let's get rowdy!


In 2012, when Nick Meinert was still a student, he kept coming across the same problem – there were no well-designed, durable leather bags to use for his trips around campus. And so, quite simply, he decided to start making them himself. Fast-forward to 2018, and Nick's brand ROWDY has grown to become one of South Africa’s go-to producers for beautiful, affordable leather bags. While the offering initially began with just the iconic ROWDY backpack, the range has since expanded, offering classic totes, duffels and sling bags, as well as a business range for the grown-up student such as laptop bags, briefcases and smaller essentials like travel purses.

In July 2018, the company was passed into the caring hands of Adam Young, friend to Nick, fellow entrepreneur and ROWDY enthusiast, who has set his sights on ensuring the brand is continually heading in an upward trajectory. 'The most special thing about ROWDY is that each item is hand-stitched from start to finish. Our workshop now has 17 trained leather artisans who lovingly make every bag and have full-time employment in our Woodstock factory. After all, our philosophy is centred in community – at ROWDY, we are a family. We play loud music every morning, we have a home-cooked meal every lunch and we check in on each other every day. We live the brand,' explains Adam.
ROWDY owner and director Adam Young.

As a brand, ROWDY was built on being a hardy, artisan quality bag that is designed to last and sold at an affordable access point for students. 'From the start, the business model has always been to avoid the middleman and, instead, sell directly to the customer. This enables our competitive pricing structure. It’s why we don’t offer discounts, as our bags are already at factory prices,' adds Adam. 

Clearly, the young company is no longer in its fledgling stage, with expansion continually on the horizon. From October 2018, the original ROWDY factory and retail space will be moving up two blocks from their current location to bigger and better premises located just up the road at 20 Brickfield Road (opposite DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel). Indeed, over the past four years, ROWDY has firmly established its presence within Cape Town, with a weekly Saturday stall at the ever-popular Neighbourgoods Market at the Old Biscuit Mill, as well as a permanent stall at the Bay Harbour Market on weekends. In July this year, ROWDY explored unchartered territory and opened their flagship store in Johannesburg, at Braamfontein’s hippest curated mixed-use development, 44 Stanley.

With the success of 44 Stanley, the ROWDY team is focusing on international expansion, their dream being to offer handmade, African leather bags worldwide, ensuring everyone can get their hands on a piece of ROWDY!
Adam at the ROWDY store at Cape Town's popular Neighbourgoods Market.