Two uniquely Minnesota brands are collaborating over canvas, suede and fringe.
A new collection of products by Duluth Pack and Minnetonka Moccasin includes an olive green slipper and shoulder bag with a chocolate brown suede flap. Both come in men’s and women’s sizes.
“It feels so natural to collaborate with an iconic Minnesota brand,” said David Miller, chief executive of Minnetonka Moccasin. “When we started talking we realized how much we have in common with our long history of classic products, longtime loyal customers and corporate values.”
The two companies worked together for about a year, including successful, simultaneous Instagram giveaways that proved the two brands had customer crossover. “Collaborations are fun to do,” said Miller. “We try to understand each other’s DNA and cross-pollinate that.”
Minnetonka Moccasin contributed a suede flap on the men’s bag and suede and fringe on the women’s bag, Miller said, while Duluth Pack used its iconic green canvas on the upper of the men’s and women’s slippers.
“We wanted to keep the products in the collaboration clean and simple,” said Tom Sega, Duluth Pack’s president. “We didn’t want to confuse our customers with too many options.”
Sega said he purchased the Duluth Pack company in 2007 after being impressed by the longevity of its briefcase as a road warrior in a previous job. “I said it would be the last briefcase I ever buy. I’m still using it 20 years later,” he said.
The two companies have long histories. Duluth Pack started in 1882 when Duluth outdoorsman Camille Poirier created its first canvas backpack. Minnetonka Moccasin began in a gift shop in 1946.
Both have had several owners and remain privately held. Both have ridden trendy waves of popularity while always sticking to Minnesota roots without changing their products to suit fads. The latest wave, authentic brands of local or regional heritage, makes both brands as contemporary as ever.
Duluth Pack crafts its bags in a plant in Duluth. “We still give factory tours every day,” Sega said.
Minnetonka Moccasin assembled its products in Minnesota until the mid-1960s. The moccasins for the collaboration are made in the Dominican Republic, where most of its core products are made. The headquarters is still in Minneapolis on E. Hennepin Avenue, where the company has been since 1966.
Duluth Pack’s products have a lifetime guarantee. Minnetonka Moccasins do not, but its products rarely create problems, according to Jenny Putnam, a buyer at the General Store, which has sold the line for 15 years. “The few times we’ve encountered an issue, the company has stood behind them,” Putnam said.
The collection retails for $70 to $80 for the moccasins (women’s sizes 5-11, men’s sizes 6-13, medium width) and $110 to $170 for the bags. They are available at Duluthpack.com and Minnetonkamoccasin.com, the Duluth Pack store in Duluth, the General Store in Minnetonka and Nokomis Shoes in Minneapolis. Other retail locations include the 715 home goods store in Hudson, Wis., Zaiser’s souvenir and gift shop in Nisswa, Minn., and Annie’s Trading Post in Roseau, Minn.
The limited-edition collection is expected to be in stores through November.