DSC Member: Mike Macadaan, Flashing the Leather

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Mike Macadaan is all about untangling life’s complexities. And where better to start than with the bird’s nest of cords, chargers and headphones that we encounter with every unzip of our daily carry bags.

He and his gang of L.A.-based craftsmen at This is Ground make completely customizable leather bags that look great and make organizing, protecting and accessing your gadgets their priority.

Here’s Mike on the meaning behind his company’s name, what inspired his products and his upcoming releases:

On the meaning behind the name: “I traveled the U.S. with an advertising blimp in my early 20s, and to let the pilot know it was me on the radio I would say “560 alpha-bravo, this is ground.” Every time I think of those words it reminds me of having to travel around on my bike with all kinds of cords and weird items. That’s part of the reason I make these organizer bags now.”

On the inspiration behind his products: “Actually, a lot of our products, like the Cord Taco, were inspired by Mexican food. I was just eating tacos one day, and that’s when the idea hit me: A small taco-shaped disc with a snap would make an excellent earbud organizer. I spent a lot of time driving through Taco Bell searching for more ideas after that.”

On the benefits of leather: “Leather has this smell to it, like something that reminds you of a loved one, or an awesome memory. It’s more intimate than other products. Not to mention that leather products last forever.”

On gathering a leather making crew: “I met the leatherworkers back when I was hiring factories here in LA to make our goods. A few of those workers came to me and asked if I’d help them start their own factory. All they wanted was to be their own boss, make a bit more money and be respected. Check, check and check. We built them a factory right next to our design studio, and now they’re getting rich.”

On his upcoming products: “First off, we have the Voyager, which is essentially our version of a weekender bag. It has a ton of space and an attachment called the Pod to organize all of your tech and travel gear. Next, we have the second version of our Worldwide Traveler, a passport wallet. And finally, we’re about to launch the third version of our beloved Cordito, which will now hold four cords and has a zipper pouch for those must have knick knacks.”

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