The 4.4.8. Inkwell settling in to life with its new owner Raquel Franco, of BodyEditions…





My ol’ faithful leather bag broke a few months ago,I therefore jumped at the chance to test drive the Flat Iron bag and take part in the 4.4.8 Experiment.
The first thing that strikes you about the Flat Iron is it’s smell. It’s made of a beautiful leather and smells so good! It looks beautiful too, it’s a sturdy bag with a hard, set structure. I love the simplicity of the bag, I don’t wear a lot of print and my style is quite pared back and minimal so it would suit me quite nicely. It’s amazing what a decent bag can do for your stature too. I work in quite a relaxed office environment so it’s not a requirement that I look smart everyday but using the bag reminded me even more that I need to ditch my current canvas bag. A good bag will last a lifetime and is worth the investment for sure.
I was sad to hand the bag back after using it, It definitely proved that it would be a worthy additional to my wardrobe. Fingers crossed that I will get my hands on it at the closing event this Friday!….


The leather is great quality and the straps are a good length and can be hooked over each other to stay secure, the shape is lovely and unusual and it stands up on its own which I love! (…) Generally very chic, I got lots of compliments!!



BECKY BARRACLOUGH has charge of the Flat Iron for this final week of the 4.4.8 .Becky runs the marketing side of things at White Stuff.

HOLLY BLACK has just taken on the Split Wedge. Holly is an art writer and a curator; she contributes articles to publications such as One Stop, Critical Dictionary and Allotrope Press.

XXXXX XXXXXXXX xxxx xxxxx xxx xxxxxxx xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxx. X xxxx xx xxxxxxx x xxxxxxx xxxx, xxxxxx x xxxx; xxxxxxx xx xxx x xxxxxx. Xxxxxx xxxxx xxxx x xxx xxxxxxxxxx xxx-xxxx Xxxxxxx. xxxxxx xxxxxxx xx x xx xxxxxx xxxxx xxxxx, xxxx x xxx xxxxxx, xxxxxx xxxxx xxx xxxx.

JANE THOMPSON was handed the Inkwell this weekend. Jane works as a teacher and also spends a good amount of her time on the water; she is a very keen rower.

This is the final group of people participating in this experiment, so I’d like to say a huge thanks to them, and to all the others involved.



Here’s my update. I am loving the bag, I will be extremely sad to pass it on. Style wise it is very much to my taste. Minimal chic and black. I always carry a lot of stuff with me and and it is the perfect size for fitting everything whilst not looking bulky. I also like that it stands up on its own, which is great because a lot if softer leather bags roll all over the place and my stuff falls out. If I had to make one criticism it would be that the closure is a little awkward, but it really is a very minor qualm. Overall I love it! In fact I’m really considering making a purchase. I have been getting loads of compliments and have become very attached to it!

On Friday I am passing it on to my friend Xxxxx who is a drummer and also works in restaurant PR at Xxxxx Xxxxxx. I will send you a photo of me with the bag in a couple of hours. Thanks for letting me be a part of this experience!


1) The Flat Iron and I got off to a great start. On my first day proudly sporting it around the office I heard that I had been successful in securing myself a new job, surely demonstrating its potential in the professional world! The bag is cut from a beautiful quality of leather, is roomy enough to hold all of the bits and bobs I feel the need to transport around with me and – oddly for the fact that I perhaps like this best – smell great. There’s nothing quite like the smell of real leather. (…)
Other things I loved were the studded feet on the base of the bag which gave it a sturdy purchase and protected the bottom from becoming worn which happens to some bags through daily use. It also has quite an androgynous, classically simple feel which suits my style; understated chic rather than gaudy and in your face.
Closing the bag was a little difficult, as had been mentioned, but I think there’s an argument that the look is worth the faff!

2) As hinted above I think the bag could be a real rival to the deluge of Longchamp bags which seem to have flooded the ‘professional commuter’ market (and for which I am shamefully guilty). If pitched right it could convince people to spend a little more on something of quality that will last, with the benefit that it sets them apart with a bag that is more unique. This may sound a little obvious given my complete lack of fashion / marketing expertise, but I think featuring the bag in publications like Stylist and the Evening Standard could be a fruitful avenue to explore. The only consideration for the designer should be how big he sees the company being able to grow!

3) I’m choosing my friend Xxxxx to pass the bag onto. Working as the brand marketing manager at Xxxxx Xxxxx clothing company she has a keen fashion eye and a great sense of style. She’s been looking for a new bag after a handle-breaking disaster in Battersea Park so will be especially aware of the pros and pitfalls of a good handbag!


The bag is really cute! I have a penchant for small pieces (that I then like to stuff my life into…) – It would be great if the card holder was more of a small pouch that I could fit change etc into but you can tell it will be reliable. The fastening detail is different and I love the soft leather, more to the point it’s super easy to carry round!.



GABRIELLE MELVIN. Gail Wilson, last weeks participant, has passed the Flat Iron on to her friend Gabrielle, who works as an Inclusion Officer at London Borough of Barnet. Gabrielle looks after the right for people from the borough to access digital communication channels, making sure no one is overlooked, something which is only becoming more and more important.

