With so many quality and good-looking options in luggage, you know you’ve discovered something special when something stands out and is just as appealing to the touch. Perhaps an even bigger draw can be pulled from knowing something is not only handmade, but made in Eden Prairie, Texas. Quite frankly, the list is too long to list when it comes to reasons why we continue to do so well with the distinguishable line of sophisticatedly rugged luggage. While you can’t help but do a double take when walking through our store (it literally jumps off of the shelf), knowing a little bit about the history of the line will most likely result in you wanting to share the line with friends and family.
From a business stand-point, we always try to support local companies. We were founded in Houston, Texas almost 75 years ago and can appreciate the grit and quality put forth by entrepreneurs in our own backyard. Still, we are also very particular about the lines we sell. Being local is a huge plus, but quality and craftsmanship are equally, if not more, important.
Bering’s president and CEO, Augie Bering V, first spotted the line at market and knew he’d found something special. Augie himself is an outdoor enthusiast and was drawn to the rugged masculinity and refined tailoring. While the good looking White Wing Label luggage might have drawn him in, visiting with Blake and Bryce Leggett, the founders of White Wing Label, is what closed the deal and resulted in Bering’s carrying their line.
The brothers shared a little about the line, and made it even more appealing. Here is what you too might find incredible and noteworthy when holding a piece of their luggage. Behind every stitch is a little patriotism, love of family and a desire to make the next better than the last. White Wing Label co-founder, Blake Leggett, joined the Air Force right after high school. He was a helicopter gunman in the 20th Special Operations Squadron serving a tour in Africa when they were sent to Kuwait, not knowing their mission. It turns out it was a mission that we are all familiar with, the Iraqi invasion. Blake served two additional tours in Afghanistan, then came home and entered Texas A&M. His brother, and co-founder, entered Texas Tech. Both brothers graduated to a depressed economy in December of 2009, when jobs were scarce.
Blake said, “What spurred us on was a little bit of anger. We’d done everything right, worked hard, gotten a college degree but there wasn’t a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow like we’d been told.” He added, “If you’ve got nothing, you’ve got nothing to lose. But we both had the tenacity to succeed.” The two quickly came up with a plan and channeled all of their energy into making it a success.
Because Blake had been in the military, he was well aware of the products that were used in the field and what soldiers valued in their daily operational duties. The brothers hired master craftsman, Juan Vasquez, who not only created their initial bulletproof military vests with a slip to hold laptops – but also taught the Leggett brothers the art of sewing. After successfully launching Leggett Tactical Solutions, LLC, designing and producing military equipment for the Department of Defense, Northrup Grumman and Quinetik North America; a year later the duo founded White Wing Label.
Blake traces the line’s credo to a gentleman’s DNA and ties the mission of the company to their products. Their site elaborates on this philosophy with, “A gentleman has a special part of his brain that ignites like brush fire to the sound of a drag spooling off of a fishing reel…a man that knows how to tie a double Windsor, install a carburetor kit on a Tecumseh garden tiller and throw a castnet…” You get the idea. Blake added, “All of this resulting in modern construction with classic appeal. White Wing designs for the American gentleman. It’s built for folks of strong moral fiber who appreciate a hard day’s work.”
Worth mentioning is that one side of Blake’s business card reads, “Ducit Amor Patriae.” The motto of several military squadrons, it translates, “Led by Love of Country.” While their line stays true to their patriot spirit and love of country, the brothers hold their highest priority of family before all else.
White Wing Label product designs include range and field bags, shave kits, garment and suit cover bags, many sizes of duffle bags, backpacks, coolers, wine totes, laundry bags, portfolios, laptop sleeves, desk caddies and a variety of other products. Every item can be personalized with a name, initials or company. All materials are made in the USA and include a lifetime guarantee. “When we say Lifetime Guarantee, there is no asterisk, no fine print; it’s just guaranteed for life. Period.” – Blake.
Since family does come first for the brothers, it should be of no surprise that after gifting family with luggage, and it being well-received, the two took their bags to the Dallas Market and the rest is history! “We were tired of getting stuff guys wouldn’t carry, “Bryce said. The usual gift and luggage items were too feminine for their taste.
Knowing the story behind the product makes White Wing Label have a rich depth to the good looking façade; so we want to be sure and elaborate on how their American dream became a reality. The two might have had a defense line of products as a plan, but without financial backing the brothers agreed Blake would go back to Afghanistan as a civilian, contracting with an intelligence company – funding the start-up from afar with Bryce running the business on the home front. Bryce worked hard at home, doing whatever it took to meet their obligations, while for over a year Blake continued to work halfway around the world to provide the capital; when he came home on a leave, he promoted and worked in the shop. “Bryce holds the record for sewing – 36 hours straight,” Blake said, recalling one particular deadline.
The story of the Leggett Brother’s White Wing Label is a wonderful reminder of what the American dream is made of and a good reminder of the intangible materials that come with each and every piece they make. We hope this story of patriotism and love of family helps you and your families wrap up the rest of your Memorial Day on a high note. Fine luggage and handbags are made all over the world, but White Wing Label is as red, white and blue as the founders behind each and every stitch.