Popwuping: Tom Bihn on design (2009)

“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

Read the full article on Popwuping.

Tom Bihn (with Riley) works late on a new bag design

Tom (with Riley) works late in our Seattle factory on the design that would become the Citizen Canine.

Good stuff for the world: Northwest Raptor & Wildlife Center

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.

Northwest Raptor Center

It’s a snow day

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:

It's a snow day at TOM BIHN

It's a snow day at TOM BIHN

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Our Made in USA board on Pinterest

TOM BIHN Made in USA Board on Pinterest

Check out our Made in USA board on Pinterest. We’ve listed some of our favorite Made in USA items and inspiration.

Merry Christmas!

From all of us here at TOM BIHN, we wish you a Merry Christmas.

That’s our Travel Tray and Katy’s Citrus Butter Cookies (recipe from The Pioneer Woman).

Tom’s Favorite Gift to Give

The Aeronaut Maximum Carry-On Travel Bag

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”.


Seattle store will open on Small Business Saturday, November 26th

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.

4750A Ohio Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98134

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Seattle Factory Showroom Open Saturday

Our Seattle Retail Store/Factory Showroom is open this Saturday (November 12th) from 12 – 5pm. The next Saturday openings will be on December 10th and December 17th. We’re also open every Wednesday from 10am – 4pm and by appointment (4750A Ohio Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98134

Seattle Store Open Wednesday and Saturday

Why we finish the seams

Why we finish the seams

What you’re probably looking at in this photo of the Co-Pilot bag is the iPad 2 (inside of a Cache) or iPhone. Notice too the finished seams of the pocket I’m holding back to reveal the iPhone. We forget to tell you that we finish all of the seams on the inside of all of our bags because we can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t. But we’re reminded, when we see bags from other manufacturers, that not everyone does. Here’s why we finish the seams: #1 – so the cut edges of the fabric won’t fray – frayed fabric can get caught in zippers and eventually can allow the seam to fail; #2 – finished seems will look and feel better to you, the user; #3 – lastly, they let you know we take this sewing thing seriously – we’re not trying to get it done and out the door as quickly as possible.

- Tom

Art for the Seattle factory and showroom

Tom discovered the work of sculptor Bill Rhodes on a trip to British Columbia in 2003 and commissioned the artist to create papier-mâché salmon for our factory and retail store, then located in Port Angeles, Washington. For our new factory and company headquarters in the Georgetown district of Seattle, and to celebrate our close proximity to the Duwamish River, Tom asked Rhodes to create a kingfisher, tern, and heron. You can see the birds (and the salmon, soon to be installed) on display in our Seattle factory and store, which is open tomorrow, Saturday, October 8th, from 12-5pm.
Art for the Seattle factory and showroom

Art for the Seattle factory and showroom

Art for the Seattle factory and showroom

Art for the Seattle factory and showroom