SARAH EMSLIE has got control of the KettleBell for the next seven days. Sarah works at RAPP, an integrated communications agency with offices all over the world, from New York to Buenos Aires. They work with everyone from Toyota to UNICEF.

KIRA GOODEY has just received the Split Wedge. She is a shoemaker and footwear designer who runs her own company called Scarlet Fever. Originally Kira worked as a Print designer for Alexander McQueen, before undertaking an apprenticeship in traditional shoemaking techniques known as ‘cordwaining’

FRANCESCA TURNER has just taken on the Inkwell. She is the Fashion Editor at Rollacoaster as well as the Junior Fashion Editor at Wonderland magazine. Francesca is (I have to presume) also the first 4.4.8.’er to be able to speak both French and Finnish.

As ever, and always, a huge thanks to those involved.


One Conversion,
One Happy Coincidence,
A Good Suggestion and a Damn Good Drink.

From Gail:

I must confess. I am normally a backpack kind of girl. I’ve never understood how most men can go to work without a bag – shoving their keys and wallet in their pocket is sufficient – but me? (…)
However after one day with the Flat Iron, I’ve been converted. Not only is the bag big enough, and sturdy enough to carry my work life, it’s stylish, beautiful, smart but feminine – and most of all I feel great wearing it…


It’s been a pleasure taking your bag for a spin, had so much positive feedback this weekend!

I met Meishan on Friday for a coffee in the park and the hand over and before i knew that that was the 4.4.8 bag, i’d already commented on it! (…)
This weekend the bag followed me to the gym, the supermarket, a picnic, the races, and a job. So many designer bags are just covered in hardware and are so heavy before you even dare to put anything in it, kind of pointless. Seems really sturdy and versatile. The handle is also the perfect length for over the shoulder which i find a lot of other bags get wrong and it leather looks the best quality and looks like it would age well.

I was in the park yesterday with a photographer Xxxxx Xxxxxxxxx. She was Xxxxx Xxxx’ assistant for years and now shoots for dazed, showstudio etc. She commented on the bag and i told her about it – and she had already heard about the project! She would like to participate next!

I will be sad to part with it, I think you’re going to be a huge success! xx

Received this from Laura M, writing in response to this question I asked her by email. “What’s good about my bags, what’s different? Anything frustrating? (Please be bold, I’m looking for honest responses here)”

I got the bag yesterday – it’s lovely.

1) I really like it; good size bag, fits my big wallet in, my make-up which is bulky, and a few other bits. I like the fact the strap fits under shoulder. (if it didn’t, i wouldn’t like it). I like the brass detail but wonder whether given a bit of time the leather would stretch on the main fastening making it hard to keep it closed. Like the simplicity of the design and the one strap – unusual …

The issue laura raised here (which I really appreciate) is already taken care of. The quality of leather I use means that, whilst there is a tiny bit of movement in the first few weeks, it settles down quickly, and then won’t shift for many years. I’ve started pre-stretching the leather, before it’s cut, and introduced a new tab design which I’m really proud of. There’s an image of this development on the Tallowin facebook page at


Firstly, what I like about the bag is that its really well made, the leather its beautiful and its quite strong. I hate when leather bags start falling apart when you put things in them, so the fact that is quite resistant its a main point. Nothing frustrating really, for me its probably small ’cause I like to carry my diary, work notebook everyday and some other stuff that’s its probably not THAT necessary but it has helped me to EDIT what I need and what I don’t so its been quite interesting for me too. However, It’s actually quite a good size to go out .. And the clasp makes it very secure (I got my phone stolen twice in the last 6 months …without me realising someone opening my bag and taking it) ..

I am going to pass the bag to my lovely flatmate Xxxxxxxxxx Xxxxxxx, she is junior fashion editor at Xxxxxxxxx Xxxxxxxxx. Opposed to me she always wears small clutches where she can fit everything… so I thought she would probably like to wear this style.

Good luck with the project !

Espe x

ps: On my way to NYC with my boss, fashion director at ELLE, asked me where was the bag from and how nice it was.. (just thought you would like to know this).

Huge thanks to those involved, I really appreciate it. The next wave of 4.4.8.’ers will be announced shortly.



Only two more weeks to go till the 4.4.8 comes to a close.

GRACE JOEL is a freelance stylist, originally from Sydney, but now living in London. Her work has been featured in Dazed & Confused and Used magazines, as well as some of the more exotic Vogue’s; Turkey, Russia. Grace also contributes to a really interesting publication called Pages. She has taken the Split Wedge out with her today, working on a shoot at the races.

GAIL WILSON has just been passed the Flat Iron by fellow Scot Karen Dacre. Gail works at the Overseas Development Institute, a think tank which focuses on governmental policy and how it relates to poverty and welfare on the ground.

LAURA MARTIN runs her own PR company, looking after (among others) Foals and Metronomy. Whilst her focus is british bands, she has also been asked to work with Oya festival over in Oslo and Pitchfork in Paris. Laura is running (I imagine) round town this weekend with the Kettle Bell by her side.

