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  1. #1
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    Questions you've wanted to ask Tom...

    The next issue of our email newsletter will be sent out the morning of Tuesday, October 27th.

    One of the features of the newsletter will be an interview with Tom. What questions will we ask him? That's up to you - post, in this thread, questions that you'd like Tom to answer.

    The fine print: We won't likely have space to include all questions and answers to them in the next newsletter, but this may become an ongoing feature: don't worry if we don't select your question this time.

    Ask away!
    Current Carry: Skookum Dog Citizen Canine prototype, Founder's Briefcase (every day carry), Small Cafe Bag (every day carry), Shop Bags (groceries, extra random stuff), Aeronaut 45 (travel), Synapse 19 (day hikes), Smart Alec (longer day hikes), Skookum Dog Road Duffel (Medium) (travel), Clear Organizer Wallet, Travel Stuff Sacks, Organizer Cubes

  2. #2
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    hi tom,

    you come up with bag designs that are absolutely amazing both in terms of function and looks!

    it is clear that you are uncompromising and put in the time to perfect each design. this is evident in the recently released synapse, as well as in bag designs that have been around for some time.

    can you describe to us how you design a bag?

    (sorry, i know that was a long winded questions

    thanks!!

  3. #3
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    Where's the Ultrasuede Large Cafe Bag?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by maverick View Post
    hi tom,

    you come up with bag designs that are absolutely amazing both in terms of function and looks!

    it is clear that you are uncompromising and put in the time to perfect each design. this is evident in the recently released synapse, as well as in bag designs that have been around for some time.

    can you describe to us how you design a bag?

    (sorry, i know that was a long winded questions

    thanks!!
    maverick,

    I know that you watch all the videos that are linked into the Blog posts, including the ones that have interviewed Tom and include some related questions. Perhaps I could make this more specific (and address issues of anxiety) by asking about what happens that prompts a redesign late in the process and typically how these issues get resolved? For example, the Synapse recently went through a late stage re-design. Also, there are some bags like the Lux (predecessor of the Swift) that were originally envisioned as having an attachable component (for laptop, or diapers), that ultimately didn't work out as planned. (I admit, I was never able to imagine how the zip-in component would work in those instances). I'm curious about the evolving design process, since it's all the myriad details that make the bags "work" as a whole that is key to what we love about these bags.

    Cheers,

    moriond

  5. #5
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    Oh, that's a great question, moriond. I'll piggyback off of yours with a couple more:

    • What are some concepts you almost produced, but then decided not to? Why?
    • What is the reasoning behind retiring some of the products, such as the eM2?
    • Are there any more collaborations in the future such as the one you did with Knitty regarding the Swift?
    Meg
    -----
    Proud owner of a conifer/steel Synapse, indigo/black Swift, a linen/olive Small Cafe Bag, a couple of yarn stuff sacks, a clear organizer wallet and various organizer pouches

  6. #6
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    Just in case people haven't already seen this, here's one of the video interviews I was talking about (from The Bleeding Edge for Gear Live).

    moriond

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by moriond View Post
    Just in case people haven't already seen this, here's one of the video interviews I was talking about (from The Bleeding Edge for Gear Live).

    moriond
    hi moriond,

    that is indeed a very cool video interview!

    thank you for sharing!

  8. #8
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    i had another question -

    we've been discussing carrying another color in the dyneema /nylon rip-stop fabric.

    what are the limitations for you as a company to different colors in the various fabrics - whether it's the dyneema, 1000d cordura, 500d cordura, 1050d ballistic nylon, or the new 420d nylon? do the fabric manufacturers have a selection of certain colors for each fabric, or are you able to say you would like to have a fabric dyed in a particular color?

  9. #9
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    Here's one!

    Great idea here! I have a burning question!

