New Seattle Store Update

Since our move to a new, larger Seattle factory space in late January, we’ve been working on ramping up production to meet the demand for our bags. That means hiring new sewers, figuring out which new sewing machines we need, and planning how to optimize our production schedule.

We’ve also been thinking of our Seattle retail store/factory showroom (the only place to buy a TOM BIHN bag besides through our website) and working to make real that vision of a larger showroom with enough wall space to showcase all of our designs while giving you enough table space to try them out. It’s a work in progress, and while we don’t yet have a Grand Opening date, we will open on Saturday, April 16th from 11:00am – 4:00pm for those of you who have been patiently waiting for our store to open. The new address is: 4750A Ohio Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98134. We’ll post directions and more information as April 16th approaches. Excuse our dust, and trust that, once the store and factory are finished, we will extend an invitation to you (and everyone else) to join us for a Grand Opening party. If you will be in Seattle from out of town between now and April 16th, or you really need to visit the store, email Katy and we’ll see what we can do. Thanks for your continued patience!

The TOM BIHN Super Ego Messenger Bag in Las Vegas. Picture by Imago Metrics.

We’re on the ABC News “Made in America” Map

You’ll find us and other companies that manufacture in the U.S. via the ABC News “Made in America” map.

Tom Bihn Made in America ABC Special Map

Tom’s Shoulder

Two weeks ago, Tom had surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff; he had too much fun on his rowing team. He’s recovering well and will be back at his prototype sewing machine within the next few months. Until then, expect that in-process designs such as the knitting needle case and Camera Insert will be delayed. Thanks for your patience.

Seattle Store Update

Our factory is up and running smoothly at our new location and we’re working this week and next on the construction of our new Seattle retail store/factory showroom. We expect to open the showroom soon; we’ll keep you posted and as soon as we have an opening date, we’ll share it with you. Thanks for your patience!

TOM BIHN new Seattle Factory Showroom

Above: the slatwall and brick walls of the new showroom space.

Photos of Monday’s Cut: Large Cafe Bags

Photos of Monday's Cut: Large Cafe Bags

Araceli uses an end-cutter as she lays up the plys of fabric for Irma to cut.

Photos of Monday's Cut: Large Cafe Bags

Irma finesses her Lightning saw through the plys of 500d Cordura.

Photos of Monday's Cut: Large Cafe Bags

Multiple plys of Wasabi and Steel 500d Cordura is cut. It’s amazing how many bags we make with Wasabi lining.

Photos of Monday's Cut: Large Cafe Bags

Cut-off selvage.

Did you email us Saturday 10pm – Sunday 10am PST?

If you emailed us between 10:00pm Saturday night and 10:00am Sunday morning PST, it’s likely that we didn’t receive your email due to a problem with our server. We really don’t want to miss your emails, so please try to resend anything you sent during that time period. Our apologies for the inconvenience.

In stock: 17″ Checkpoint Flyer, Smart Alec, Shop Bag (some colors), more

Now shipping within one business day:

The Smart Alecin all colors: Black/Crimson/Steel, Black/Black/Steel, and Black/Steel/Solar.

The Large Shop Bag in Solar and Steel
The Size 4Z Horizontal Cache
The Size iPad Vertical Cache
The Size 6X Horizontal Brain Cell
The Checkpoint Flyer in all PC Sizes and the 17″ size

Katy’s new Kindle with Organizer Pouches, Small Cafe Bag (Photos)

From Katy, our Customer Service expert:
“I bought a Kindle to encourage myself to read more this year. Its compact size and weight will encourage me to carry it with me everywhere as some of the books I like to read tend to be heavy. We pack light, why not read light? Maybe I’ll finally get around to reading Anna Karenina.

If you’ve read a really good book recently, feel free to email me. I would love to know what our customers recommend and in turn build my Kindle library.”

