Elin Johansson used to start her mornings by catching a train into New York City.Sitting beside her husband, Philip, they’d bump against one another as the train took her to the Ralph Lauren studio where she was a fashion designer, and then on to Times Square where her husband worked as a web developer.
One day her husband leaned into her as they juddered along and said, “I can’t find a well-made, minimalist bag anywhere. Why don’t you make bags?”
Elin liked the idea. She’d been sewing since she was a young girl and had plenty of design experience. She went out and bought a sewing machine for leather and began experimenting.
As the couple worked on a relocation plan, they began touring New England towns. Years prior, Elin had met a young woman who lived in Peterborough and the friends had stayed in touch via Facebook. Elin soon realized she knew other creative people who had moved to the area. After researching the schools and hospital — as well as the creative outlets in the area — it felt like the right fit. They left Brooklyn in 2014.
“It was always a dream of mine to have a studio in Harrisville,” says Elin. “It’s my new Brooklyn! I love the combination of industrial and creative space.” Elin’s business partner, Kiki Post, is also from northern Europe. The two share a common cultural perspective as well as a clean, minimalist design aesthetic. “We wanted to take away everything unnecessary on our bags and leave high quality that will last a lifetime,” Elin explains.
Basäder bags are for sale online via their website and thru Etsy. “We don’t know where we want to take this creative endeavor, but we know we want our products produced in America, and we want the business to stay small,” shares Elin. “I’m very happy with where we are right now.”