Our Story

It began with a rucksack. Just one rucksack to be exact. A vintage, handmade Madagascan design that became the prototype for the original ROWDY bag. Founded in 2012, ROWDY was born as the nascent idea of a young student who wanted to create simple, authentic and aesthetically pleasing leather rucksacks that he couldn’t find anywhere else. With humble beginnings at the popular Old Biscuit Mill market in Cape Town every Saturday, ROWDY soon burgeoned through the enthusiasm and support of its customers.

Fast forward 8 years, and today, ROWDY has a dedicated team of leather artisans handmaking a range of 13 unique travel, business and small carry-items available in 10 different shades. The collection is made using premium full-grain grade aniline and nubuck leather cowhide sourced exclusively from Southern Africa. In 2018, ROWDY changed ownership to budding entrepreneur Adam Young, who took the helm after being ROWDY’s general manager for 18-months.

Adam's mission is to ensure the entire world gets ROWDY. In 2020, he connected with Kym Thomson from Sydney, Australia. Kym discovered ROWDY while travelling to South Africa in March 2019 at the Johannesburg flagship store, located at 44 Stanley in Braamfontein. "The moment I came across the ROWDY shop and the beautiful leather bags, I just had to have one!" laughs Kym. Since then, she has gone on to use her bag daily. After receiving many welcome complements on her ROWDY, she realised the potential of the proudly South African bags in Australia, and contacted Adam. Fast-forward to 2020, mitigating a global pandemic and shipping the first collection of ROWDY bags across the world, and we are thrilled to introduce ROWDY to the Australian continent for the first time ever! 

According to Adam, this is just the beginning:

“I want ROWDY to be the frontrunner of the pack. The cornerstone of ROWDY is to make a focused range of practically designed and quality leather bags that encourage thoughtful consumption while empowering our talented machinists who hand-make each and every piece. We believe in fair wages and building long-lasting relationships with local entities and customers alike. That’s why each bag comes with the ROWDY Promise - a lifetime guarantee meaning we’ll fix any manufacturing defaults for the lifetime of your item at no extra cost. Step by step, we want to grow ROWDY into a brand that is loved and supported worldwide, renowned for its determination and value-driven ethos,” explains Adam.

Next steps? ROWDY intends to continue on its growth trajectory, expanding the brand into international territory. At present, ROWDY is available in South Africa, Switzerland, England and Australia. If you are interested in being the next ROWDY Global Partner, don't hesitate to get in touch!

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