If you stop by the cozy atelier of Margriet Meijer you’ll likely find her at her sewing machine, patiently working over a piece of leather while a cup of coffee cools at a desk beside her. Look across the street at the trees lining the perimeter of the massive Rembrandt Park, and you’ll forget that you’re even in Amsterdam at all.
It’s fitting that Margriet chose the uniquely quiet and calm neighborhood of Amsterdam-West to set up her bag making the atelier, monsak, because her entire approach to business is unique as well. monsak makes chic but functional leather bags made to carry all the things you need for a day spent with friends and embracing urban life, but with a special attention to materials: “We make leather bags from overstock leather, out of pieces that were rejected for not being the perfect color or there were light imperfections that I could cut around,” Margriet explains. “There are a lot of big brands that order huge quantities of leather and reject them—that leather is usually thrown away and ends up in a landfill.”
Margriet is an Urban Unusual: someone that we admire and is helping to shape and improve urban life by being a unique character. We collaborated with Margriet and monsak on a special collection of her leather bags that were in five different colors that you can order an unu Scooter in.
Rather than creating perfect, cookie cutter bags, Margriet saw an opportunity with all the wasted leather, and it has helped give her bags something special. “We have one collection with ten models that never change, but we make them in different colors every time. And every time the bag comes out differently as well because the leather only comes in small batches.”
Aside from the product she makes, Margriet’s entire mentality about monsak is a unique one, “I don’t call myself a designer—even though I design the bags,” says Margriet, “I have an entrepreneurial mind, and I really like all the aspects of running a business—not only designing and making the bags, but also being a manager, a photographer, a salesperson all at once. It helps me do things differently than other brands.”
What's in Margriet's Bag?
A peek inside of Margriet's own Sak 7, with all the necessary things for a day out in Amsterdam on her unu Scooter.
This love for working with her hands and creating things came from her childhood though as she explains, “My mom started a sewing school when I was quite young. So when I would come home from school, I’d head straight to her atelier and hang around there. I loved being around her atelier, feeling the materials, seeing the equipment being used, and just being in a place where you can create.”
Now that she has her own atelier and growing business to run, her unu Scooter is the perfect companion, “We are stocked at some stores around the city and it’s super efficient to quickly drop off bags with the unu,” she says, “I can just pop out for half an hour, catch some air and then get back to work. But you experience the city in a different way. It’s not like when you’re on a bicycle—you can go to places where you don’t usually go because it’s so much quicker. It takes you out of your comfort zone, and helps you experience new stuff.”
And in the end, that’s where the concepts of monsak and unu meet: with a monsak bag packed with all the right things, and a fully charged unu Scooter, Margriet is able to conquer Amsterdam in a totally different way.
Thank you Margriet, for speaking with us. You can learn more about monsak and buy your own by clicking here.