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Bosca: A Short History
Bosca Accessories was started in the early days of the last century by Hugo Bosca and two entrepreneurial partners in Springfield Ohio. Hugo as an Italian immigrant, and was the hands-on partner. During the depression years the others partners wanted out, so Hugo continued on alone.
The company has been transformed numerous times, but always staying with its roots in leather. It all starts with the leather.
The company has produced ladies handbags in a hand-tooled style, military bags and instrument cases during WWII, hard sided attaché’s (think made men) manes and women’s wallets, purses, eyeglass cases, and other “personal leathergoods” as the industry calls them. From there w have added, subtracted, and sometimes added again desk sets and writing accessories, pen cases, travel bags, shave kits, belts, writing pads and agendas, cufflinks, scarves, gloves, even some leather shirts and jackets.
During my tenure we have manufactured in a number of places. When I started we produced about half of our volume in Ohio. The balance was produced in Uruguay, Italy, and a factory just outside of Hartford, Connecticut. In my grandfathers day the leather was cut in one location in Springfield Ohio, but the work went out to many small shops in the area- mostly in the immigrant community.
We were among the early ones in the business to experiment with production in India and Asia but it was a very slow transition to making much product there. We still are housed in our old factory building in Ohio. We do a small amount of manufacturing there, plus repair, customization, and monogramming as well as customer. This year the company is 100 years old and we have been in the current building for 50 of those years.
We have worked with the some of the same Italian manufacturers for all of my career- and we have worked with our two primary Asian factories for 15-20 years. We have worked side-by-side with them as they have grown with us, have redesigned their factories, and have met new challenges as the world has changed. Who knows- our manufacturing strategy has changed over time, and it will change to meet new challenges that arise in the future
My goal has always been to stay true to the original DNA of the brand and at the heart of it all is the leather. Whether a particular line uses Italian leather (as most of our is) or a leather from Argentina, or elsewhere the leather has to be the best selection, and it has to have something SPECIAL about it. We spend a lot of time on leather.
Then the design needs to be functional, and our perspective comes from a traditional place- but we can never be static. We are always looking for a new way to do things, a new look, something that sparks our interest, and hopefully yours.
Last but not least our products need to work. We wear test, pull, press, scrape, and tear at our products to insure ourselves that your expectations will be surpassed. Our design motto is “Italian Design, American Functionality”
The manufacturing is, I hope, and believe, as good as it gets. My goal is to be as good (or better, really ) as all of the big global fashion brands like Gucci, Ferragamo, Prada, and Luis Vuiton, but at a reasonable price. These companies have billions of dollars in revenue. They spend hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising. Bosca advertises very little. For better or worse- you have to be kind of “in the club” or at least in the know to know how special the product is. But our goal has not been to be the biggest, run by a corporate office in Paris, or New York. If you have to have a Gucci logo on your wallet or on your bag, I guess you gotta have it. That’s just not us.
Bosca is a hands-on company owned and run by a family and some very passionate and talented people. People who choose an independent route. People who fight, argue, push back, insist, say NO! and say YES!! People who are fun to be with, and who are not the least bit interested in producing a product that is less than best- comparable and superior to any product anywhere, made my any brand. At Bosca we are proud of the product first, and we are proud of the process that go through to turn out creativity into reality- a beautiful thing that you can hold- something that says care and attention to detail.
In addition to the 50 year old building in Springfield we are just completing renovations on our “new” design studio in Columbus, Ohio. The “new” building was constructed in 1876. I guess that I just have an affinity for a place with a feeling of deep roots. Kind of like some of the best grape vines – at a hundred we are just starting to get really good.