It's no secret that Portland has a soft spot for quality leather goods, and after a lifetime in leather craft, heritage handbag brand Hobo Leather Goods is coming to Stumptown.

Chances are that you've either owned a Hobo bag or have owned a piece inspired by their iconic styles. The first of these styles was a kiss-lock clutch wallet in 1991 named Lauren, which would become the heritage brand's calling card. 28 years later, 1 million Lauren wallets and counting have been sold.

Today, Hobo offers dozens of styles for men and women to love for years to come, including hands-free bags, backpacks, purses, and more. Their bags quickly become a staple in the closet of a rainbow of styles, from Pacific Northwest classics to the street-inspired athleisure lovers and tastemakers of town.

Many of us associate our favorite textiles and accessories with the memories and adventures we bring them on. For founder Koren Ray, her first textile memories take her back to when she discovered her love for leather making with help from her mother.

Founder of Hobo Leather Goods, Koren Ray
Founder of Hobo Leather Goods, Koren Ray

It started with Ray playing with scraps of leather under her mother's craft bench in the iconic leather shop, Georgetown Leather. It was actually Ray's mom who launched Hobo, as a single parent taking her apprentice daughter on the road and into the design studio. By age twelve, Ray learned the trade of her family's careful craftsmanship and later took over the brand from her mom and together runs the business with her husband David.

Ray pulls inspiration from the energy and creative spirit of people in cities that embrace originality and freedom of personal expression. Portland is one of these for certain. "I am most inspired by people doing Hobo their way," she explains. If there's one style tenet Portland lives by, it's personal expression. The city has a thriving scene of unique vintage shops and designers, where we find one-of-a-kind pieces that are special to our identity.

Portlanders also tend to appreciate quality over quantity. We're willing to invest in a beautiful handbag, well-made shoe, or timeless jeans. And when these pieces are built to last, our adventures do too. Hobo is the perfect companion for a lifetime of adventures big and small. And in time, their bags will boast the patina that tells the story of where it's been.

Not to mention, Hobo bags are made for versatility and functionality. Hobo has mastered the art of the hands-free bag design for nearly 30 years, with belt bags, crossbody bags, messenger bags and backpacks. These styles ring particularly true to the Portland lifestyle. In a city known for our accessible biking, foot trails, and countless outdoor adventures, it's like Hobo was made for us.

Hobo’s “Pulse” belt bag, one of their many hands-free designs.
Hobo’s “Pulse” belt bag, one of their many hands-free designs.

When bags are made to last and complement the life we lead, it's easier to be present during the adventures and connect to our roots. When we return to our roots, we return to our authenticity and remember who we are.

Some might call it feeding the soul. The soul of the Hobo brand lies in its mantra, revealing why this handbag community has grown so strong:

"At Hobo we are committed to making leather goods that only get better with use and wear. We love leather and believe no other material ages as gracefully. For the natural patina and wear marks that are earned over time. For the softness that comes from being touched thousands of times. For the beauty that only gets better with age.

Hobo. To be loved every day."
—Founder Koren Ray and the team at Hobo

Hobo Leather Goods are available in store at The Arrangement, CC McKenzie, CoCo & Toulouse, and Imelda's and Louie's, and also online.