Serendipity meets entrepreneurial vision. Emerging  tough and full of character, much like their leather, Rowdy has endured with strength through COVID-19.

ROWDY is a Cape Town-based leather bag company making quality, handmade leather bags.

At a Glance

Cloud based solutions for omni-channel retail stores.

With Shopify, Vend, Xero, Receipt Bank, and SimplePay Rowdy is able to:

  • Seamlessly integrate all aspects of the business
  • Manage the store from anywhere.
  • Effortlessly manage point of sale, accounting and payroll.
  • Automate bookkeeping 
  • Save costs
  • Free up time spent on manual tasks
  • Increase efficiency
  • Create a scalable model for expansion

A Strong Growing Brand

Fortuitous would be a prominent word for the story of Rowdy. It’s origin started at UCT where a student was given a classic leather rucksack which was so complimented, it sparked an idea to make more. Adam Young, the owner of Rowdy, first laid eyes on his future product sitting in his friend’s car boot.  Nick, having received so many compliments about his University bag gifted from his parents, he decided to start making them himself. 

The rucksacks were being made and sold on a small scale these at local markets and were small scale. Adam was involved in leather smalls and when Nick asked Adam to join Rowdy, he took the opportunity.

Rowdy has boldly grown in confidence and size. 

Now based in the industrial creative nook of Salt River, the roar of the sewing machines and music in the light and open factory makes for an inviting retail and manufacturing hub.  

 Adam found that the accounts and systems were not in a place where he could rely on the information to manage and make decisions.

The Challenge

1 April, was the date set for the new website launch, a few days into hard lockdown in SA and well-timed to focus more on e-commerce. Rowdy was well-positioned for booming success but they didn’t have the right systems to scale.

Rowdy Joined Iridium in 2020, where the goal for the financial and inventory systems was to make them clear, real-time and reliable. Ben Merckel is the accountant/team lead who helped advise the implementation of controls and systems and the correct framework for a scaling manufacturing company.

“The guys at Iridium Business do all the things I hate doing and am not good at…they integrated all of our systems which is essential for any business, especially a digital business.”

Adam Young, Owner

The Solution

During the lockdown, Adam downscaled and simplified.

He changed the production process from a team making a bag, to each bag being made by one person. “The team was making 120 tote bags per day in a linear production, now each person only makes two bags per day. Our aim is quality as the bags have a lifelong guarantee,” said Young.

Like any entrepreneur, Young outsources roles outside his expertise and skill set which is why he decided to outsource his accounting and systems to the experts at Iridium.

“The guys at Iridium Business do all the things I hate doing and am not good at. I can rely on their numbers, they are always accurate. They understand me and me them, they are straight talkers and do the work.

Find your solution!

Rowdy Bags brings their solution together with the best in retail

The Results

The result of the solutions Iridium brought to the table meant that our systems were automated. It gave us reliable data to be able to scale and make important business decisions. 

We can now run our business efficiently from anywhere in the world.

Adjectives most entrepreneurs would like to be applied to their finance system are: simple, clear and easy. Systems that integrate help save a lot of time and money. Time is the most sought after asset in startups and taking the initial time to set up a system that learns and runs itself will be an investment. This is what Iridium gave us – time.

Advice to Entrepreneurs

Have a very big idea for your life

The most outrageous target for your life. People should laugh when you tell anyone. Hold onto it. Nurture it and only share it where appropriate.

Show Up

Every day, once you’ve done the hard phone call a thousand times, it gets easier.

The Founder

When asked if he is creative or analytical, Adam believes it is more to do with inspiration.

Adam gets involved in the culture creation and design of the new lines. The shop and factory in the Salt River have the iconic words of “One Love” and “Blessed” on the wall. The staff have lunch together and play checkers outside with some beer caps from their neighbour Beer Guevara. The light and airy space that the bags are created in are open to the public. In the air of openness and transparency, Adam wants to cultivate an appreciation for the high quality and thoughtful bags by the customer.


“You might have noticed the words ‘Embrace Basic Goodness’ embossed on some of our ROWDY slings. Why is that there and what does it mean? At ROWDY, we are in the constant embrace of basic goodness. That means that we believe there is enough goodness to go around, and so the fundamental principle that motivates our every action is orientated around reconnecting with life in a fresh, child-like way to rediscover the world. Basically, we want to be good people that do good things.” Adam on the Rowdy’s “Embrace Basic Goodness”


Adam always looks to source and create in a sustainable way. Bags of offcuts of their high-quality leather are available to the public for sale. To get Adam talking is to ask about the leather. “The leather for a Rowdy Bag comes from Namibia where the cows are free-roaming and anti-biotics and growth hormones are illegal. The quality is high and the meat is exported to UK.”


“One of the unique stories of our bags is the imperfection of the leather. Cows go under a thorn bush and they end up with scars and all these markings are left on the bag, giving them a unique story,” said Young.

Be the next success story!