Katy's new Kindle with Organizer Pouches, Small Cafe Bag (Photos)
The Kindle Sleeve in Cayenne Ultrasuede®

Katy's new Kindle with Organizer Pouches, Small Cafe Bag (Photos)
The Kindle Sleeve in Cork

Katy's new Kindle with Organizer Pouches, Small Cafe Bag (Photos)
In an Ultraviolet Medium Clear Organizer Pouch, inside of a Navy/Wasabi Small Cafe Bag.

maverick’s response to “Beyond the Smooth”

maverick posted this response on Facebook to Tom’s post “Beyond the Smooth”:

“i’ve gotten so spoiled by my aeronaut. i can pack in it for a trip up the coast, to the mountains, across the world, and anyplace else. it will even hold a camping chair for my trips to india! i’d be lost without it.

but, i must point out a couple of things…

first, if you’re flying air india and approach the ticket counter in new york with just an aeronaut on your back and no bags to check, you will have to deal with very confused looks from airline personnel because everyone else who is in line with you will be checking in two big suitcases, and will be carrying an overweight roll aboard onto the plane. if you’re connecting to air india from another flight, you may be asked again and again if you checked your bags through at your origin. on top of that, the person checking you in may have trouble getting you checked in because their computer wasn’t designed to accommodate a value of zero for the number of checked bags.

second, because you’ll walk right out of the airport while everyone else who was on your flight waits around the baggage carrousel for their bags, the person picking you up may not be there waiting for you. make sure that you let the person who’s picking you up know that you don’t have any checked bags so they arrive on time to pick you up rather an half an hour later.

third, you will have to deal with people staring. don’t worry, they aren’t staring at you – you don’t have toilet paper stuck to your shoe (well, i hope you don’t!). they’re checking out that gorgeous pack on your back! it’s alright. and if someone stops you and asks, and if you have time, describe the highlights of your lovely bag.

finally, you will get so spoiled with your aeronaut, tri-star and western flyer, that if you ever have an issue with your back that necessitates using a roll aboard suitcase rather than your tom bihn bag, it will motivate you like nothing else to get your back back in shape so that you don’t have to deal with a roll aboard and can continue to enjoy the freedom that these bags offer.”

Beyond the Smooth

“Roll-aboard”, carry-on size wheeled luggage is as ubiquitous as a delayed flight. We here at TOM BIHN advocate for the road less traveled, and offer carry-on sized travel bags that quickly and easily convert to be worn on your back. There are some significant advantages to eschewing wheels when it comes to luggage, and we thought we’d take a moment of your time to point them out:

  • Our Aeronaut travel bag, for example, is 60% lighter in weight than a comparable roll-aboard — you can carry almost five pounds more stuff without adding an ounce to your total load, or you can simply enjoy being five pounds lighter.
  • Our Aeronaut has 25% more internal capacity than the comparable roll-aboard. With less volume taken up by the wheels and associated stiffening materials, you have more room inside the bag: room for an additional change of clothes, room for gifts to bring back home. Think about it: if you can carry 25% more clothes, your trip can last 25% longer.
  • Our travel bags maintain their shape through their heavy-duty fabrics and internal dividers, not rigid plastic stiffening. This leaves our travel bags soft enough to be squeezed into small and oddly shaped spaces – into overhead bins otherwise deemed “full”, and even, as a last resort, under the seat in front of you.
  • Using one of our travel bags in backpack mode leaves your hands entirely free: you can make a phone call, flag a taxi, pay for a latte, or give your mom a hug — all the while with your belongings safely attached you.
  • With your load secured to your back, your travels are not limited to smooth floors: down dirt roads, cobblestone alleys and rutted pavement lay new adventures, not obstacles.
  • Less impact on your neighbors — as you use buses, trains, even just walking down a crowded airport concourse, you will take up far less space and impose less on those around you; no noisy wheels means you’re quieter, too.
  • Certainly wheeled luggage has a place, and for folks who aren’t physically able to carry the weight of their luggage it can’t be beat. But if you are reasonably fit and up for the world that lies beyond the smooth, our convertible soft luggage may be the ticket.

    - Tom Bihn

    Photos by Alexandra Guerson of her TOM BIHN Aeronaut
    Above: Alexandra Guerson’s photos of her Aeronaut.