Birmingham Luxury Bag Designer Adds to Men's Collection


Z Ballerini may still be in the start-up stage following its launch earlier this year, but the Birmingham-based designer is picking up steam with the upcoming release of two additions to its collection of luxury travel, business, and leisure bags for men.

The new pieces — the “Jae” wine tote and the “Vivian” everyday bag — will officially launch next week, with the label accepting pre-orders online and at select trunk shows.

“Today’s man wants the freedom of choice, the utmost in quality, and a hassle-free experience,” says Mike Z. Ballerini, the company’s founder and designer. “We created bags that allow people to organize everything in a way that works best for them, using natural, high-quality materials with a distinctive look-and-feel.”

Designed for a fundraiser at the College for Creative Studies, the Jae was named after the winning bidder who purchased a line of bags the business auctioned off at the event. It will likely be priced at around $300, he says.

Ballerini describes the Vivian as an everyday, modern briefcase that has a 13-inch MacBook pocket on the inside. He says it offers a smaller alternative to the “Jake” weekender bag, which runs for $750.

All materials are sourced from the United States, with the exception of the Lampo zippers that come from Italy. Otherwise, the wool is sourced from Virginia, the leather is from Royal Oak, and the hemp canvas is from California.

“For Charlie, which is our backpack, I’m actually using wool from the farm I grew up on for the padding inside,” says Ballerini, noting that his family sold the Capac property in 2003. “That will be for a limited run since we have a limited supply.”

While the bags are designed for men, Ballerini has female clients, as well. “We’ve seen a great deal of interest from women who are purchasing (the bags) either for their men, or for themselves. It’s been quite surprising, but we love it.”

Z Ballerini will offer a sneak peak of both the Jae and Vivian and its two upcoming trunk shows at KLK Partners in Walloon Lake on Dec. 3, and Scott Shuptrine Interiors in Royal Oak on Dec. 4. There, Ballerini will also offer a 10-minute tutorial about packing for a week in a carry-on.

Looking forward, Ballerini, which currently bases his operations out of a studio in Birmingham, hopes to have established a brick-and-mortar manufacturing operation in the area by mid-2015.

For information about additional shows, visit