June 21, 2023

Exploring How We Choose Our Custom Colors

A glimpse at our Materials wall

One of the best parts about manufacturing our own bags in-house is that we can offer a wide selection of colors to our customers. Since we don't use an outsourced manufacturer, we're not subjected to a strict minimum order quantity for any one colorway. That means that most of the time, we have the flexibility to offer a bag in many different colorways, often ranging from 8 to 16 different options, depending on the availability of our fabrics at the time. We take pride in our color offerings and always strive to keep it fun for you guys! That's why we aim to introduce new colors seasonally.

Another perk of handling our own manufacturing is that we work directly with our textile mill partners to develop the perfect color dips. At TOM BIHN, we don’t settle for ordinary - we take pride in creating bags that are as unique as you are.  Each color in our 200 Halcyon and 210 Cerylon collections, as well as the majority of our 630 Ballistic colors, are entirely custom dipped to our exact preferences. Our palette is unique to us and not available elsewhere.

The process of choosing new custom colors begins approximately 9 months to one year before our planned debut date. Since the colors are custom, the lead times are longer than usual. During our selection process, we evaluate a variety of colors. Before we settled on Cerise and Seafoam for our 200 Halcyon line, we considered a total of 10 colors, ranging from vibrant to muted to jewel tones. We think about what would enhance our current offerings, what feels missing from the collection, and what else could complement our current exterior fabrics.  Our inspirations are drawn from the world around us - the vibrant Seattle streets, breathtaking PNW landscapes, and (of course) the desires of our valued customers.

A glimpse at some of the rejected samples

Once we’ve narrowed down our options to our partner mills, they begin the process of dipping samples. The timeline to receive sample color dips is usually 4-6 weeks. For the 10 colors we wanted samples of, we received 3 variations per color, resulting in 30 sample color dips! At first glance, these variations may seem almost indistinguishable, but under different lighting conditions, the subtle differences become noticeably apparent.

You might be wondering: how did we end up choosing Cerise and Seafoam from so many options? A small group of us, the TOM BIHN Design Team, discusses and votes on the colors. Cerise, was an obvious choice. We knew we wanted a pink Halcyon – pink is by far our most requested color. Just like our Zest and Solaris Halcyon colors, Cerise demands your attention, and exudes an infectious vibrancy that felt right at home with our bold shades. Additionally, we wanted to balance Cerise with something more soothing and understated, yet capable of standing on its own. We were captivated by the fluorescent nature of Seafoam, which falls perfectly between green and blue, evoking the image of the beach under the summer sun. And depending on the lighting, you can even catch hints of yellow. Seafoam is the perfect complementary color to Tidal, Dusk, and Northwest Sky, subtle tones with an understated elegance.

Final samples of Cerise and Seafoam next to Tidal and Steel 200D Halcyon

Truly, there are no bad colors, and in a perfect world, we might have chosen all of the sample dips we received. Who knows, one of the colors that didn't make the final cut this time might find its place in the choices for the next season. We’re always curious to hear your thoughts – What colors would you like to see next?


Js - June 23, 2023

Thanks for the blog and for the new seasonal colors! I left a comment on one of your products and I feel actually heard by a company. I’ll be saving up for something in one of your new colors

Daniel - June 23, 2023

The blue in the far right above (with cerise & seafoam) looks like a navy halcyon. While dark for an interior, makes you wonder with how nice it looks there. Same goes for a purple halcyon akin to aubergine.

Jessica Abrams - June 23, 2023

I love Tom Bihn bags but are there any plans to do the daylight briefcase and daylight backpack in more FUN colors? I want to order one but they are all very drab neutrals on the outside. Tom Bihn is the only manufacturer that makes bags that are really washable and look PERFECT and new afterwards. (I put my purses, 1 at a time in a large mesh laundry bag just in case.) Are there any plans to manufacture any in a brighter and more cheerful color, ideally in a green color. thank you very much! jessica
TOM BIHN replied:
Thanks for the feedback Jessica! We’ve been thinking about introducing 1-2 new exterior ballistic nylon colors into the line, hopefully something fun for those who like less-neutral exteriors!

Alex - June 22, 2023

Blacks and greys with original TB label please!
TOM BIHN replied:
Black 200d? That’s interesting!

wendy - June 22, 2023

Always fun to get more sneak peeks into how everything works, thanks for sharing this!
I don’t know if there’s any color I wouldn’t try out, but I’m liking the three in the far left column the most; we haven’t had a lavender, coral, or peach type color yet.
I’d also love to see a halcyon version of Grass 210 ballistic or some other clear bright happy lime green.
TOM BIHN replied:
Thanks Wendy! We really liked the lavender too, as well as the coral and peach-type colors. And a happy lime color is interesting. We will have to explore some more custom dips!

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We're the TOM BIHN crew: we design bags, make bags, ship bags, and answer questions about bags. Oh, and we collaborate on blog posts, too.