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In a recent article in Forbes, “What ‘Ingredient Brands’ Are And Why They’re Important,” Richard Kestenbaum writes about how the use of ingredient brands can help a brand communicate the quality and craftsmanship of its product.

Citing the suitcase brand Voicer, Kestenbaum writes, “Voicer developed an ingenious method for making a suitcase that avoids folding a suit, yet still allows it to go into an overhead bin. One of the things that jumped out at me when I read about the suitcase on the VOCIER website is their description of the zippers as “YKK® EXCELLA® metal zippers.” VOCIER clearly felt that associating the perceived quality of YKK would enhance its own image even if just in a small way. That’s how you use an ingredient brand like YKK. An ingredient brand isn’t marketed directly to consumers; it goes into another product that consumers buy.”

What ‘Ingredient Brands’ Are And Why They’re Important

I cover retail, fashion, consumer behavior and consumer products. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. There is one problem I’ve never been able to resolve when I travel with a suit or sportcoat: how to pack it in a suitcase that will go in an airplane’s overhead bin and still be wearable when I arrive.

VOCIER’s website describes each of the ingredient brands that are used in its luggage including the zippers that are used. “Durable PVD – Coated Zippers & Hooks – With a matt PVD – coated finish, every piece of metal found on the C38 ads an extra touch of sophistication to these versatile bags. Only original YKK® zippers are used on VOCIER products because of their unparalleled durability.”

They also mention the fact that they carefully selected other ingredients that go into their luggage including the leather, the high-performance plastic, and the viscose lining.


A subtle crack. A tiny rip. A loose handle. Any of these things will diminish the quality of even the most immaculately crafted bag or suitcase. So to maximize the life of our products, we spent months making VOCIER one of the most durable pieces of luggage on the market today.

In fact, many brands use expansive descriptions of their ingredient brands as a way to show the value of their own products.

Tom Bihn, a manufacturer of backpacks and bags uses YKK’s AQUAGUARD® coil zipper in their bags and wants to make sure that customers know it. On their website in the materials section they describe the zippers that they use in their backpacks stating, “We use YKK® zippers exclusively – they’ve been at it for a long time and they know their stuff. We could save a buck or two going with a generic zipper….but after all we do make the best bags, that would be silly!”

Tom Bihn also provides a great deal of information about other ingredients that go into their bags, including Aether, an ultra-light nylon fabric; ballistic nylon fabric; plastic and metal hardware; foams used to provide cushioning in the bags; meshes and knits; thread and several other ingredients that make their backpacks and bags some of the best on the market.


TOM BIHN has been making packs and bags for over three decades, and to a certain extent we’ve become experts about the various materials and components used in their construction. What follows is our effort to condense our rather vast knowledge into a simple glossary.

Recycled Firefighter, a manufacturer of American made wallets made from old fire hoses, as well as backpacks, bags, and notebook covers, states on their website that, “You’ll see the signs of a cheap zipper when the puller snaps off after a bit of use and the zipper will eventually come off track (causing a massive headache for you to fix…if you can manage to fix it).

“With YKK® zippers, you simply don’t have this problem (or at least we haven’t …in our massive amount of testing). They are as solid as they come and work every time.”

They also state on their website that, “In our products you will notice that our zippers and pulls are HUGE! That’s because we use YKK’s #10 zippers and pulls. These bad boys are bombproof!”

Why are YKK Zippers Good? See why we use them in our products!

We obsess over the finest of details in our products. Everything from how it’s stitched, to the color combos we choose and the zippers…It all has to be perfect or it doesn’t leave the door. Why Are YKK Zippers Good? If you haven’t used many high-end bags or pouches, you may think “a zipper is just a zipper”.

Maxpedition®, a manufacturer of American military-grade MOLLE gear for the military, law enforcement officers, and adventure travelers, also describes the value of ingredient brands on their website.

We Use YKK Zippers Exclusively

Since our inception, we have used YKK zippers for every zipper on every product because they are the best and most durable. An example of why YKK#10 zippers benefits the main compartment can be seen on the RIFTCORE Backpack. An example of why reverse zippers makes sense on the CCW compartment can be seen on the IRONSTORM Adventure Bag.

As an ingredient manufacturer, we see the value that ingredient brands add to customers’ end products. If any of the ingredients are not quality products themselves, then they will cause a failure of the product in which they are used.

We agree with Richard Kestenbaum’s statement, “Ingredient brands follow different rules than consumer-facing brands. They complement other brands without conflicting. They go inside and aren’t necessarily identifiable visually. Their quality message carries over to the brand they’re inside of. In turn, the products they’re built into benefit from the association with the ingredient brand and presumably the consumer gets a better product. If a brand can become an ingredient brand, it can command a higher price and be more profitable.”


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