Emil Erwin: A small bag company with big ambitions

Story highlights

  • Emil and Leslie Congdon launched bag and accessories company Emil Erwin in 2009
  • The line has drawn attention from customers worldwide and retailers Barneys and J. Crew
  • "I want to grow, but I'm not going to grow for the sake of growth," Emil Congdon says
Emil and Leslie Congdon have just one goal, really: Run the best bag company in the world.
It might sound like a stretch for a company of three people operating out of a 1,300-square-foot workshop in Nashville. But Emil Congdon, a self-trained leather craftsman and unabashed perfectionist, doesn't see the point in striving for anything less.
"There are a lot of people making stuff; you have to be unique and offer something different. You just have to make it better," said the 33-yea