So every year, some colleagues, led by this one kindred spirit I know, set forth on a weekend away.
Bound by what we do, and with a love for things which go fast and turn left - alot - for whatever reason, and with a need for some recharging mentaly and spiritually among some other people who love what we do... and do it for too many hours at times, it seems - we gather near a certain city with a NASCAR track...
... and so... over the weekend we had this lil' pow-wow near Charlotte, North Carolina... home of NASCAR.
So, on the flight to the QUEEN CITY from my home market, on SOUTHWEST, my overall favorite airline, I grabbed the SPIRIT magazine and started reading during my relatively short flight from the Land of the Dysfunctional Congress to Charlotte... in one of my favorite places to visit - North Carolina.
.: youtube :.
While reading, I stumbled across an ad for bags. Luggage. You know, those things which fly free on Southwest... but of which some need two or three for a weekend away (because cosmetics and product and shoes of COURSE need their own sapce...)
Now, I don't have the best luggage. It's really a hodge-podge of this crap I've accumulated from Walmart or that from Target over the years. My hanging bag is a disaster, my other bags - are at times too small... and they all don't match. But they do what they do... beat to hell from cross-country trips home to Corpus Christi or to LA or whatnot...
My camera bag/backpack - it's great - and it's a Crumpler bag... designed for the elements, in canvass, carries and protects my cameras, mics, Mac and whatnot... but there are times when you need class, elegance, refinement, but originality...
... and that's what I was thinking about when I discovered - on accident - an ad for this Colsen Keane Leather company... purveyors of original, fine, hand crafted bags for those... who get it. Based in Charlotte... North Carolina... in the United States of by-Gawd 'Merrrrica.
Overal if you don't know them... Consider them to be the Apple of leather. They get design. They get the feeling. They get the journey. They have the emotion on lock. They make heirlooms... not bags. They craft companions... not suitcases.
It's like the BFF who can tell every travel story you have... but who keeps every secret.
Yeah. That amazing.
Sunday, at the Charlotte airport, waiting for my much-later non-stop flight to BWI, looking a mess, after over 24 hours in an RV, at a race, and without a shower... smelling like God knows what, I notice one of these bags -- with another bag, very similar, sitting next to it.
The gentleman with the bags, was traveling someplace...
The bags were unique. Clearly original. Clearly one of a kind and most brilliantly something which was unlike the cookie cutter Michael Koors or Louis Vuitton bags I'd seem some carry - in addition to the Tumi, Jaguar, Porsche or Jeep bags which litter the travel landscape.
I had to ask him... and note, I had no idea who this stranger was...
"Sir, excuse me... are those Colsen Keane bags..."
The man said "Yes, yes they are... how did you know?"
I told him I'd heard about them... and that they were brilliant...
It turns out... he owned the company.
His name is Scott. He reached in and handed me this card which cleverly looks like a vintage travel bag tag... very vintage, yet timeless. Another original touch in a sea of similarities.
Let me tell you something... when you meet someone who creates something amazing, it does something to you. It presses you forward. It stokes your internal fires. It makes you realize that one person with a dream, who isn't afraid to get the hands dirty... can do amazing things.
Much like those bags, made of leather, we're all well-traveled people. We've been dropped in Dubai. We've been scrached in South Carolina. We've been dinged in Detroit... Bruised in Baltimore and left by a lover in London...
... but we press on. Because we're originals. Because we're us. Because, like those bags, we're unique. Because despite what life may throw at you... you will find something better... You are capable of more than what some say... and because life, as it is, is about constantly moving on... moving forward and becoming... and these bags, are companions on that journey who can tell that story.
Amazing, right? Yeah, I was blown away too. To think I was thinking of a name-brand cookie cutter brand bag a few weeks ago, which might be 'designed in France' but is made in Singapore... en masse. About as unique as the customer who shelled out for one just like it... once they come back in, you know, after a few weeks.
Want to know what makes someone a fan? A bond. A sense that something... understands what we've been through.
It can be a bag. it could be a book. It might even be someone else's kid grabbing your finger saying, "come this way, I trust you..." forging an instant bond...
Bottom line... it's what makes us... us. Those bags... are the story of what we've done, where we're going and where we've lived. They're also the weathered reminder... that the future... is just ahead... spurring us forward.
And -- best of all -- they're designed by a small business with a global reach... because there are people who "get it..." and there is a a company who "gets it..." and those people - fans - they are trying to "get" is what Colsen Keane is offering.
Basically, it's all about "getting it." Colsen Keane does. So do their fans. And that's all you can ask for in life, business or in a relationship...
... that you get it.
I didn't get any free product for this post. i didn't ask for any. But what I did get was some inspiration... and if you need some, Google 'em...
You'll find it. Like I did. Waiting for a flight some four hours later on a Sunday after a NASCAR race.
Thanks for reading.