An Essay on Value by AJ Gantzer, Youngest WaterField Ambassador

Ever since AJ Gantzer stumbled upon WaterField Designs, he has been a passionate advocate of the company. A precocious 14-year old, he wrote a school paper based on his interactions with the folks at WaterField. We were mighty impressed. Here is his essay in its entirety.

WaterField Designs: A Family
By AJ Gantzer (14, Ohio, USA)

Have you ever bought a two hundred thirty dollar bag? Probably not. Before I saw Waterfield Designs, I thought exactly what you are thinking right now - that is outrageous! However, when you see, touch, and use the products you will see the prices are justified. Waterfield Designs is a bag and case manufacturer in San Francisco, California, United States. They do not use a factory or an assembly line. They all make their products handmade in San Francisco. Waterfield Designs makes the highest quality products and has the best customer service of any company, dare I say, in the world.

Ken, part of the WaterField team, tells us about WaterField Designs, also known as S.F. Bags. “We use the highest quality materials. We use locally sourced materials made in america. They (our products) have a lifetime warranty. They pay for themselves. It (our leather) is made to last a lifetime. Our leather products are full grain leather the best leather money can buy. Most companies do not use full grain leather. We advertise by word of mouth so customers are our primary way to tell their friends to buy our products.

When asked how the business started, Ken told me, “We have been in business for 18 years, and were started in 1997. We started off as a small messenger at home. Our founder, Gary, was a bike messenger before he started this company.”

The materials that WaterField use are the best in the world. They are all sourced from America from people who share the same pride in their products. Other Americans should support this instead of buying cheaper products that have absolutely no affiliation with the United States. Instead, you could be buying products that support our country and lasts forever. All of the products have a lifetime warranty.

Chris, another member of the waterfield team says, “we manufacture from start to finish in the US, specially San Francisco - other companies use overseas manufacturing.”

“What is full grain leather?” one may ask. According to Waskerd Leather, “The strongest and most durable part of the hide of an animal is just below the hair. The grain pattern in this part of the hide is very tight, and the leather made from here is called "full-grain" leather. Full-grain leather is the strongest and most durable leather. Additionally, since the grain is so tight, it resists moisture very well. Over time, full-grain leather will look nicer and nicer and develop a patina from being handled.”

One of the other materials Waterfield Designs uses is ballistic nylon, which, according to Chris, “is a synthetic nylon, very sturdy, and lasts forever.”

The only valid argument against this wonderful company is the price. While I do agree the price is high, it is justified. Some companies use very cheap synthetic leather, and spray a chemical on it to look very thick and substantial. Waterfield makes sure that all of the materials they use is top-notch and real. This is why the price is so high - they only use materials of the highest quality.

Waterfield prides themselves in customer service. I am a believer and love the customer service. During one of my interviews, when asked “Why should I keep buying products from you?” Chris replied, “Would the other companies help you with your homework?” This shows that, for them, their customer service just does not try to get you to buy things from them. They want to be your friend.

When asked to describe his relationship with his co-workers, Chris answered, “we're a small company, we feel good about what we're doing here - a team atmosphere ‘all pulling on the same rope.’” To be honest, I do not know why I have so much passion for this company. Maybe it is because of their domestic manufacturing. Maybe it is because of their friendly customer service. Maybe it is because of their quality. I do not know which one it is, but what I do know is that this is a company worth purchasing from.