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Thread: Update on Backorders

  1. #1
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    Update on Backorders

    Those of you who've known us for a while know that, at any given time, you can count on at least some of our bags being on backorder. Most of the time it’s just a color or two that’s unavailable, but these days some bags are on backorder in every color. Basically, demand is outpacing production. (Hey, we're not complaining! But it's still something we need to figure out how to solve.)

    We've considered many options for increasing our capacity. We've debated them. We have lost sleep, drunk one too many ciders, eaten three too many cookies. And, ultimately, what feels right to us is to expand our current production crew in our Seattle factory as quickly as we can, while remaining true to the vision and mission of our company. That vision is: to make the best quality bags out there and to never sacrifice the fun of it all just for short-term success. And, while there are some great contract factories in the U.S., there's really only one we trust to make our bags. They're small like us, and at capacity already working just for us.

    So, what does all of this mean exactly? We're hiring production crew on an ongoing basis (see our Jobs page). We're buying even more new sewing machines. Getting smarter and more efficient about things we already do so our existing crew can make more bags in less time. It's what we've been doing all along, but we're pushing it that much harder now.

    This is all good, but it's stuff that's going to take time. So, for the first time ever, we are taking the radical step of choosing—temporarily—to not take backorders for some bags and accessories. That means when a color runs out, it'll be removed from the website, and when all the colors run out, we'll update that bag's page with a notice letting you know it's not currently available for order or backorder. We will give you the chance to sign up for a product-specific mailing list to be notified when it's back in stock.

    Yeah, we know—this is tough. We hope this is simply a temporary measure that will allow us to catch up on current backorders, and we'll keep you as informed about that as we can. Ultimately, we chose to do this because we didn't want to promise things we couldn't deliver. With the volume of orders and backorders we have now, our production crew is booked solid for the rest of this century (ok, not really, but we're booked out pretty far).

    Below are bags that will continue to be available for backorder, and below that is a list of the bags that won't be.

    You'll still be able to backorder these bags:

    Aeronaut
    Aeronaut 30 + any/all other new designs
    Packing Cubes
    Tri-Star
    Synapse 25
    Synapse 19
    Brain Bag
    Vertical Freudian Slip
    Horizontal Freudian Slip
    Vertical Brain Cell
    Horizontal Brain Cell
    Cache
    Snake Charmer
    Travel Stuff Sacks
    RFID Blocking Passport Pouch
    Travel Tray

    These bags won't be available for backorder for the time being:

    Super Ego
    Medium Cafe Bag
    Small Cafe Bag
    Large Cafe Bag
    Co-Pilot
    Side Effect
    Swift
    Little Swift
    Empire Builder
    Smart Alec
    ID
    Ego
    Zephyr
    Clear Quarter Packing Cube
    Packing Cube Shoulder Bag
    Western Flyer
    Ristretto for 13" Macbook Pro or Air
    Ristretto for 11" MacBook Air
    Ristretto for iPad
    Packing Cube Backpack (Aeronaut)
    Packing Cube Backpack (Tri-Star/Western Flyer)
    3D Clear Organizer Cube
    Field Journal Notebook
    Cadet
    Travel Money Belt
    Camera I-O
    Tripod - Lighting Kit Quivers
    3D Mesh Cube
    3D Fabric Cube
    Smart Alec Modular Pockets
    The Guide's Pack
    Founder's Briefcase
    Pilot
    Yarn Stuff Sacks
    Shop Bag
    Last edited by Darcy; 05-24-2014 at 07:53 PM.
    Current Carry: 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
    Registered User RhoFro's Avatar
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    holy frijoles! I'm really glad I ordered that extra Side Effect since it's on the 'No Backorder' list twice, you really really mean it!
    Is it wrong that we live with a philosophy of better have a spare "just in case" something happens? I say 'we' because I'm sure I'm not the only one. Very happy to see so much success for the company. High demand is a great problem to have.
    ~ one of virtually everything ~ Happy victim of Tom Bihn mind control

  3. #3
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RhoFro View Post
    holy frijoles! I'm really glad I ordered that extra Side Effect since it's on the 'No Backorder' list twice, you really really mean it!
    Is it wrong that we live with a philosophy of better have a spare "just in case" something happens? I say 'we' because I'm sure I'm not the only one. Very happy to see so much success for the company. High demand is a great problem to have.
    Hehe, thanks for the heads-up on the double Side Effect listing.
    eWalker likes this.
    Current Carry: 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

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    Eeek, so glad I put in my order when I did! (And even then, I couldn't order everything I wanted to! ;P)

    But in any case - hats off to all of you at TB for your honesty and commitment to maintaining your integrity. It sounds like a pretty fair solution. Best of luck bringing your capacity up to speed!

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    Congrats on all the hard-earned success! I'd like to say that I would love a feature for signing up for a particular color combo for a bag - this could serve both as "voting" for that combo for that bag and signing up to be notified immediately when/if that color becomes available. Might be a little difficult to implement but just a thought!

