Robert Mason 'Marilyn' Bag A Symbol of Brand's Resilience

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

Robert Mason Company recently unveiled a feminine-detailed, intricately created and painstakingly resurrected bag on its site.

The "Marilyn" bag is a local collaboration on several levels. Robert Grimmett, the owner and founder of the vintage office supplies company, worked with local designer Luciano Carfagna, River City Leather's Aaron Buckley, AJ Studio Designs and Alex Traxler from Griffen Hollow to piece together a stylish bag that works both in the office and the evening.

"It's a super-cool look and something that's unique," Grimmettsays. "Marilyn has a lot of nuances."

The bag comes in two sizes (one to fit a 15-inch laptop and one to fit a tablet) and three colors, including black, hand-dyed blue and caramel. Priced between $499 and $649, it has intricate riveting, scalloped edges and antique brass hardware.

But there's more to this tote than top grain leather.

Grimmettand Carfagna began this collaboration a few years ago in order to offer Robert Mason Co.'s female shoppers something alongside its men's bags and briefcases.

They called on Buckley and Traxler for help with production and AJ Studio to cut the leather.

After months of work, Grimmett unveiled the first version of the bag in his E. Gay St. store on April 12, 2014.

On April 15, a fire destroyed his Downtown store, taking with it the patterns for Marilyn but not the prototype.

"We did kind of start at the beginning," Grimmett says of resurrecting the bag.

They changed the lining, which was originally a heavier suede, to a striped cotton and brought in the smaller size.

Grimmett is proud of the end result, which he sells online. (He also has a store in West Virginia and is planning to open a new Downtown Columbus shop in the near future.)

"This is a workbag with a feminine touch," he says.

The Marilyn isn't the first of the brand's collaborations. And it certainly won't be the last. Grimmett says he loves calling on local artists to develop new items.

"If we're just the designer or influencer and we're bringing in these experts or artists, we're not only supporting local economic growth or the growth of that vendor, we're able to benefit from that talent," he says.

He's in talks with White Truffle Studio, and Carfagna now has a sub-brand under Robert Mason Co. for future products.

Look for a few new bags in the coming days and weeks, too, including a bucket bag, called "The Rothwell," for $299, and a unisex unnamed tote for $299.

Images courtesy of Robert Mason Co.