At any given time, you can count on at least some of our bags being In Production as opposed to In Stock. Sometimes it's just a color or two that's sold out, but sometimes every color option is In Production. It's pretty much been this way since we can remember, and we spend a lot of time thanking you silently in our heads that we get to be busy at work doing what we love to do every day. Over the years, we’ve made procedural and equipment improvements to increase our production efficiency and hired new production crew members at a sustainable pace. While our end goal was to increase production capacity, we made sure we never sacrificed the quality of our bags or the quality of our jobs and lives outside of work just to be able to make more bags faster.
We have explored various options over the years that would allow us to more readily meet the demand for our bags, but we didn’t like any of those options. What we do like is working together as one big team here in Seattle—we like walking into our own factory, knowing the people we work with, keeping our own eye on quality. Making more bags—by moving production off-shore, for instance—would allow us to grow into an even bigger company, and that’s something everyone would want, right? Well, when we thought about it, we realized we didn’t want that. As of 2018, we find ourselves pretty darn happy with the size of our small business: we’re 47 people strong.
That means we don’t have plans to significantly increase our production capacity, which leaves us with the reality that we’re not going to be able to keep all of our bags, in all color combinations, in stock all the time. (Of course, we’ll continue to review and make improvements to our procedures and add new crew members as is feasible, which will likely result in a modest increase in capacity over time.) It’s surely a unique business model to say “We’re happy at our current size, we’ll make bags for the people we can, and we’ll enjoy our lives outside of work, too,” but it’s the one we’ve chosen. We hope it makes as much sense to you as it does to us.
All that said, we realize it can be frustrating to not be able to get the bag you want from us, especially if you're going on a trip or have some other time constraint. Putting ourselves in your shoes, we’d be bummed if we didn’t get to use one of our bags either. :) Seriously, though, it actually irks us sometimes, too—the part of us that wants to make people happy. Even still, and after weighing all the pros and cons, we feel the best decision is to keep following the path we’ve been on: making high-quality bags in a way that feels sustainable to us.