“The main driving force of our inspiration is things that we feel like we want in our lives,” said Nora Rogers, one half of the limited-edition leather goods company Map Of Days.
“We play music, a lot of our friends play music, so we made a guitar strap first and then belts. But the bags have all come from that too,” she said.
Rogers formed Map of Days with friend and creative partner Samantha Greaves in 2012. Their products are sold locally and carried in stores across the nation, including Space Ninety 8, an Urban Outfitters concept store in Brooklyn, and Shinola flagship stores in New York City and Detroit.
Both women are involved in the music scene, with Greaves working as bookkeeper for her husband’s record label, Paradise of Bachelors, and Rogers’ as guitarist and vocalist in local band Solar Halos. That explains their first project – that simple, leather guitar strap. The two also share a background in traditional and couture pattern-making and construction methods.
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Rogers and Greaves make everything in their workshops in Carrboro and Chapel Hill, using American-made materials.
“We primarily work with natural leathers, and they – over time as you wear them and use them – they get darker, they get a personality, they get imperfections, which are all kind of beautiful, but the bag ages with you, as an aging face or as a ‘map of days,’ ” Greaves said.
Beauty and usability
The name of their company originally came from Rogers’ young niece, who looked at a calendar and called it a “map of days,” but the phrase is also from a William Shakespeare sonnet. In Sonnet 68, Shakespeare is “describing the visage of an ancient face, so it kind of struck a cord of working with leather,” Greaves explained.
“What we love about leather is that it is so sculptural, and you can mold it and it can be a very three-dimensional shape, or it can be very supple and fluid,” Rogers said. “We really enjoy those qualities, and we design around what the leather wants to be.”
Greaves agrees. “Because we love the material so much, we choose to design with letting the leather speak for itself and not having over-the-top embellishments or extraneous hardware,” she said.
“We have it as simple and clean as we can make it and just let the materials speak for themselves.”