Creatively Cool 2015: Treason Toting Co.
THE DREAM CHASERS
“I want to tweet like Dame Dash!”
An eruption of laughter shook the booth we were sitting in at Rocket to Venus, a bustling corner eatery and bar in Hampden. Our meet-up fell on a ‘Whiskey Wednesday.’
Earlier this year, in an interview on Power 105.1 FM “The Breakfast Club” show, Jay Z’s former business partner Dame Dash shared his opinions on entrepreneurship and what makes someone a real man. No need to digress into the specifics of his antics –that story is only a link away. And by the bellows of laughter from Aaron Jones, 27, and Jason Bass, 35, you can correctly assume Will Walker, 32, was joking. The exaggerated version of Dash’s “be your own boss” notion, however, did hit some truth for the Treason Toting Company trio.
“You know what I mean,” Jones continued, “I want to be able to walk in a factory and be like, Jason’s office is there, Will’s office is there, mine is here, and the workroom is right here.”
We first met Treason Toting Co. at a CreativeMornings Baltimore talk back in August 2014. Jones and Bass were the guest speakers and the word ‘heritage’ was the topic of discussion. As natives of Baltimore, they spoke on the word with a familiarity of only those who have gone through experiences specific to the city. Add their business Treason Toting Co. to the mix, and they gave you a glance into their unique journey taking part in building back the city’s once thriving manufacturing industry, and sharing that with the rest of the world.
Treason Toting Co. came to life in 2013 after Bass and Jones had been working on a previous brand, Bass’s own apparel line, called IROCKFOX. Although having known Walker, an Ohio native and Morgan State University alumnus, beforehand and working with him on another project, Walker joined the Treason Toting Co. team as an event planner and social media specialist.
Fast-forward, TTCo toting bags and other accessory goods are being sold in a number of local shops, including Sixteen Tons and For Rent Shoes. And the brand has expanded outside of city lines to Frederick, Md., Washington D.C., and New York. They’ve experienced the monster of trade shows, leaving with connections to the likes of The Brooklyn Circus, and rubbing shoulders with actress and designer herself, Rosario Dawson. A collaboration with PF Flyers also happened, with the product being sold in places from Boston to L.A.
But what annoys Bass is that “no one in the business is rich, yet.”
“We all should be exploring the world and enjoying life a lot more. Fuck school loans,” Bass said.
Bass is currently enrolled in the MBA program at the University of Baltimore. Although a consultant for a number of beer and liquor companies, Bass has his mind set on making Treason Toting Co. his sole line of work. Jones, a graduate from Savannah College of Art and Design, also works full-time as a tailor. Walker is an engineer. But they’re all looking forward to that day of making the toting bag company their only focus. “I’m just waiting for them to say the word,” Walker said.
“We’re young, black dudes from Baltimore that make bags that are manufactured in Baltimore,” Bass said. “That’s what sets us apart from these other bag companies in the industry.”
Here’s to determined spirits with a strong sense of city pride looking to take such a challenge on, and by the looks of it, they’re well on their way.