Less is More: Why Minimalism is Good for Business

Mansur Gavriel Hera Bag Review by Tanner Leatherstein

Have you ever wondered how a brand can grow and thrive using a minimalist design approach? Today, I'll explain how Mansur Gavriel harnessed the power of simplicity to create a compelling brand in leather fashion. This is the second Mansur Gavriel bag I'm reviewing, and the experience with both bags has been remarkably consistent.

DISCLAIMER: This is an UNSPONSORED review. I purchased all of these products myself and am not affiliated with the brand mentioned in any way. All statements and expressions made about the products are solely the opinion of Tanner Leatherstein and are not meant to be conclusive or definitive. The purpose of this video is for informational and educational purposes only. We recommend that as a consumer, you exercise your due diligence and research on the products before adopting the opinion of Tanner Leatherstein.

The Intentional Minimalism of Mansur Gavriel

Mansur Gavriel made high-quality, essential materials, deliberately avoiding anything unnecessary. Both bags I dissected from the brand, for instance, lack a lining—not that this is a drawback. Achieving meaningful minimalism in design is incredibly challenging. It requires a meticulous approach to design goals and material choices, ensuring that only the bare minimum of fabrics is used, especially in leather products.

This super simplistic approach piqued my curiosity, so I visited their website and did some quick research. It became clear that this design principle is intentional. Rachel Mansur, a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, and Floriana Gavriel, who studied at the University of the Arts Bremen in Germany, launched Mansur Gavriel in 2013. Their initial products, the Bucket Bag and the Tote, were well-received for their clean, utilitarian design and high-quality Italian vegetable-tanned leathers. That's how a great leather story began.

The Beauty of Vegetable-Tanned Leather

Last year, I reviewed the Bucket Bag, and that was a great example of choosing the right material for the design. As this bag had to stand up to keep its form, they picked the vegetable-tanned Italian leathers. Vegetable-tanned leathers have a stiff temper, holding their shape like wood, thanks to the tree bark-originated tannins used in the tannery. I'm in love with Italian vegetable-tanned leathers, and I use a whole bunch of it myself. My customers happen to love our Italian veg-tan collection a lot. So this intentional approach of the designers is actually what makes this brand very successful.

Dissecting the Hera Shoulder Bag

This week, I dissected the Hera shoulder bag, which I bought for $395. It's advertised as being made from 100% Italian lambskin and crafted in Italy. Indeed, the lambskin is of very high quality. However, one thing that seems off is the brand's recommendation to "apply conditioner to this leather" on their website. Given the minimal finish of this leather, applying a random conditioner could alter its look and feel. Instead, I would recommend using a protector to enhance its resistance and keep it clean. The lambskin is beautiful but very delicate, and a protector would help preserve its pristine condition.

Cost Efficiency of Minimalist Design

This minimalistic approach is also good business because it helps keep costs down. From my estimate, the leather costs a maximum of $15, the hardware around $6, and assembly in Italy approximately $45. This totals $66 to produce a bag of this quality. With a price tag of $395, the brand achieves a healthy multiplier of six.

Timeless Appeal and Brand Growth

This is a great recipe for brand growth. Their bags look timeless and classy, yet are not overly pricey, making them an easy choice for first-time customers. Once you receive and touch the bag, the quality of the leather is impressive. While some customers might question the minimalistic choices—like one reviewer who wished the bag had a lining—overall, the value for money is satisfying, encouraging repeat purchases. This explains the sustained growth the company has enjoyed since its inception in 2013.


So, how does a minimalist design approach drive business success? By focusing on intentional design choices, cost efficiency, and timeless appeal, Mansur Gavriel has created a brand that continues to thrive. I congratulate the talented minds behind this brand and look forward to their continued success, making the leatherverse a better place for all of us.

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