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Have you ever really paid attention to the things that come off of assembly lines? When they had first introduced about a hundred years ago, it was thanks to the automotive industry.

Supply and demand pushed the need for more product availability. Waiting was not an option because, before the assembly line, you didn’t see your vehicle for quite some time after ordering it.

Plus, since we were in the 1920s or so, changes were rapidly taking place in the world and driving a car was a status symbol. The assembly line assured many of being able to flaunt their worth quickly.

The problem with the assembly line is that over the decades that followed, many items were being mass produced in this manner. From cars to clothing and all kinds of consumer goods.


It was a good and a bad thing. The good came from the fact that the marketplace presented many different items and assisted with creating competition.

Competition between merchants resulted in cost savings for you and I. The bad part was when assembly lines and automated manufacturing technologies started replacing people in the workforce.


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If artists and professional draftsmen like the old days were part of the assembly chain, there was a particular personal factor attached to the mass-produced consumer goods. You could see that there was a bit of quality in the quality control.

Poorly trained, cheap labor and sewing machines don’t have the senses of quality and therefore do not notice subtle imperfections that would eventually work their way into the production line.



Then there was the other side of the story.


Big manufacturers turned to mass production not just to keep up with supply and demand. It also meant they could churn out more product and for longer periods of time.

Humans tend to want to take breaks for things like meals and sleep. Machines and cheap labor don’t. Manufacturing giants saw a massive benefit in running assembly lines for long shifts and days on end to fill the marketplace with choices.

Somewhere along the way the desire to keep quality factored into the quality control started to slip off the radar. Then someone decided that it was probably just as good an idea to start replacing some of the more expensive materials used in manufacturing with some less costly options.



In fact, eventually many products that started out with top quality materials and construction were quickly becoming cheaper knockoffs of their brand.

More inexpensive quality materials were substituted, some manufacturing steps were either altered or skipped entirely, and even some of the designs started to shift in look as well.


You could say this was the start of the disposable era.


With cheaper products getting spat out of the assembly line, they soon started to reveal a lack of durability. In other words, cheap stuff didn’t last long. 


It could have become an enormous problem, but by this point, so many poorly manufactured items were spewing forth from mass production there was only one genuinely logical solution.



Encouraging people to replace the cheap stuff once it started to fail with another version of the same thing. It probably inspired repeat shopping habits.

The manufacturers were on to something big here. Instead of buying one well-made, long-lasting item that will likely never need to be replaced. Why not sell customers poor quality products that looked fine but would eventually breakdown forcing a repeat purchase down the road. More income, less work.

In the world of big business, that would make sense. However, in the real world, people still want things that will last for at least a moderate length of time. This brings us to the cheaply made industrial leather tote.



Sure, it may look pretty nice, but if it was mass produced, you could probably bet that the stitching is of a poor quality using substandard thread.

The bag may present a rip or tear hazard as a result and can compromise the purpose you have purchased it for. Intend to carry a lot of groceries in that cheap leather tote?

You may want to hold the bottom, so it doesn’t break and spill all your groceries in the parking lot or on the elevator ride to your apartment.

To better understand this idea let's have a closer view of How leather bags are made? How to tell a good from bad "fake"? And what should you look for?


Materials


You probably know that leather products mostly comes from the skin of cows, the cow meat gets processed into food goods while the skin goes through tanning and chemical process and get converted into leather to cover your bag, shoe, automobile seats and so on.



Each sheet of leather comes with two sides, the exterior side(fur side) which is the beautiful, strong and durable side, and the interior side, which faces the flesh and muscles, much weaker and less attractive.

Since the sheet after the tanning and chemical processing is too thick to be produced as products such bags, wallet, and shoes. The leather manufacturer will use machines to slice this sheet into two thinner sides separating the strong and elegant side from the soft and weak side

Exterior side this side is tough and durable since the leather fibers connections are stronger and it faces the exterior environment which provides a protection to the animal, and it's sold at high price. While selling the interior side to cheap and fake bags producers at the much lower price, this side is 4 to 5 weaker than the exterior side since fibers connections are looser.

Now you know the difference between both sides, let's talk about the different types of leather.


Types of leather


There are four types of leather:

  • Full grain leather: this is the best of the best, the exterior side of the skin, Beautiful rich of texture, scars, and patterns, very tough and durable.

    This is the type that you should be looking for if you can afford a high-quality premium but low price leather bag (relatively cheaper than reptiles and other rare animals skin).



  • Top Grain Leather: this is the second best option, premium quality surface, it's the same surface as full grain leather, but without the texture, scars and extra stuff, they got cut and removed, some people just love to purchase a minimal and clean surface leather bag

     



    • Genuine Leather: this is the type of leather that you should avoid, it's the interior and wasted side of the skin, cheap manufactures buy it at a low price.

      They do their best-using plastic, wax and another finishing technique such as coloring and texturing to make it look like a full grain leather. This type of leather is considered as fake leather, weak, tend to be very industrialized smooth and plastic feeling, easy to break and tear and won't last for more than 3 to 6 months.



    • Bonded leather: this is the worst type of leather, which is called blended leather, It is made of a layered structure of a fiber or paper backer.

      A pulp made from shredded leather, and a polyurethane coating which is embossed with a leather-like texture, very easy to tear and break, just avoid it!



    You will find the last two types of leather bags in counterfeiting and fake leather markets. Don't be attracted and cheated by the outlook and overall feeling of the product; when it comes to quality and durability, they fail measurably.

    However, cheaply mass-produced leather totes do have some benefits. Let’s break them down for you:

    PROS:

    1. Due to the cheap quality of products used to manufacture it, the tote is affordable to buy
    2. If you are not looking for a long-term investment, the short lifespan is adequate

    CONS:
    1. Quality is lacking which limits the styling and designs available to choose from
    2. Artistry is non-existent which makes this far from a fashion item
    3. Depending on the type of material used, some last a little longer than others
    4. Some cheaper materials may prove to be unsafe for your health
    5. Shorter lifespan can be a real bothersome issue if you don’t want to replace item


    We haven’t even gotten into the part about how mass produced ‘disposable’ items tend to clog up landfills and stain the environment.



    Fossil fuels are needed to create some of the materials required in the construction of these cheap, mass-produced totes. It is harmful to the environment at that phase.

    When the cheaper brands fall apart, they get tossed out which is also not good for the environment as they won’t break down for many, many (sometimes hundreds) years.


    Our Advice


    Our advice is to buy the best leather bag that you can afford at that specific time, from authorized and trusted source, think in long-term and a bag that you can keep for years and not only a few days or months.

    today's technology and techniques allow low-quality manufacturer to produce and fake leather bags to the point that is very tough for the experienced eyes to tell the difference between a real or fake leather product.

    Also look for the accessories of the bag such zippers, buckles, and clasps, if the producers used high-quality accessories, then it's unlikely to use low quality leather.

    Inspect the sides, inside and bottoms of the products, since soft, easy to break and plastic like leather will be sewed on those locations.


    What’s the result?


    Simple. Don’t cheap out just to save a buck or two. If you require quality, you already know that quality costs money. If you buy a well-made, professionally constructed tote bag made from top quality materials you will never have to replace it. That’s because the quality is meant to last. Quality is not intended to be tossed in the trash three months later.


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