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How I Built This with Guy Raz / – Herschel Supply Co.: Jamie and Lyndon Cormack

How I Built This with Guy Raz – Herschel Supply Co.: Jamie and Lyndon Cormack

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In this episode of “How I Built This with Guy Raz,” Jamie and Lyndon Cormack, the founders of Herschel Supply Co., share their journey of building a timeless brand of stylish and practical bags. They discuss their inspiration, the challenges they faced, and how they grew their business into a global success.

Main Takeaways

Creating a Timeless Brand

  • Herschel Supply Co. founders aimed to create a timeless brand that would stand the test of time.
  • They wanted to design bags that were both stylish and practical, filling a gap in the market.
  • Herschel products are now sold in 9,000 locations worldwide.

Inspiration from Herschel, Saskatchewan

  • The name “Herschel” was inspired by a small prairie town in Saskatchewan.
  • The founders had a childhood in Herschel, Saskatchewan, where they found ways to entertain themselves in the open land and a hockey rink turned museum.

From Hockey Dreams to Bag Business

  • The founders dreamt of becoming professional hockey players but were also interested in other things.
  • They pursued different careers after high school, with Lyndon working at a cycling shop and Jamie working in avalanche control and graphic design.

The Birth of Herschel Supply Co.

  • Jamie started a local snowboard and skateboard magazine called Sequence, which gave him a fun learning experience.
  • Jamie and Lyndon stayed in touch and would brainstorm ideas, which led to the idea of creating bags.
  • They were inspired by the Japanese aesthetic of quality and simplicity in bags.

Designing Versatile Bags

  • They noticed that most bags in the market were too busy with useless features, so they wanted to create a versatile bag that could be dressed up or down.
  • The founders used backpacks for their jobs and wanted to create a bag that was both sophisticated and practical.

Starting the Business

  • They kept their day jobs as an insurance policy and sold their bags to stores that became their first accounts.
  • They found manufacturers in China through connections and Google search, and sent emails to hundreds of companies with their product line.
  • Herschel debuted at a trade show in New York City, attracting attention from buyers and leading to partnerships with retailers like Urban Outfitters and Nordstrom.

Growth and Challenges

  • Herschel experienced rapid growth, but faced challenges in global logistics and minimum order quantities.
  • They had to make tough decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic, including staff layoffs and product cuts.
  • Herschel used the pandemic as an opportunity to focus on sustainability and switched to sustainable materials.

Lessons Learned

  • Herschel’s success was a blend of hard work, timing, and luck.
  • They learned the importance of creating a timeless brand and focusing on authenticity.
  • Herschel’s focus on sustainability impacted every department in the company.


Building a Timeless Brand of Bags

Jamie and Lyndon Cormack, the founders of Herschel Supply Co., aimed to create a timeless brand of stylish and practical bags. Inspired by their childhood in Herschel, Saskatchewan, they combined their passion for design with their love for nature and the city. They noticed a gap in the market for versatile bags that could be dressed up or down, and decided to fill that gap. Through hard work and strategic partnerships, Herschel Supply Co. grew from a small startup to a major player in the bag industry. They faced challenges along the way, but their focus on sustainability and authenticity helped them overcome those obstacles. Today, Herschel products are sold in thousands of locations worldwide, and the brand continues to innovate and inspire.


The story of Herschel Supply Co. is a testament to the power of passion, creativity, and perseverance. Jamie and Lyndon Cormack took their dream of creating a timeless brand and turned it into a global success. Their commitment to quality, simplicity, and sustainability has resonated with customers around the world. As they continue to grow and evolve, Herschel Supply Co. remains a shining example of what can be achieved when you believe in your vision and work hard to bring it to life.

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