March 29, 2020

Factory Update: Making Face Masks

TOM BIHN crew members wearing and sewing cloth masks.

We hope you’re well and safe as you read this. We know bags might be the last thing on your mind — on the other hand, bags might be a welcome break from everything else that’s going on. 

First, let’s talk about face masks. Our Seattle factory is still at work — we’ve devoted our entire production capacity to efforts to make surgical-style face masks for our healthcare heroes due to the shortage of medical-grade masks. For the sake of healthcare professionals, we hope that real, medical-grade personal protective equipment is produced and restocked as soon as possible; in the meantime, we are here and working as fast as we can to help. 

We know you care about our safety as much as we do; see the list of the precautions we’re taking at the factory. We've also posted expanded instructions on how to clean and disinfect your bags. 

Some photos of our crew at work this week....

We at TOM BIHN are sewing face masks for healthcare professionals in our Seattle factory.

Nik working late one night (maybe about a week ago or so) on one of the three mask designs we can make.

We at TOM BIHN are sewing face masks for healthcare professionals in our Seattle factory.

Edelmira plying up the fabric to make a particular mask; Irma is cutting the fabric.

We at TOM BIHN are sewing face masks for healthcare professionals in our Seattle factory.

Mei sewing the ties on the masks.

We at TOM BIHN are sewing face masks for healthcare professionals in our Seattle factory.

Chun also sewing ties on to masks.

(The Original) Icon and (The Future) Icon
Long story short, the response to the debut of the Icon was overwhelming: people loved it. Still, several of you shared feedback on what you think could make it an even better bag; we (mostly) agreed and the next production run of Icons will have these changes implemented. Now, however, we're busy making masks, and we don't know when we'll make the next run of Icons. We did make a run of the original Icon a while back, and we're making those bags available for purchase now. They don't include the shoulder pad (can't make shoulder pads right now) so we're offering them for $50 instead of the usual $75. Full story here, including a list of the design updates.

Upcoming Debuts
We're working on debuting some new designs — even if it means the only photos we can share are drawn sketches — just so there's something fun and interesting we can share with all of you. If you'd like, you'll be able to sign up via email to be notified when the new designs are available for pre-order. 

34 comments

Vanetta Hunter - May 4, 2020

Thank you for the face masks. I will be so happy wearing them.

VIcky - April 17, 2020

Long time customer here. I work at a Seattle area hospital, and I wore one of your masks at work today! I was standing in my department director’s office, and I saw a big Tom Bihn box filled with masks. I was so surprised and grateful. Thanks so much for doing this work.

Ken - April 17, 2020

Can we buy these masks?

Stephanie Ryan - April 17, 2020

Fabulous leadership to pivot to what matters most in this moment, heart felt thanks to you all

Stephanie Paynter - April 17, 2020

Thank you for helping the frontline workers!!! My sister is one of them with several COVID + patients at her hospital. It means a lot that you are helping.
I am taking care of our parents (80 yrs old) — just celebrated their 49th wedding anniversary Mar 27. My 2 shop bags have been invaluable the past 4 wks hauling groceries safely to them.

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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.