ESPERANZA DE LA FUENTE has just taken over custody of the Ink Well clutch. She works at Elle magazine, on the fashion side of things. Her blog, called “Matches in my bag”, seems great, even if I can’t decode the Spanish.

There was some fantastic feedback from the previous participants, which is just below, so please take a look. Thanks again to them, and , as ever, a huge thanks to the new wave of 4.4.8’ers.


Karen was generous enough to write this about the Flat Iron.

Contrary to what you might have heard, being a fully-fledged handbag enthusiast needn’t mean shopping for accessories on a daily basis. Rather, it means investing in one and really really appreciating it. The flat iron is, I feel, a worthy recipient of such admiration. Mostly because it has held my attention for a full 5 days. The size is brilliant – big enough to carry everything I need but not ridiculously so. The look and feel of the leather is also perfect: I’m a big fan of a minimalist aesthetic and tend to quake in the presence of anything polished or overtly branded.

In terms of downfalls, the fastenings are a little problematic. While the studs look beautiful they’re not ideal for getting in and out of your bag whilst on the move (ED: This is exactly the kind of honest feedback I set out to collect; the current version has already had this amended with a simpler closure. MT)

To highlight the flat iron’s broad appeal, I’m pushing it in the direction of XXXX XXXXXX. A fellow Scot and a modest braniac, XXXX is a digital communications whizz at the Overseas Development Institute. I expect her to put the flat iron through its paces.

I loved how well the flat iron worked with every single outfit I have put on over the past few days. It’s discreet but different at the same time and as a result, has received a stream of compliments while perched by the side of my desk. I also took it to a number of events where it was equally admired. For this reason, I see it going down a storm with contemporary women with busy lives and a good eye for style. It’s not a frivolous bag but one that means business – a utilitarian accessory, if you like.

Karen Dacre, Fashion Editor, Evening Standard


The 4.4.8 was recently discussed by the LoweCouncil as a new model of marketing;

We’re yet to see any brand, large or small, attempt market research or marketing as bold, and ironically simple as The 4.4.8. Experiment. The idea of killing these “two birds with one stone” (getting the word out while improving on your product) is simply brilliant and allows Tallowin to receive criticism as it comes in, giving focus to any improvements that need enacting.




MEI SHAN NIMB: ‘Meish’ has taken on the Split Wedge. She is the Senior Product Stylist at Net-A-Porter; She also looks after the image styling for The Edit, Net-A-Porter’s editorial component, as well as for Mr-Porter, the men’s side of things.

TIFFANY HARGRAVES: Tiffany has just taken charge of the InkWell. She is a freelance jewellery designer; her skills have been called upon by Kenzo, Chanel and Atelier Swarovski. She is now developing her own label, due to be launched early next year.

KAREN DACRE: Another proud Scot this week; and another Fashion Editor. Karen writes prolifically for the Evening Standard, where, in the last week she’s covered everything from Nike Air’s Domination to the Bangladesh Clothes-Factory Tragedy.

SAM SCOTT: Samantha is an Artist Manager at Rocket Music, where she spends much her time working with musical newcomer Anne-Marie. She is also in charge of keeping the inimitable Grace Jones in line; something which must be as easy as herding a wild Jaguar.

These four will put the Core Collection bags through their paces for the next week, and then decide who to entrust the bags to next. The 4.4.8 Experiment continues!
As ever, a huge thanks to those involved.


Another busy week for the bags, and finally some sunshine. The Split Wedge headed up to Scotland, the Flat Iron travelled with to Italy on a shoot, whilst the Ink Well and Kettle Bell stayed in London, hard at work.

From Linda Andersson:

This is such a beautiful bag! So elegant and classic. I’m normally a small handbag kind of girl but must say that even though this is a bigger bag it doesn’t feel like one. It hangs great on the shoulder or on your arm. I’ve had the bag to work meetings, travelled to Italy and out and about with the girls, it’s been equally good for all these occasions.

I’m going to pass the bag on to my friend Xxxxx Xxxxx, Fashion editor at Xxx Xxxxxxx Xxxxxxxx. I know she will love the bag as much as I did.

From Zoe Lazarus:

I’m back in the office today, catching up on a mountain of work and I have to say the sight of the new bag now sitting proudly on my desk has really cheered me up as plough through the email deluge. I love the style and shape of the bag. My only criticism would be that it need to be a little bit bigger for my daily needs, but it is a perfect size for weekend. It’s simple, modern and understated but with beautiful details such as the fastening mechanism which are a joy to use and provide just the right level of utility/ornament. I also love the subtle juxtaposition of different leather textures, very accomplished…

From Camilla Mcdonald:

Mid (to late) Week Report: The bag was indeed taken to the Highlands and back, and I have fallen for the Wedge! The perfect size for the overnight getaway. Now I’m sporting it round the Dunhill office and it’s already becoming quite the talk of the floor. Our PR manager has quite literally fallen for it. Marketer’s at the ready – I feel this one is going to be a big hit.