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Ryan Barr concedes he had “a string of failed careers” (including high school teacher, salesman and guitar player) before taking his musical calling in a different direction – making leather guitar straps. But it was his love for the manufacturing process, and the incredible leather developed, that led Ryan to his most meaningful – and successful – career pivot. Since 2009, WP Standard has evolved from a guitar straps/wallet business into a 7-figure premium leather bags and accessories company embraced by incredibly loyal customers. I am now one of them.
Intrigued by the craftsmanship, I began carrying the brand’s most popular piece (The Oversized Tote, $268) to see how it fares in my busy life, which is oft lived out of a bag. I can affirm Ryan has found his calling. Read on to learn about the rugged and infinitely useful WP Standard line.
Designed for the Well-Traveled
Originally named Whipping Post (after the Allman Brothers Band song), WP Standard is quintessentially all-American – it’s produced in Atlanta and built with the pride of using 100% full-grain leather that (unlike cheaper options) remains dry, pliable and breathable throughout its lifetime. By using the leather taken just below the hair of the animal, WP Standard has the strongest and most durable hide, that also beautifully showcases the natural grain pattern. This tighter grain is the reason WP Standard bags resist moisture so well.
Having carried my tote, loaded full of children’s gear, workout accessories and often a laptop for several months, I can attest: while the bag still appears new, it has softened. WP Standard’s vegetable tanned leather will take on a gorgeous patina as the bag gets wear and tear.
This dynamic leather is just the start for Barr, who told TQE: “I’m interested in exploring new materials and colors. Suedes and rough-out leathers are a nice change of pace. The addition of different colors and textures brings new life to things while remaining timeless and reliable.”
Every Journey Has Baggage
Having fallen for the Oversized Tote – which I have in tan, but is available in chocolate, desert black and olive – I was inspired to acquire more striking, yet practical, WP Standard accessories, of which there are many:
- The Wine Tote, $88: A unique carry-all for two bottles of vino, along with a corkscrew pouch. Makes for a fantastic gift!
- Utility Pouches, $98: Available in tan, brown and black, the set of three pouches (which come in small, medium and large) are helpful for OCD inclined people, such as myself, who prefer to keep items that fall to the bottom of the bag to collect dirt (chargers, kids small toys, sunscreen, makeup) separate. And within reach.
- Leather Zip Key Pouch, $38: Available in tan, chocolate, desert black, olive and butterscotch, this compact wallet is ideal for a night out’s essentials or to hang on the WP Tote accessory strap daily.
- Leather Airpods Case, $28: Available in the five leathers to match the line; includes a D-ring to connect to the WP Tote accessory strap to keep handy.
- Passport Wallet, $58: Available in tan, brown and black; mine is arriving just in time to get organized for summer international travels.
On the Move
Lest Barr rest on his laurels with a fabulous tote and stylish accessories, WP Standard offers incredibly well-designed weekenders and larger scale bags that can outlast your passport (and its multiple renewals, for those of us with wanderlust). Cue new weekend itineraries.
- I gravitated toward The Military Duffle ($398, available in tan, brown and black) for its sleek look, but was hooked by the storied inspiration. It’s reminiscent of a bag Barr’s dad brought home from Vietnam, which he then carried everything in (from tools to sporting gear) growing up. Without seams or zippers to break or repair, it’s an everlasting travel go-to. And an easy carryon.
- The Vintage Leather Messenger Bag ($339, available in tan, brown and black), a modern version of an antique postal carrier’s bag with a suede laptop compartment, is perfect for remote business. Or traveling to the office – if you ever return to one. Alternatively, there is no chicer diaper bag for a father.
- The Weekender, ($419, available in tan and brown) the classic zip-top duffle is another favorite as it holds more than a weekend’s worth and features two external pockets for easy access. An internal pocket also allows for more organization (always a perk) within the bag.
Whether you are won over by a bag or the complete accessories collection, WP Standard beautifully accommodates our modern – and often nomadic – lifestyle. Barr thrives on seeing the bags in the wild: “My favorite thing about where I am is seeing people make good use of our products. Knowing that someone packs our tote bag every day to go to work or uses a backpack on a trip is gratifying. It’s a real honor to play a small part in people’s everyday life.”
5 MORE REASONS TO TOTE A WP STANDARD:
- WP Standard raises the day-to-day bar with a cool collection of cash/card carriers: Zip Around Wallet ($119), Large Wallet ($88), The Picker’s Wallet ($38), The Bifold Picker’s Wallet ($50), The Slim Wallet ($28).
- Barr brought back the uber popular, incredibly comfortable (and chic) Mr. Grumpy Leather Slippers ($99), for a limited run. They are available for both men and women in tan, olive and black. “Footwear is also of interest” for future development, according to Barr.
- You can monogram bags and accessories, making items more personal.
- If you want a lighter carry, shop canvas bags – with the signature WP Standard leather trim – available, each with the same rugged reliability: briefcase ($199), shoulder tote ($175) and weekender ($248).
- With leather conditioner, water protectant, cleaner and healing balm (available here on the brand’s site), WP Standard leather will only get more beautiful for a lifetime of use.