    Lots of bag companies make pretty bags, and that's about it. What stands out for me with Tom Bihn (besides quality, innovative product design, customer service, etc.) is how each new product perfectly meets a set of needs and functions unlike anything we have seen before. Whether it is a new bag or a new accessory, it immediately has a place in our daily lives and works seamlessly with the other Tom Bihn products.

    Here's my question: how does Tom identify his next projects? What process does he go through to identify the next "killer app" that seems to instantly meet a need that we may not have known we had before? How does he evaluate these projects against customer needs to determine which products should/should not make the cut?

    Thanks!

    --Bob
    ----------------
    Bob P.
    Magic Tiki Studios

    Empire Builder (black/steel), Brain Bag (steel), Small Padded Organizer Pouch, Clear Wallet, Soft Cell, Snake Charmer (cayenne) and assorted trimmings.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by maverick View Post
    hi moriond,

    that is indeed a very cool video interview!

    thank you for sharing!

    I second that! Very informative.

  11. #11
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    When did Tom Bihn and the Company moved from Santa Cruz to Seattle?

    Could we have a Collection timeline?

    Limpet
    Croissant

    for example Synapse 1 early fall 2009
    Synapse 2 mid fall 2009 (softer fabric added at the back)


    We could also add a thread or a forum about about vintage Tom Bihn, found out where they are in the world and see the evolution of design for each product.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by maverick View Post
    i had another question -

    we've been discussing carrying another color in the dyneema /nylon rip-stop fabric.

    what are the limitations for you as a company to different colors in the various fabrics - whether it's the dyneema, 1000d cordura, 500d cordura, 1050d ballistic nylon, or the new 420d nylon? do the fabric manufacturers have a selection of certain colors for each fabric, or are you able to say you would like to have a fabric dyed in a particular color?
    We've seen some discussion of some related points in the forum. It's been particularly difficult to get good quality dyed colors for the ballistic nylon (which is another reason that the introduction of the Tri-Star in the new Indigo color has been such a hit). I believe that the economics of ordering large dye lots has played a part in some of this availabilty; for the Aeronaut, I believe they shared access to a larger order of Kiwi and Grape (and maybe also Hunter).

    Some past colors that I really liked are shown in this blog post about pouches in limited edition colors.

    See this thread, If the Brain Cell came in only in two colors… for more discussion on the topic of having to make color choices.

    These are all great questions. I'd like to know more about the Tom Bihn timeline (backpack's question) and also the identification/prioritization of the next project (MagicTiki's question).

    moriond

  13. #13
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    I remember the Tom Bihn store in Santa Cruz. From the pictures I've seen of the Seattle store, I somehow don't think it would fit in the old store - unless the old place was secretly a Tardis.

    Walked in one day, Tom sat behind (what I remember as) a huge black steampunk-looking industrial sewing machine, with all sorts of great bags on the walls. I just wanted a small bag and he let me order an all-black small cafe bag (again, iirc, he had mostly two-toned bags back then). When I took it home, my husband liked it so much he went and ordered himself a green one. Still have both of them, both in great condition.

    Question for Tom: Would it be possible to have smaller items? I'm thinking pen holders or wraps (the kind with slots), notebook holders, those kinds of things. I ask because most of those items are only available in leather or cutesy patterns. I'd love a pen wrap with ultrasuede inside.

  14. #14
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    These are great questions - we're having a lot of fun with this. Thanks, everyone.
    Current Carry: Skookum Dog Citizen Canine prototype, Founder's Briefcase (every day carry), Small Cafe Bag (every day carry), Shop Bags (groceries, extra random stuff), Aeronaut 45 (travel), Synapse 19 (day hikes), Smart Alec (longer day hikes), Skookum Dog Road Duffel (Medium) (travel), Clear Organizer Wallet, Travel Stuff Sacks, Organizer Cubes

  15. #15
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    hi tom,

    i have one more question (even though i won't get to read the responses until i return from my trip next monday...) - can you describe the process of how you arrive at a name for a bag, as well as the story behind how you arrived at the names of the products that exist today?

    thanks!

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