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About Us

How it started

When 10-year-old Tom Bihn asked his parents for money to buy the equipment he wanted for his nascent outdoor adventures, they suggested two options: get an after-school job and earn the money, or "just figure out how to make it yourself." Up for the challenge, Tom chose the second option. His grandmother had an old Singer home sewing machine which his brother Dan helped get running; Tom's mom taught him how to sew and his dad provided the foundations of the necessary engineering.

More than 40 years later, Tom's still at it — designing and making the best backpacks, briefcases, and travel bags.

What We Make (or What Makes a TOM BIHN Bag a TOM BIHN Bag)

design: 30+ years of design experience.

"The design process is always evolving and varies from one bag to the next. The constant operating principal behind the process is this: I don't want to make something that is already out there. It has to be unique — work better, look better, last longer, fill a niche that no one else has filled. I keep in mind that, because our products last (almost) forever, I have a responsibility to make them be very useful and as handsome as possible as well: I personally don't like being around things that are not pleasing to the hand and eye, especially on a semi-permanent basis. I feel in a small way like an architect."—Tom Bihn

Customer Bag Photos

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The Crew

Cody: Bag Expert

Former self defense instructor. Traded punching bags for travel bags!

Lucy: Assistant Shipping Lead

Lucy loves playing soccer, digging holes, and chasing her cat around the house.

Fiona: Happy Hiker

Fiona is now almost 1-1/2 years old! She loves playing tug, swimming and going on hikes.

Pebbles: Always Happy!

Pebbles comes to work with Aracelia every day.

Luming: Sewing Crew

Luming's ideal evening: movies and homemade cookies.

Mike: Customer Service+Shipping Manager

Mike loves to cook and play outside as much as possible.

Kat: Bag Expert

Kat loves cats, musicals, zombies and most nerdy pursuits of happiness.

Fong: Sewing Floor Manager

Tom says Fong is one of the smartest people he's ever met.

Ben: Materials Manager

History major. Builds his own motorcycles. Was a Naval Aircrewman.

Ling: Seamstress

Ling likes to cook traditional recipes and fruit dishes.

Son: Sewing Machine Mechanic

Son can fix anything.

Rudi: Seamstress

Rudi's idea of the perfect Sunday: reading the newspaper and gardening.

Irma: Fabric Cutter

Irma likes to take vacations (we miss her quite a bit) and listen to Mexican music.

Aravelia: Quality Assurance Lead

Velia's favorite movie is Alice in Wonderland.

Ying: Sub-Assembly Prep

Ying loves to spend time with her family and grandchildren. And she loves watching tv!

Abdullahi: Bartacker/QA

Abdul likes soccer. In fact, he plays it every weekend.

Maria: Seamstress

Maria's favorite tv show is Sábado gigante

Edelmira: Sub-Assembly Prep

Edelmira prefers Mexican music above all other kinds.

Chun: Seamstress

Chun is an expert on Seattle's best Dim sum restaurants.

Wing: Seamstress

Wing's passion is music.

Zhong: Seamstress

Zhong's favorite color is pink.

Lulu: Quality Assurance

Lulu's favorite movie is The Lion King.

Thuy: Seamstress

Thuy loves to travel, near and far.

Yanhua: Seamstress

Yanhua loves listening to Chinese music.

Kim: Office Overlord

Kim believes in karma and random acts of kindness.

Kasper: Goofball

Kasper is a 2-1/2 year old Irish Wolfhound mix going on six months.

Tao: Seamstress

Tao is an accomplished knitter. To relax, she cooks, specializing in amazing seafood dishes.


Yeah, you! You're part of our crew, too.

Tim: Warehouse Lead

Although Tim lives in the city, he'd someday like to live on a small farm.

June: Production Emeritus

June retired as Production Manager here at TOM BIHN in 2013. She's a legend here and still comes back to visit sometimes.

Di: Seamstress

Di likes to spend time with her grandchildren. And go shopping!

Andrea: Quality Assurance

Andrea loves to dance (to Spanish music!) and plays volleyball.

Kieu: Seamstress

Kieu likes to go on urban walks. The secret to her good health? Eating lots of vegetables from her own garden.

Ichiro: Mountaineer

Ichiro is a happy and vocal Lab/Husky mix. He's most at home hiking in the mountains but is pretty ok with hanging out at the factory.

Tam: Seamster

Tam loves to watch soccer, travel, and listen to a wide variety of music.

Honguyen: Seamstress

Honguyen bakes amazing things. Amongst her specialties: cupcakes.

Darcy Gray: Chief Creative Officer and CEO

Most unusual hobby: hiking at night.

Lisa: Sewing Floor Manager

Lisa likes traveling to other countries and working in her garden.

Canh: Seamstress

Canh is masterful at making delicious Phở. We're trying to get her to share her recipe with us!

Nik: Director of Operations, Designer

Kitties and robots.

Dau: Seamstress

Dau loves traveling to and throughout Vietnam.

Matt: Shipping Lead

Matt moved back to Seattle after 5 years in Southern California. Matt is cold all of the time.

Sheng: Seamstress

If Sheng's not at work, she's probably playing tennis or doing Karaoke.

Mo-Fong: Seamstress

Mo-Fong is an adventurous traveler and especially likes to visit countries she's never been to before.

Tom Bihn: President, Founder, Designer

Tom's favorite book is Young Men and Fire by Norman Maclean, and he plays the accordion.

Yin Mei: Seamstress

Mei likes to play Candy Crush. She's an accomplished cook and her specialties are baked chicken and cakes.

Candi: Seamstress

Candi plays the piano beautifully.

Luu: Seamstress

When she's not sewing at work, Luu loves to sew her own projects at home. She's also an excellent cook.

Matthew: Documentation Lead

Matthew loves games of all sorts. When he's not out exploring the city (and sometimes while he is) you can usually find him playing a game of some sort.

Araceli: Fabric Inspector/Spreader

When she's not at work, Araceli likes to sing, dance, and play the guitar.