Every person who has ever purchased a TOM BIHN bag is, in a way, an investor: I cannot put into words how grateful I am that you folks allow me and my company to do what we do. You're helping us create some good jobs, as well as allowing me to have the time of my life. Thank you.
In the early years of my company, in a time before Kickstarter, I relied from time to time on the generous support of my family and friends. I've been thinking a lot about that recently. Often that support took the form of help purchasing a new piece of equipment, or a small infusion of cash to meet a shortfall in income. Sometimes it was a piece of advice, an extension on my rent, or simply an encouraging word. Our business is more or less a success now, and it's often too easy to forget the tough times we've weathered and the kindness that got us through those tough times.
Of far more significance than of the actual dollar value of these investments was the faith that was behind them. They reflect the belief that my family and friends had in me and my endeavor; the belief that I was on the right track and that things would work out -- even when sometimes I had serious doubts myself.
A big thanks to those who have helped out and whose faith got me here:
Left: Here I am sewing on my Consew 206RB sewing machine, circa 1988. My workshop was in the corner of David Meeks' bee barn in the Santa Cruz Mountains. My brother Greg helped me purchase this machine in 1980. (Here's a whole blog post we did on this very same Consew.) On it I sewed miles and miles of seams; and on it I made all of my early packs (excepting those I made before 1980 -- those sewn on my Grandmother's ancient Singer.)
Right: The 206RB is still in daily service in our factory: Tao sews the trim of every Organizer Pouch on it. Every one. It's like a monument to my family's belief in me.