We could call 2014 the Year Of Design. The long-awaited Aeronaut 30 and The Parental Unit were released; and we surprised everyone with the Daylight Briefcase and Daylight Backpack. The Night Flight Travel Duffle was introduced as a carry-on bag but also quickly gained popularity as a camera bag. Tom recalled a design from his past: the Travel Laundry Stuff Sack, first conceived by Tom in 1981 when he was hosteling around Europe.
Double Organizer Pouch
Night Flight Travel Duffle
Travel Laundry Stuff Sack
Synapse 19 Freudian Slip
Synapse 25 Freudian Slip
The Parental Unit
We also debuted a few new colors:
Verde 1050d U.S. high tenacity ballistic nylon
Red Blend 1000d Cordura
Azure 1000d Cordura
Orange 152 1000d Cordura
And when we weren't busy designing and making all of these new designs, we found time to write a bit about design and the tools we use:
Design Beyond “Fortuitous Contrivings”
Brief Thoughts On Vision and Need
25 Years of Service: Consew 206RB
This, our new blog -- Field Trips -- debuted in 2014. The driving force behind the design change was a desire to feature more in-depth essays and interviews and bigger photos. (If you're missing the quick news/updates about stuff like which bags are on backorder/which bags are back in stock, check out this thread in our Forums.) It's a blog less authored by us than all of us; your contributions make Field Trips what it is. Here's a few of our favorite posts from 2014:
Knit for the TB Crew
tpnl's TB Design Spotlight
Reasons To Go: Connections and Depth
mrbrown goes to Japan
Ben's Knot Tutorial
Membership and activity in Forums grew considerably in 2014 and it's been awesome. We're taking some time right now to reflect on that growth and think about how our community can continue to grow and invite new folks, new ways of thinking about things -- while still retaining everything that makes our community so awesome and so unique. We tried to select and highlight some of our favorite forum posts and threads of 2015, but there were just too many great ones to single out any few in particular. Ok, wait a second: one we've got to mention is the "Your Photos Are Needed" thread. Recognizing that in our community are many talented photographers, we put the word out, asking for everyone to submit photos of their bags in action. And everyone responded: 26 pages of photos and counting!
The reflection on growth that we mentioned above is, in a way, parallel to the deep thinking we're doing about the growth of our company as a whole. Our bags are more in demand than ever before (we know... we say that every year!) and some continue to be on backorder at any given time. We've been working on meeting that demand, and we grew our Seattle sewing crew by 20% in 2014. Maybe that doesn't seem like a lot, but we set the bar high: only the most talented and positive folks join our team. There are great things about growing as a company and there are challenges; right now, we're taking the the time to consider both as we chart our course for the next year.
Yellowstone National Park, the Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho, France, England, Australia, Vietnam, The Phillipines, California, Oregon, New York, Uganda: just a few of the places the TOM BIHN Crew and our friends and family traveled to this year.
While we love to travel — and hope to do more of it in 2015 — our work designing and making bags and running a company keeps us tied to our factory and company headquarters in Seattle. And that’s where you come in: you guys go amazing places. You tell us about them, and it inspires and motivates us: we get to design bags that people take on relief missions to Haiti? Really?
Here's just a few of the journeys you shared with us in 2014:
Benidorm/Spain with... You'll see
Mr. Guide's Pack Goes to Washington
Couple of pics from Venice and Amsterdam
Field Journal Notebook and Bears at Katmai
Overnighter with the Daylight Backpack!
My Smart Alec rules Folklife
One-Bagging it for Four Days, Penang, Malaysia
A Christmas Trip with the A30
Tom Bihn gear goes to New York City
6 Days in Surabaya, Indonesia
(Keep 'em coming: send your photos and stories to firstname.lastname@example.org or post them in our Forums.)
Stay tuned! Here's a hint of what will debut in 2015...
Skookum Dog Citizen Canine
Cross-Body Knitting Bag
TOM BIHN Luggage Tag
And there's many other designs in the works that we can't even hint about yet!
More of your photos, stories, and essays for this blog: submit your work to email@example.com