Human Connections: Robbie Matsumoto / RobbieMoto
RobbieMoto Leather Goods:
‘The Opposite of Disposable’
Every now and then, there are select pieces of daily living that stand the test of time.
Items people pray they never lose.
Things that become a quintessential part of our lives.
Among these select possessions are the lovingly-crafted leather goods from maker Robbie Matsumoto. In a culture of disposability, her thoughtful designs stand apart from the crowd.
This is due to RobbieMoto's eponymous brand staying true to what it stands for: timeless designs and quality materials, all made by hand.
“I want to be the opposite of ‘disposable’, because I believe in quality. Subtle details and classic designs will always be something people cherish, it doesn’t matter what the item is. It could be a pair of glasses, a piece of furniture—anything, really, as long as it was well thought-out and they didn’t cut corners making it,” Robbie said from her home nestled in the Hudson Valley in New York.
“Subtle details and classic designs will always be something people cherish”
Not that she lives an austere, ascetic life. Robbie simply embraces quality over quantity. She says, “I’m not someone who acquires a lot of things and possessions, so the items I do have are all of high quality with a timeless design. Things I’ll be happy to have for years to come.”
“And that’s what I love about my SALT. Lorna frames; I’ve had them for a long time, yet when I put them on, they still feel like the day I brought them home. They have a classic style that will look great for years to come. Everything I create is designed to embody those values”
“And that’s what I love about my SALT. Lorna frames… they have a classic style that will look great for years to come”
As you feel the weight of a RobbieMoto wallet or clutch in your hand, you know this was an item crafted with care: the grip of the thick cowhide on your fingertips. The eye-catching, hand-stitched details. The subtle aroma of premium leather. It all comes together to create a sensation that it will be with you for the long haul.
The sheer longevity of Robbie’s wallets and accessories prove she practices what she preaches about timeless design and quality. “I have customers reach out to me five, even ten years after I made them a wallet, saying, ‘I still love it, I use it every day, it’s a part of my life!’”
In fact, customers often send her pictures of their well-worn wallets years, even decades after purchase. The Japanese aesthetic, Wabi-Sabi, or aging gracefully, is certainly a noteworthy mark of Robbie’s designs. “I just had one customer send me a picture of a piece I made for them a decade ago – and they’re still using it. I love that. And they ask me if I can make another just like it when it finally wears out”.
“I just had one customer send me a picture of a piece I made for them a decade ago – and they’re still using it. I love that”
The sheer fact that they’re still used on a daily basis for over a decade speaks volumes to RobbieMoto’s timeless design and attention to quality.
Her satisfaction, though, doesn’t end there. “I love knowing that something I produced with my two hands has become a small part of the lives of thousands of people. I feel honored by that.”
Robbie’s intrigued by items that stand the test of time. To her, they end up being minor characters as we tell our story. “I think it’s so interesting how something that started out brand new—no scratches, no blemishes, still having that new leather smell—how years later, those unique marks and scuffs tell about an event in that person’s life. A silent witness to where they went and what they did with that time on earth. What a privilege to be a part of that.”