Back again with an email from Saddleback Leather Co. 


Because they send some freakin’ great emails. 

Last week, I saw the subject line of this email in my inbox, and I had to open it.

The only question I had in my head: 

What in the hell is going on here?

And that’s all you have to get your list to ask. If you can get them curious about what’s inside the email, they’ll click and open it. 

This click and open is the goal of the from name, subject line, and preview text (as well as your send timing and IP reputation). 

In any case… 

Introducing (again): 

Saddleback Leather Co is on a mission to: 

  • Raise The Bar On Quality
  • Innovate
  • Create And Encourage Others To Create
  • Influence Businesses
  • Encourage Quality Everywhere
  • Make High Quality Leather Goods Attainable To The Average Person
  • Preserve The Craftsman’s Art
  • Bring Art Into Everyday Homes
  • Help People To Know God Better

You can find their full purpose and mission here.

I’m enamored with the heart and soul of this brand. How they use their brand to live their lives, instead of the other way around. So much of what this brand does is exactly WHO I want to help grow and spread their message. 

And, if you’re into leather, then give them a gander. 

Rules: The Email Muse

Each week, I venture through the marketing wilderness to find highly-effective ecommerce sales emails… and I shine a light on what made them work. 

My goal with this weekly tangle with the email muse is to teach you strategies and tactics you can use with your emails.  

Where do I find these magical electronic pieces of mail? My inbox, mostly, since I’m signed up to lists that I want to be on. I also take suggestions from readers who have a stellar email they’d like to share. 

Did you get an email recently that made you smile, your eyes tear up, or flat out gut punched you? I want to see it. 

Forward the email to me at (chris at threebeaconmarketing dot com) with a brief note about what you liked about it. If I choose to break it down, I’ll give you a shoutout and link back to your site. 

And no forwarding me your own emails. That’s the only rule. 


Let’s get started.

Subject Line: Curiosity and Intrigue

One of the most powerful “movers” for people to stop what they’re doing and pay attention is curiosity. 

If you can pique someone’s interest, you can get them to pay attention. 

When you get someone’s attention, you’ve persuaded them to trade their time for your ideas. 

This is why “click bait” became such an issue. 

People would click on a curious subject line, trusting the sender to deliver on the curiosity, and the sender never did, which results in betrayed trust… 

Saddleback Leather Co. 100% delivers on their promise in the subject line: 

A newsworthy attention grabber in the inbox. 

This builds curiosity and skyrockets intrigue: 

A bout between a man-eating crocodile and a 27” adolescent beast. 

What kind of adolescent beast is this? 

Is it a child? 

Maybe it’s another animal, prey to the crocodile?

This is reminiscent of P.T. Barnum, an American showman, businessman, and politician, remembered for promoting celebrated hoaxes like the Fiji mermaid and General Tom Thumb.

Like P.T. Barnum (without the hoaxes or shenanigans), Saddleback Leather Co. leverages curiosity and intrigue to get readers into their emails, which allows them to earn attention, build trust, and sell legit, highly recommended products.  

Opening Image: No HUMANLY Breakable Parts

Here’s Saddleback Leather Co’s updated tagline: 

They updated their “no breakable parts” guarantee to include “no humanly breakable parts…” and this email shows you why they updated that. This adds even more curiosity in the reader to find out what Saddleback Leather Co. is alluding to with a crocodile and adolescent beast. 

Opening Line: The “if…then” Statement

The “if…then” statement is powerful because it allows you to speak about the reader’s pain points, questions, or concerns without addressing them directly, while also being able to build curiosity toward a solution you can introduce and expand on later.

Here’s how Saddleback Leather Co. does it:  

Saddleback Leather Co. has a wild 100-year warranty on their products. 

It’s unheard of in the industry… and they want to share WHY they can offer something no one else in the industry even dares consider. 

This builds on the curiosity from the subject line… giving more info without context.

Saddleback Leather Co. gets to deliver their message on why their products are great plus their warranty while also keeping readers engaged with the crocodile. 

This keeps people “on the page” and reading. 

Body Copy: The Reason for a 100-Year Warranty

Then we move into the first part of the body copy: 

Here are the “nuts and bolts” of how they can offer the 100-year warranty. 

They list out how they craft their products. 

They use language “like killing a fly with a shotgun” to put an image in the reader’s mind. This language makes the use of stainless steel tangible in their minds. 

The curiosity from the subject line is still lingering, which means the reader is in search of the answer to their question: 

What happens when a crocodile battles an adolescent beast?

This “open loop” is what keeps readers “in the copy” and reading your offer. 

As long as the open loop relates to what you’re selling, in some way, you can use it. 


If you open a loop for something that does not relate back to your product, the reader will feel betrayed when, or if, the loop does close.

Guarantee: Overengineered Bags

A sense of humor testing the guarantee: 

A humble admission that the leather duffle is almost indestructible. 

The subject line open loop is closed, here, and the reader gets a hit of dopamine for sticking around.


The reader is still curious to “see” the bag get destroyed by a crocodile. 

This is what I would call a “reverse demonstration of power.” 

It shows the product facing its limits. The flaws, warts and all, are shown, but…

This also shows humility from Saddleback Leather Co., because they know their bags, even with the way they make them, are destructible, just not by humans.

While most brands would NEVER put their reputation on the line like this, it’s one of the big reasons Saddleback Leather Co. has such a devote customer following: 

They’re honest with a sense of humor. 

Call-to-Action: Finally, the Bout Between Beast and Bag

A clear, concise CTA wins every time: 

The curiosity and intrigue is at its max once the reader gets to this call-to-action.

What happens when a give a bag to a beast?

You have to click to find out. 

Something else to consider, too, is that while Saddleback Leather Co. isn’t technically “selling” their duffle bags, right now, they did deliver their message on why you should buy one WITHOUT you feeling like you were being sold. 

This is the mastery and magic of great copywriting. 

You probably felt like you read an article about how a crocodile destroys a leather bag, but… 

You also read about how that same bag has a 100-year warranty and is indestructible by humans. 

This lesson alone could fill seminars for weeks. 

This is how you get readers to consume your marketing message without feeling icky or “sold to.” 

Image: Crocodile Video

Images can be super powerful in email. 

Primarily for increasing curiosity. 

It’s important to reduce image use if your open rates are going down and your IP reputation is at risk (e.g. your email are ending up in spam folder AND/OR your domain has been blacklisted).

This image gives you enough to have an expectation of what you’re about to see, but it doesn’t give away what actually happens between the bag and the crocodile. There’s a play button, so it’s obvious that it’s a video, for those who skim and scroll to this and click without context.

The Sign Off: Personal and Transparent

Saddleback Leather Co. keeps it personal with every email: 

Sign off is from one person, it’s personal, and it’s transparent about who the email is from.

What You Learned


That was a monster of a breakdown. 

Glad you stuck it out with me. 

Here’s the tl;dr of what you learned today: 

  • Build curiosity with subject line and deliver on the promise for entertainment
  • Share your own journey and update and challenge your own guarantees in public
  • “If…then” statements are powerful psychological mechanisms to get people to read
  • Use “picture words” to put images in readers’ minds (e.g. “like shooting a fly with a shotgun”)
  • Keep a sense of humor while you demonstrate your products
  • Keep your CTAs clear and concise, as to not confuse your readers
  • Images are useful in email, just keep in mind the tradeoff against your deliverability
  • Send emails from a person to keep things personal.

Now What?

%d bloggers like this: