How It’s Made – Lemolo Nameplate

November 2, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Posted in Backpacks, handbuilt, Lemolo Bags, portland, Uncategorized | 7 Comments
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As the official launch dates seems to finally be approaching, I wanted to show off a bit of my hard work. The following is a photo set laying out exactly how each Lemolo nameplate is made. By hand, by me.

The process starts with a 6″x18″ sheet of brass shim. The first thing that needs to be done is to cut the brass down. I use a large metal cutter provided by one of my shop mates (thank you James). You have to carefully mark the brass, line up your piece and slowly, but forcefully, swing the arm down. It cuts at a very slight angle and takes a bit of getting used to. It’s not hard once you get the hang of it, but it can be rather tedious, especially when the pieces start to get down to their final size of 1/2″x2″.

Once the brass is cut down to the appropriate size the next step is to hammer “LEMOLO” into it. I had a custom stamp made for this specific purpose. A very hard, stable surface is required for this step. A heavy, purposeful swing is required when hammering the stamp to ensure a deep, even, well-cut final result. This can take a little practice to get the technique right. It is easy to get a accidental shadow image as the brass or stamp could make a virtually un-noticable hop when the stamp is struck. You only get one shot at this, so it has to count. At about 1/3 of the way through the process it is a real bummer to have to scrap a nameplate at this stage.

The next step is to round the corners on a grinder (thanks for the use of your grinder Jordan). Not much needs to be removed, so a steady hand and sharp eye is key here. The corners just need to be rounded a bit, that’s all. Once the corners are rounded you need to brush the  backside of the nameplate along the edges with the grinder to smooth out any burrs that may have formed.

Only one more step is required before you are ready to rivet the nameplate to a finished bag. For this I was previously using a handheld drill and getting acceptable, but not great results. My friend Blake stopped by the shop and offered the use of his heavy duty hold punch. You simply find where you want your hole to be and squeeze. It takes a short amount of time for each nameplate but your hand can get a bit fatigued if you have a relatively large quantity to punch. This has been a dream compared to using a drill (thank you Blake).

At this point the nameplate is finished and needs only to be riveted to a bag. I lay the nameplate where I want it then mark on the bag where to punch the holes. As every nameplate is made one by one and the holes are cut by hand there can be a slight variance in where the holes in the bag need to be. So, to be sure everything looks just right you need to be sure to mark the bag using the exact nameplate you intend to rivet to that specific bag. Once the holes are punched it is simply a matter of loading up the rivet press, lining everything up, and pressing it together.

This small run of backpacks and duffels were all sewn by real people, whom I have met, working at Portland Garment Factory in SE Portland. I am the founder of Lemolo, sole designer, and each and every nameplate was completely made from scratch and attached by me. Lemolo Baggage, all proudly made in USA.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, I hope you found it both interesting and informative!

-Elias Grey

Visit or follow Lemolo Baggage on Facebook and Twitter.



October 4, 2011 at 11:32 pm | Posted in handbuilt, Lemolo Bags, portland, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I am honored to be a part of Portland Garment Factory’s House Show. A celebration of 3 years running for PGF and introduction of their very first fall collection, HouseLine. A handful of carefully selected designers along with myself will be showing and present for the runway show, dance party, and pop-up shop. Enjoy light snacks and drinks (donation only). Come join in the fun and get a chance to shop for the latest in fall immediates from some really amazing local designers. All for only $10. This is going to be a really great show, I recommend buying your tickets in advance. Get your pre-show tickets direct from PGF here.

Hope to see you there!


Otter Wax, Gear PDX… and Ice Cream!

July 8, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Posted in portland, Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Made in Portland has such a great ring to it, doesn’t it?! There are so many talented people in this city it continues to blow my mind on a daily basis. Creative capital of the USA! I would like to make note of three companies that you may or may not have heard of. The first I’d like to mention is Otter Wax. I had the opportunity of meeting up with Chris a few days ago. A great dude with a fantastic product to offer. We are hoping to meet up again early this coming week. Good things will come of this! A bit about Otter Wax, straight from the source…

OTTER WAX is the first and only water repellent wax that doesn’t utilize paraffin, silicone, or other synthetic ingredients. In fact, it was our search for a 100% natural waterproofing method that led us to create our product in the first place. We’ve tested OTTER WAX against the other methods, and have formulated our wax to be highly effective and environmentally friendly.

