When some people think of Baltimore, they immediately think of the HBO series The Wire, and the depiction of crime, drugs, and scandal. However, many fail to recognize the city’s untapped talent. Through Treason Toting Company, founders are making great strides to change the narrative and have been doing so since the start of their company in 2013.
The business duo is a force to be reckoned with; Bass has a background in business and marketing and has worked with top brands, while Jones is a skilled tailor who previously worked for Nordstrom. Collectively, their talent and creativity is the foundation of their business. It’s no surprise that the company’s products have caught the attention of NBA star Stephen Curry, who was seen wearing the Charles backpack from the original spring/summer collection, not to mention J. Crew and Nordstrom both having previously featured Treason Toting Company for pop-up shops. It won’t be long before people are unable to mention Baltimore and Treason Toting Company in the same sentence.
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Aaron and I were taking a break from a previous project in streetwear and trying to figure out our next project as we ventured from neighborhood dives to cocktail clubs. After about a year of expressing our interest in doing something impactful, while being comforted with the advice that we should pursue something more traditional in a city that was working hard to recover from issues with violence and drugs, we decided that current conditions were not acceptable and that we had to commit social treason to change the narrative. Aaron developed our first product, a weekender bag that allowed us to build a brand that is focused on being streetwise and cultivated. We want to inspire people to explore the world and themselves.
Baltimore inspires our business every day. We are from Baltimore, born and raised. This city has roots in the textile industry—seeing all the old hand-painted signs around the city serve as a faded reminder of our past. We also commonly come in contact with Baltimoreans that have become comfortable with staying in one neighborhood for the majority of their lives. We are motivated to create a brand that inspires them to explore more and learn from new experiences.
Who is your primary target market for your products?
Our primary consumers are individuals that are tenacious in pursuing their passions. They are on a continuous journey of self-discovery and awareness. They can transition smoothly from job to side hustle and do things with intention. In most cases, we are talking to the urban millennials that are hopeful and willing to explore.
Being able to create a self-sustaining business that hires in Baltimore and manufactures in Baltimore. We want to contribute to the greatness that is Baltimore. Our city is behind us and supports us every day.
We are a company of values and principles. We chose to stay in our hometown and create the highest quality bag from materials for products that don’t break down, they break in. We are people you can touch and feel every day around the city. There is a soul to the brand that people can easily pick up on.
BE: What do you believe is a misconception of entrepreneurship?
People believe that once you have a business, you are instantly wealthy and have unlimited amounts of free time. It is not easy and not for everyone. We take it very seriously, because Treason Toting Co. will be our legacy.
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