Unicorns Are Real: The Mystery Box Saga

If you’ve ever ordered a Mystery Box from us, there’s a good chance you caught the bug. With a luxury material like full-grain leather, it’s impossible to find a deal as temptingly affordable anywhere else! And if you know about our Mystery Boxes, well, there’s a good chance you’ve heard about Unicorn Totes.

The term “Unicorn Tote” was lovingly coined by our favorite PLG aficionados, the Portland Leather Groupies. It refers to a Mystery Tote that is not one of our standard colors and can’t be found anywhere on our site. Though our Mystery Totes can be absolutely anything, customers often encounter our core  colors – great for folks new to PLG who are having trouble deciding which color to choose!  But, if you’re lucky, you just might find something never before seen, totally mythical, and absolutely adored. OK, you can probably see where the name comes from!

unicorn mystery tote

Because Unicorn Totes are rare, there are a lot of questions surrounding them. First, let’s answer the most asked one: No, you sadly can’t write in to request a Unicorn Tote in your Mystery Box. We’d hate to take the mystery out of the box! Really though, why do we make Unicorn Totes? Well, we’d be happy to tell you!

It's Fun

At first, we were cautious of using unfamiliar colors for Mystery Totes, but we quickly realized that many of our returning customers want something completely unique, and love a surprise. That’s why this spring, we decided to do something we’ve never done before: order bigger sample runs of colors we are considering for our lineup. As you can imagine, we can’t make every sample color we love a permanent fixture of our collection, but this ensures that whichever ones we don't send into full production will find a happy home in our Mystery Boxes! It’s just our way of letting the amazing PLG customer base get to experience what goes on behind the scenes. 

A way to stock colors that we otherwise couldn’t

The truth is that most of the bright, unique, and quirky colors we have are not best sellers. And when you factor in photoshoots, editing, web listings, promos – you can see that it’s a really costly and time-intensive process that’s hard to justify, even if we do love them! But if we instead add a limited run of our favorite unicorn colors to the pool of Mystery Totes, we can send them out into the world without worrying about all those other costly factors. PLUS! The aforementioned Portland Leather Groupies have a BST (buy-sell-trade) community for all things PLG, ensuring that these Mystery Totes end up in the hands of those who want them most...even if it does take a little bit longer.

mystery tote
Red with Tan handles!? @jtaylorak

Invaluable Customer Feedback

While the internet has made it more convenient than ever (and maybe a little too easy) to go shopping, there are of course still some drawbacks. For example, looking at a photo of one of our totes on your phone just can’t compare to seeing and holding it in person! With Unicorn Totes, we get to put the ball in YOUR court for once. Almost all of our new and updated designs are driven by totally organic customer feedback. So, when we get hundreds of emails from customers who absolutely love the same Unicorn Tote (Rockstar Red anybody?), it tells us that we should probably source some of that leather and make those bags available on our site.

unicorn mystery box

No Hide Left Behind 

The very first Unicorn Totes came from sample hides we had stored in our workshop. Now, the whole point of a sample is to try something out before committing, and we obviously can’t make a whole line of totes in every trial color we receive. But after a while, we found ourselves sitting on a whole bunch of hides that were collecting dust. So instead of scrapping this beautiful and functional full-grain leather, we decided to make as many totes as we could! There wasn’t enough to sell each color individually, but they made for a super-special peppering of Unicorn Totes. And since we’re always sourcing sample hides in our search for the next hit color, it seems like Unicorns are here to stay.

Because YOU love them

At the end of the day, Mystery Boxes continue to be one of our most popular products. They’re great for first-timers, awesome for gift-givers, and perfect for the undecided shopper. But we’ve found that folks keep coming back for more! While we probably don’t have to make Unicorn Totes to keep Mystery Boxes interesting, we know how exciting it is to open up your PLG package and find a truly spectacular and unexpected tote inside. We absolutely love how much joy they bring you, and want to keep surprising you with new, zany, beautiful colors that you’ll never see coming!

unicorn mystery box

So you see, there’s a whole bunch of reasons why we like to sprinkle these Unicorn Totes into our Mystery Boxes. Whether it’s practical, experimental, or just for the fun of it, we love to keep things interesting around here, and these colorful creations are one of our favorite ways to do just that. But now we want to hear from you – what’s your favorite Unicorn Tote? What’s a Unicorn you’d love to see? Nothing inspires us quite like your feedback – and with enough support, that Unicorn you’ve been pining after for months just might become our newest addition!