Most oil-finish waxes we’ve tested contain paraffin (a by-product of the crude oil refining process), and leave behind an unpleasant odor and shiny finish. The oil-finish waxes generally come in a small canister and are applied using a rag and heat source such as a blow dryer; A method that is both time-consuming and messy.

While the petroleum odor subsided in a couple of weeks, so did it’s ability to keep us dry. OTTER WAX comes in an easy-to-apply bar, and lasts for months between applications even with heavy use.

You will be hearing more about Otter Wax from me and many others in the near future I am sure. To find out more go to their website at

A quick shout out to Dylan of GearPDX. I met Dylan last night through mutual friends, one of which is going on a epic cycling journey soon (have fun Nate!). I got to check out a few his products but haven’t seen the whole line in person yet. What I did see looked great though! Fashionable cycling street wear, all proudly made here in Portland. Check them out at

Was sharing a few pints and good conversation with some friends at APEX on the 4th of July (whooooo! America!) when our good friend Chad rolled up in his ice cream truck! Chad, you couldn’t have had better timing. If you haven’t had the opportunity to enjoy Fifty Licks Ice Cream before you are really missing out! They can be found all over town sharing smiles and unique flavors from the truck, some of which include Slabtown Whiskey, Maple Bacon, and Stumptown Coffee. Sooooo good. For a list of of other ice cream flavors and to find out where you can get Fifty Licks see their website at

That’s all for now, Louis has a dog park date with is besty Zombie… don’t want to be late!


Friends Helping Friends

June 1, 2011 at 5:46 pm | Posted in portland | Leave a comment

I feel very fortunate to know so many amazing people here in Portland. I’d like to take this opportunity to write a quick shout out to a few of the phenomenal people that I am currently working with. Keegan designed my logo and is currently working on finishing up my new business cards. I have a meeting scheduled with the ever-so-talented Eagle&Wolf team tonight to discuss website awesomeness, etc. Man of many talents, Brian Connolly, will be doing some of the super geeky behind the scenes web stuff for us. Also, pretty sure I have successfully wrangled my good friend Dylan into doing some product photography for me as well. Super rad dude and great photographer, happy to have you on board Dylan!

Huge thanks to all of you for helping make all of this happen. You are amazing.


P.S. Louis, as always, has been super helpful around the shop as well. See some great pictures of him, myself, and a few of our shop mates here.

Changin’ Times/Keepin’ It Local

January 20, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Posted in Lemolo Bags, portland, What's New! | 4 Comments
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Dear Friends,

In the past I’ve done my best to keep you all informed on the latest in Lemolo developments, whether it be a new idea, a new bag, or a new direction. Honestly, it has been a bit of a struggle keeping Lemolo going over the past  year or two. I am sure you have noticed that I have had a inconsistent amount of product available at, what I’m sure seems like very random times. Aside from a short time back in early 2010 when I brought someone on to help with some of the sewing, everything Lemolo has been done by myself. That, combined with working 3-5 days tending bar has taken its toll on ol’ Eli. No complaints though, I have chosen the path that I am on and am happy with the choices I have made thus far.

I have said all of that to bring you up-to-date on current directions and developments on the business end of things around here. I had decided that, if Lemolo is going to continue then it can’t be just me, by myself, forever. A lot of thought has been poured into this area. I want to make the right decisions and please as many people as possible while trying to stay happy and sane myself. A tall order, I know. Time spent in the studio prototyping and behind the machine stitching has made it clear to me that I enjoy the design side of things much more than the production side. I am a very particular about my sewing, which partly is to blame for my slowness. I simply don’t have the speed that others have and that is a major disadvantage when it comes to trying to produce a large number of bags… obviously. Also, all that time spent trying to crank out bags has left only a very minimal amount of time to move forward, create more designs and grow the Lemolo Baggage line.

Ok, let’s get to the good stuff! It is important to me to have things created here in our great USA, and what better place than right here in Portland?! A mere 4 miles away (approx. 20 minutes by bike) from where I currently house everything Lemolo stands the Portland Garment Factory. I have recently had the opportunity to spend a little time with Britt, Rosemary and the rest of the amazing and talented crew there. Truly an amazing group of ladies. And our meeting could not have come at a better time for me. I feel very fortunate to have found them and am excited about what the future could hold for Lemolo and Portland Garment Factory.

