The Man and the Company He Keeps
Elias Argyropoulos' family has been in the leather-goods trade for well over a century, far back into their origins in Europe. In the late 1950’s Elias’ father emigrated to America from Greece. He plied the family trade in his new homeland, finally saving enough to send for his children. Elias was just twelve when he came to the United States. His father had begun his American life with a shoe repair business. Elias worked in father’s shop from his first day in the States he worked after school in his father’s shop. At the age of 17 he made his way to Los Angeles and worked in a shoe shop at the Farmers Market in Los Angeles. By the time Elias was eighteen he bought his first shoe store, which eventually led to a chain of successful stores in this business. These shoe stores gave Elias a deep sureness of what customers wanted for their money. So he then turned to designing and manufacturing a shoe line of his own. Finally, Elias added handbags to his product line.
After forays in other ventures, Elias realized in recent years missed the artistry of creating elite leather goods. This time, though, he wanted to put his name on his own line – of handbags. “I realized by now that handbags gave me the greatest opportunity for true creativity in design,” he recalls. “More choices and shapes. What really intrigued me, though, was the chance to give more people the kind of custom choices and options that have traditionally been available only to a few – where you get to choose not just the design but the also the leather, create a custom look for yourself, and own something very close to an original.”
But Elias only wanted to do this if these handbags could be optimal in quality, handcrafted in Los Angeles, and created with the very highest quality and unique leathers that he knows like few others. “Because you can’t do top quality with second-rate material,” he says. Because of his expertise and familiarity with leather, hardware, design and production, he has been able to create handbags of the highest quality rivaling most any top designer today.
Today, Elias does his own leather buying, then he takes his selections to crafters he has worked with for decades. Elias inspects each bag that bears his name personally. “There is no detail too minuscule,” he explains. “The quality of the leather, its grain, how that leather matches panel to panel, the stitching, the lining, all of it, everything! It must be perfect.”
The quality that usually costs thousands? A lifetime of work in the leather-goods trade has made it possible for Elias to provide exquisite handbags for far less.