Korshak. “Leather goods require a visual anchor: you can’t scatter them all over the store and expect to be successful. Yet when shown correctly, luxury leathers become a huge profit center for retailers, since they don’t involve sizes or seasonal fashion that needs to get marked down.” In those stores that have allowed Bosca to do the assortment planning, increases averaged 35 percent the first year, 23 percent the second year.

“It’s amazing when you focus on a business how much you can drive it,” Chris observes.

A painting of a Fiat 500 (CinqueCento) that Chris discovered in Florence is reproduced as a lining for Bosca’s sumptuous leather carry-ons

Toward this end, Chris and his talented in-house creative team have reproduced a fabulous fixture based on a something he discovered in Florence: an art-inspired sculpture made of antique wood (waxed but not finished) and burnished hardware with floating trays to showcase the smaller pieces. “It’s very unique and hard to describe but it’s like bringing a piece of Italy into the stores.”

Also in development, vintage-inspired leather travel cases and more linings based on the paintings of Chris’s newly discovered Florentine artist. We can’t wait to see what’s next!