  6. #6
    Registered User Rocks's Avatar
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    There's an industrial sewing program at Dunwoody Institute in Minneapolis. You may want to reach out to those graduates...

  7. #7
    Registered User scribe's Avatar
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    Yikes! I'm glad I ordered loads of stuff earlier this month - though it means I'm one of the ones contributing to the problem

    Good luck with the expansion!
    eWalker likes this.
    Collections:
    black/aubergine + wasabi (WF, SA + UMP, TT, TSSs, SE, Swift, QK, YSSs & KTPs)
    forest/cork/linen + steel/olive (Imago, Pilot, SCB, COW, QK, OPs)
    olive/plum + steel/UV/wasabi (S19, SE, MCB, TSSs, SSBs, YSSs, OPs)
    black/steel + iberian (SE, SCB, FJN, TSSs, YSSs)
    Hoping for: FJN for iPad Mini; more bags in Aubergine; the return of Portable Culture!

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    as much as I'd love to behind my laptop say create clones of yourselves.. can you? xD Anyways, I would much love for you guys to stay the way you are and thanks for the dedication and unwavering philosophy that makes me hug my S19(1st and only bag for now...)
    Hollie and eWalker like this.
    Currently Owning: Synapse19[Black Codura/Wasabi] - Accessories

  9. #9
    Registered User Moose's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RhoFro View Post
    holy frijoles! I'm really glad I ordered that extra Side Effect since it's on the 'No Backorder' list twice, you really really mean it!
    Is it wrong that we live with a philosophy of better have a spare "just in case" something happens? I say 'we' because I'm sure I'm not the only one. Very happy to see so much success for the company. High demand is a great problem to have.
    I hope it's not wrong, I have five of them.
    List exceeds allowed characters. So I'll just say I'm plum and kiwi loving FOT!

  10. #10
    Registered User Ilkyway's Avatar
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    I am so glad about the conclusions you at Tom Bihn have come to. I'd much rather wait for a bag that is excellent than get a mediocre one right away. And I very much appreciate the transparency that you are showing. The demand you are facing reflects the need for high quality in a time where mass-produced products are near to choke the people and the planet.

    To keep the balance of trying to meed the demand and staying true to your values is not easy. At these turning-points many companies start to make first small than growing compromises. And after a while those cumulating compromises jeopardize the ideals the company had at its starting point. We all have seen this happening and I would hate to see it with Tom Bihn. So PLEASE take your time and sort it all out according to your values. All of us are eager to get Tom Bihn bags but I am sure all of us are willing to wait in order to get them in the known quality and made with fun/love for your work.

    Ilkyway

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darcy View Post
    . . .These bags won't be available for backorder for the time being:

    Swift
    Little Swift . . .
    Order placed - Swift in kiwi/kiwi/uv; Little Swift in aubergine/aubergine/wasabi; douple zip clear OPs.

    No backorder for shop bags sad. I cannot complain - I helped clean out TB's inventory of shop bags.

    Gone is the Synapse 19 in black cordura/iberian. Wanted one till Darcy posted photo og its big sibling in Cocoa/Wasabi. I hope that the Synapse 19 comes out in Cocoa/Wasabi in the future.

    Congatulations & kudos to TB for staying true to your values.

  12. #12
    Registered User taminca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walker View Post
    I hope that the Synapse 19 comes out in Cocoa/Wasabi in the future.

    Congatulations & kudos to TB for staying true to your values.
    +1 on both Cocoa/Wasabi S19 and congrats/kudos to TB!
    "Inside everyone is a great shout of joy waiting to be born."
    -- David Whyte

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    A difficult but really admirable decision. Thank you for keeping us informed.

    One thing I noticed: the Western Flyer is one of the bags that won't be going on backorder, even though both Aeronauts and the Tristar will be. I wonder if this is because it's one of the less popular products, or for some other reason?

  14. #14
    Registered User flaneuse's Avatar
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    Wow! Congrats on the success and for staying true to values you all believe in and embrace. Seriously considering ordering neither swift as I LOVE it for an EDC+fiber arts bag. And I will definitely be ordering a quiver for my spindle today or tomorrow. Debating on ordering another swift in a different color combo bc I love it so much.

    Looking forward to the be product drop in June. Hoping for some kind of FJN that supports the ipad mini and some paper/writing/sketching supplies.
    eWalker likes this.
    My TB family:
    A45 in black/iberian, black/steel BB S25 in black dyneema S19 in black/iberian LCB in steel parapack/iberian CP in navy ballistic/solar Swift in steel dyneema LS in Aubergine SE in steel 400d dyneema, nordic dyneema/solar, solar TTs various pouches/key straps/YSSs iPad mini cache LSBs, SSBs PCSB, A45 PCBP in Nordic dyneema 360mm Quiver

  15. #15
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    I'm so glad that TB is doing so well regarding demand for products and am even more glad I ordered stuff for my trip well in advance! I'm usually a last minute or late to the party girl.

    Making the decision to expand capacity and additional capital investment is exciting!

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