Herschel is one of the household brand names. In today’s world, it is practically impossible to go around the city without noticing its logo on a backpack or some piece of apparel. What are its roots? How did it grow?

Continue reading to see the trajectory of this trend-setting company.

Humble Beginnings

It was in the year 2009 that brothers Jamie and Lyndon Cormack put all their plans into action. They set up shop in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada that would make backpacks, other luggage, hats, and a few other accessories.

The choice of name for the company is also replete with nostalgia. The Cormack brothers named their company after Herschel, a tiny little village in Saskatchewan with a population of about 30 people, where their great grandparents had settled in 1906. In a span of a decade, the company had risen to become a dominant player in the world market.

The Success Story

Five years after its humble beginning, the company reported a growth rate of 35% in 2014-2015 and expected to maintain it at around 30% in the following years. How did this happen? Today, the brand has over 10,000 points of sale. How did this happen? How were Jamie and Lyndon Cormack able to carve a space for themselves in the market?

The answer lies in a combination of nostalgia and lifestyle. A certain sentimentality to the past is a big part of what defines Herschel products.

The logo by itself used an old-time font and has an air of wistfulness about it. The striped lining which is a signature feature of Herschel bags is also a nod to the mill workers of the past. The nostalgia is also intertwined with a sense of adventure and therefore, you guessed it right, backpacks!

Another significant factor that contributes to the brand image is that of lifestyle. The Cormack brothers had observed that backpacks were often thrust into the realm of sport. In some sense, we owe it to Herschel for bringing it back into a regular lifestyle and modernizing it to suit our needs.

Herschel’s products essentially combine nostalgia and modernity. With subtle design elements, the Cormack brothers have managed to modernize the old and create a brand value and feeling that rests on the collective memories of the people. With names like Little America, it is fairly clear what they are trying to do.

What Makes Them Popular?

This Canada-based company began by creating a revolution in backpacks before it expanded to include other kinds of bags and accessories. Here is a list of reasons why they shot to fame as quickly as they did.

  • The color choices they offer: most of their products have almost 20 different options for you to choose from.
  • The quirky and charming striped inner lining.
  • The sheer number of options they offer. This is what we mean when we say they made backpacks a lifestyle. Go through their website and you will realize how many variations they have just in the backpack section. Each of them has been tailor-made to suit a particular purpose. They have ensured that there are enough options available for men, women, and children, for the nature-loving backpacker, the urban tourist, a student or a corporate employee. And all of this is just in the backpack section!
  • Minimalism seems to be their motto. None of their designs have ever been tagged cumbersome or unwieldy. Classic cuts and streamlined designs also add value to the brand.
  • Utilitarianism is a close second. Functionality over style makes their bags more accessible.
  • A sense of nostalgia. As we mentioned earlier, the nostalgia that underlines most of their designs creates a sense of authenticity and a “from home” feeling.
  • Vintage never really goes out of style.
  • They also have a fairly vigorous online presence. 

Who Is Their Target Audience?

When the company first began in 2009, they targeted the ultimate “travel consumer”. They wanted to be the ones who would provide bags for all your travel needs: short trips, long trips or everyday use. They branched out within that space to provide different designs for men and women.

Over time, the company also included children in their list of prospective consumers. Good quality backpacks for children as a market space was sparsely explored and the Cormack brothers expanded to fill that gap as well.

Today, everybody can find something that suits his/ her needs with Herschel’s Supply Company.

What is Their Price Range Like?

Customers of Herschel’s bags are clearly divided on this question. While the flap covers and magnetic closures are huge selling points, there is a visible division when it comes to the price.

One half of the group strongly believes that you pay for the quality, for the brand value and for the engineering that has gone into it. That the bags are totally worth it. The other half does find Herschel’s a tad overpriced.

For products ultimately being manufactured in China, the company charges quite a bit for something their parents and grandparents probably used.

However, there is no definite answer.

A Lot of History in a Small Bag

It is a fairly common reaction that people listen to or read with a wistful smile when they come across the Saskatchewan story. The Cormack brothers have been clever enough to market it as well. Their ten-year-old company is now tagged on to a history that spans over a century.

The brand name, Herschel, is built upon this history. But it is not just about the brand name! Without quality, without keeping up to modern times, no brand can carve a niche for itself. And that is what they have done.

They have played a major role in bringing backpacks into the realm of lifestyle. They promise and keep up a combination of utility, style, and durability.

That being said, Herschel has been and will continue to be a household name for backpacks. Whichever backpack you choose from the list above, you’re not going to be disappointed.

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