Immediately upon entering into their gigantic space at SE79th & Stark you are welcomed by warm feelings, good energy, and the sounds of things getting done. Numerous sewing machines whirl away a few steps down from a large cutting table covered with fabric samples and works-in-progress. Pattern pieces hang along the wall next to the table while large shelves behind hold rolls of fabric awaiting use.

Britt and Rosemary have been both easy to talk to and fun to be around. They know how to be professional, while still keeping things feeling light. I am happy to announce that we are currently in the progress of working on our first project together. I am excited about this new development and hope that it is the beginning of a long, mutually beneficial relationship.

This new direction means a lot of things. The first, and most obvious, is going to be the availability of Lemolo. More Lemolo for more people! There is still a lot of work to do though. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you’ll start seeing loads of new Lemolo backpacks next week. I assure you it will be worth the wait though. I hope you are all as excited about this as I am! I will do my best to continue to keep you informed and up-to-date as progress is made.



P.S. I stole all the photos you see above from the PGF blog… follow them here.

Happy New Year!

December 31, 2010 at 6:03 pm | Posted in Lemolo Bags, portland | 3 Comments
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Dear friends,

We are approaching the beginning of a new year. With this new year come new questions, bigger obstacles, and unforeseen problems. As scary as that may sound, all of those things invites so much room to learn and to grow, and that is what I am choosing to embrace. There are exciting new opportunities around every corner. I am learning that things change, like it or not, it’s best to be open to it. This is a time for new beginnings and fresh starts.

As with everything else, things continue to change and evolve here at Lemolo as well. I have some fresh new ideas that I am very excited about and some old ones that I am excited about revisiting. I don’t really know how all of this is going to play out. But, without saying to much, big changes are on the way. Some of them will be more behind the scenes, others may be only too apparent. Stay close. I’ll try and keep you up to date on all things Lemolo as they come to fruition.

Remember to stay true to yourself and always follow your heart. Not everyone will understand. Some may scoff, others may laugh. Don’t let that deter you. In the end, right or wrong, you will know that you did what you had to do. Now go ring in the new year in style!


P.S. Yes, that is a custom-made tux Louis is wearing (thanks mom!).


December 12, 2010 at 10:21 am | Posted in handbuilt, Lemolo Bags, porteur, portland | Leave a comment
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Here are a few professional shots taken of the latest bike/bag project Tony and I have worked on together. This is what Tony has to say about it…

This is the latest evolution of what I like to call the Gentlemen’s Bicycle. Designed for urban transportation, this bike is equipped with integrated dynamo-powered lighting, fenders, cargo rack with custom bag and built-in security lock. Upright riding position is ideally suited for visibility in city traffic. As with all Pereira Cycles, the Gentlemen’s Bicycle is built to order for each rider’s needs.

All the photo’s in this post were swiped from Tony P’s Flickr page. Credit for these gorgeous photographs goes to Daniel Sharp.


Lemolo/Hufnagel Tool Wrap

October 8, 2010 at 10:02 pm | Posted in bicycle, handbuilt, Lemolo Bags, portland, What's New! | 3 Comments
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Straps to the back of your saddle with bag loops (or use VO Viva Bag Loops). Canvas main, cotton webbing, brass hardware. Comes with all the tools you hopefully won’t need to use for a long day on the road. See in person (and buy!) at the Hufnagel booth tomorrow at Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show. Show runs Saturday and Sunday. The bike madness begins tomorrow @Sandbox Studio, doors open at 10am both days. Should be a really great show, I plan on passing through sometime in the early afternoon. See ya’ll there.


Late Nights and Early Mornings

October 7, 2010 at 12:35 am | Posted in bicycle, bikes, handbuilt, Lemolo Bags, portland | 4 Comments

That’s how that’s how things get made…

Be sure to check out the Hufnagel and Pereira booths at the Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show on Saturday.


Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show

October 4, 2010 at 7:43 pm | Posted in handbuilt, portland | Leave a comment
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Be there.


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