Earlier today in the post Photos: Synapse continues to surprise we mentioned that backorders for the Synapse would ship in the next 2-3 weeks. Hours later, our Seattle factory crew surprised us with many of the Synapse backpacks needed to fill those backorders — that’s weeks ahead of schedule. All backorders for the Synapse are expected to be filled by the end of this week.
Chris Guillebeau’s new book The $100 Startup (#4 on Amazon as we type this) is not only an excellent primer for anyone who is dreaming of making the leap to being self-employed, but it’s also a great book for those of us who have been at it for a while and are hungry for a new point of view on business-as-usual. And I don’t say all this just because TOM BIHN is one of the featured businesses: I could hardly put Chris’s book down. It’s full of inspiring stories of the successes (and sometimes failures) of entrepreneurs, some who knew all along they wanted to own their own business, some who came to self-employment serendipitously — often by losing their 9–5 job.
Chris is a keen observer of business and of human nature: from dozens of interviews and the results of hundreds of surveys, Chris has distilled the essential questions you need to ask yourself before you start your own company. And if you answer yes, this book will give a foundation to begin the hard work and fun that’s in store for you.
He emphasizes that all of it can often be done with a pretty minimal investment (yes, sometimes for $100 or less). For me it was borrowing $900 from my brother to buy a new industrial sewing machine — since then it’s been largely “bootstrapping” ourselves up and growing the business with the growing demand. It’s been said that a new business is far more likely to die of indigestion than of starvation — in other words, staying a little hungry and lean will keep you smart and efficient. The businesses in The $100 Startup are living proof of this.
The $100 Startup is not a road map to guaranteed financial success, but rather a how-to guide for your own off-trail adventure into the world of self-employment.
And tell us about your small business, the one you’re going to start, or ask us questions about ours: join the discussion on The $100 Startup in the TOM BIHN Forums.
“The design process is always evolving and varies from one bag to the next. The constant operating principal behind the process is this: I don’t want to make something that is already out there. It has to be unique – work better, look better, last longer, fills a niche that no one else has filled. I keep in mind that, because our products last (almost) forever, I have a responsibility to make them be very useful and as handsome as possible as well: I personally don’t like being around things that are not please to the hand and eye, especially on a semi-permanent basis. I feel in a small way like an architect.” – Tom Bihn
The Northwest Raptor & Wildlife Center in Sequim, Washington is a nonprofit organization devoted to rehabilitating and caring for injured, orphaned, abandoned, or permanently incapacitated wildlife. We were glad to donate a Tri-Star as a silent auction item for their 2nd Annual Wildlife Mardi Gras fundraiser. Follow the Northwest Raptor & Wildlife Center on Facebook and stay up-to-date on their latest wildlife rescues and rehabilitations.
It’s official: we’re working from home today due to the winter weather here in Seattle. We’re answering your emails and phone calls (make sure to leave us a voicemail if we don’t pick up so we can return your call) but are unable to ship orders until we’re back at our Seattle headquarters, which we hope will be tomorrow. We’re sorry for the inconvenience this might cause you. If there’s anything further we can do, please let us know. Everyone who placed an order due to be shipped today will be individually contacted. Questions? Email us.
Staff photos of the snow:
Check out our Made in USA board on Pinterest. We’ve listed some of our favorite Made in USA items and inspiration.
People often ask me at this time of year which bag I most often give as a gift. My answer? The Aeronaut. Pretty much everyone I know travels at some point. They fly to Europe, Hawaii, take road trips to the Southwest, get a sitter and escape for a weekend to the coast, take their first real vacation in five years, visit family on the East Coast, or go on that round-the-world trip they’ve always dreamed of. The Aeronaut is as close I get to being able to come along with them.
As a musician and member of The Ecclestons, my friend Greg Madill tours all over the world. When I was first designing the Aeronaut, Greg and his wife Lorena were set to go on a trip to Italy. I gave Greg one of the first prototypes of the Aeronaut to test.
My friends Robert and Maggie went to Paris for their honeymoon, so his-and-hers Aeronauts made perfect sense as a wedding gift. Robert reports:
“My wife and I were given a pair of Aeronauts as a wedding gift, and we took them on our honeymoon. I try never to check bags, so the size is great. The handles on three sides of the Aeronaut make the bag super manageable, from the trunk of the car to the seat on the airplane. The shoulder straps deploy fast enough for that moment when you realize you need to run to the gate, then disappear just as quickly. We love these bags, and we’ve used them every time we’ve travelled. Six years later they show no signs of wear.”
Shop Bags make great gifts, too: pretty much everyone shops at the grocery store or the farmer’s market. And if anyone I gave an Aeronaut to didn’t get the full set of Packing Cubes and other accessories (3D Clear Organizer Cube, Clear Quarter Packing Cube, RFID Blocking Passport Pouch, Packing Cube Backpack, Packing Cube Shoulder Bag) they might this time around. Some of my favorite non-TOM BIHN stuff to give includes items from CB’s Nuts, wine from Bill Frick and and Oliver Schroer‘s CD “Camino”.
We’ll be open on Saturday, November 26th, in part because it’s Small Business Saturday but mostly because you asked us to be open that day. Katy and Eliam will be at the store ready to help you find the right bag. See you there! 12-5pm.
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