January 30, 2014

San Francisco Meetup - Ghurka (245 Post St)

One of the newest additions to San Francisco’s Union Square district is Ghurka, an American bag company making top-tier products for men and women. For those unfamiliar, the Ghurka company has an interesting past and has undergone an almost phoenix-like rebirth in recent years. Their new store in San Francisco is now their largest, and is full to the brim with beautiful leather and canvas goods.

Ghurka was founded in 1974, and quickly became well-regarded for its British style of bags and leather goods. Their bags were tough and rugged, and made out of handsome materials that broke in beautifully. In 2004, though, the company was sold and the artistic direction changed drastically; they moved most of the production to China, and began to focus more heavily on women’s designer items. In 2011, however, the company was sold yet again, and the current owners are working hard to restore Ghurka to its original glory. About 80% of the products are now produced in the original American factory, with many of the original crasftsmen returning to the brand (only the small leather goods like wallets are made overseas).

Upon arriving, the first thing I noticed about the store was the smell. The rich scent of high-quality leather is unmistakable, and the new Ghurka store is full of it. The bags are as tough and hearty as I expected them to be, but were still stylish and handsome. They’re the kind of bags that get passed down from father to son, and from father to son again.

Oh, and for the record - the bottom photo shown above features Gus with his vintage Ghurka No. 2 Examiner - over 30 years old, and still as beautiful as ever. It should come as no surprise that vintage Ghurka bags are a highly sought after item.

Thanks to Kim Roberts, General Manager of the store, for hosting the event, and thanks to Magnolia Brewery for providing us with wonderful beverages. It was a great evening, and I look forward to watching both companies grow in the coming years.

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