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Artifact Bag Co.

American Handmade


I grew up around antique shops, pawn shops, and flea markets. As a tactile child, I examined countless antiques and wondered why they looked and felt better than brand new items. The materials were softer in color and hand. The weight felt balanced and right. The patina provided richness and depth.

I worked in a donation trailer for a thrift shop during high school. This experience fostered my obsession for collecting militaria, vintage denim, guitars, records, and countless other other gems of Americana. In college, I played guitar and hunted for antiques and vintage in lieu of studying. Somehow, I graduated with degrees in Anthropology and Sociology.

After college, I worked ordinary jobs until The Great Recession when, like many Americans, I lost my job. This created an opportunity to evaluate my place on earth, as well as my future. I created three lists using a Venn Diagram:

1. What are the things I love to to?

2. What are the things I’m genuinely good at?

3. What are the things I could make a living doing?

With the lists in front of me, lines intersected and dots connected into a pattern that became Artifact. I realized I wanted my own business, where I design well-made American products with a nod to my passion for vintage military and utilitarian design. I wanted to create the products in my studio with the help of craftspeople in my community. Thus, I started Artifact Bag Co. in February 2010. The first ten months I balanced a placeholder job with my nights and weekends devoted to building Artifact. By December, I left my job to run Artifact full-time.

Right Now:

It’s 2016 and skilled people help me in a larger studio with more equipment, but my philosophy hasn’t changed. The ongoing challenge is to create high quality, useful products that look and feel as impressive as the antiques I am inspired by. I never set out to make replicas of these items, but rather to honor their materials, and the process in which they were made. I’m grateful when my designs fall in line with fashion, but my focus is always on style and Americana, which is timeless.

Artifact products are handmade in Omaha, Nebraska using domestically sourced materials whenever possible. Many products incorporate vintage, new old stock fabric and hardware. All products offer a lifetime guarantee against defects in workmanship or materials. Buy it once!

Chris Hughes

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