Fernando Garcia is the name behind FG bags (branded with the unique ). He made his first bag 30yrs ago but it was in 1999 that he opened his shop/workshop ‘La Tienda Chica’ in Grazalema, southern Spain. In 2011 he ‘moved with the times’ and extended this to selling on-line and then in 2019 transferred his workplace to a country house nearby.
When Fernando abandoned his stressful job in Madrid and came to the area he brought with him his uncle´s leather-working tools. He´d chosen to live in a place ‘famous’ for its leather-working traditions and so had full and easy access to tools and top-quality animal hides. He started small, selling from home and craft fairs around the provinces. Then he obtained the shop in Grazalema where he ran a very successful business which supported his young family. In 2019 the family decided to move out of the village. Now the shop is run by a colleague and fellow craftsperson whilst Fernando continues making his bags in his rural workshop.
Hasn´t he tired of some many years doing the same thing?
“ I never do the same thing! I never repeat a design for a bag. I go down to Ubrique to buy the hides … I look at them, smell them, feel and handle them. Then the ideas are sown. Every hide is different so every piece which comes from that hide is different. All my bags are unique. When I’ve used a pattern to cut out a bag I throw the paper away”
Surprisingly, coming up with so many original designs is not a chore.
“I think the design process is relatively easy for me because I love living in this rural environment, I love my family life and I love making bags. As I said it all begins in the leather wholesalers. Then the ideas take root and shoot into life at home.I don’t find it difficult to think of new designs. The ideas just flow … over and over again.”
During the years Fernando has made thousands of bags and has sold them to people from all over the world. He believes that his success is largely due to the 100% ‘hand-made ness’ of his work.
“There exists much misuse of the term ‘hand-made’. Unfortunately (in the leather industry in this area) it is often used to mean, ‘I have used my hands to work a sewing-machine or a cutting-machine.’ My bags are truly hand-made – you can see for yourselves there are no machines in my workshop!”
If you buy an bag you can be guaranteed that not only is it unique (no-one else but you has one!) but it´s also made 100% by-hand. You are supporting a traditional trade, part of our heritage, which is falling into disuse like so many others. If you buy from his ‘Organic’ range* you are also buying a bag made from naturally-tanned leathers, un-corrupted by chemicals and synthetic products.
All in all a very sound investment. A beautiful quality-made piece of work, designed to last and give pleasure for Life.