Let's get right to it...
Revising our manufacturing has brought some exciting opportunities to improve on our initial product. Here’s a breakdown of our some of that progress, focusing on the opening mechanism.
Improving the opening mechanism to be more robust, elegant, and foolproof was the first task for our new engineers and we are excited about the solutions presented. Here’s a prototype video showing the re-designed opening motion. It kind of reminds us of a hard-top convertible… must be car designers ;)
Note: This is a prototype built to test ONLY the mechanism, not the look or final shapes. Additionally, this movement will be fast and automatic - with just the push of a button.
These mechanics will continue to improve as we develop them further, but we are really excited about the early performance of this test prototype. Next week, we look forward to showcasing our improved interior fabrics and pockets optimized for your gear.
Foamite is a Canadian company that manufactures foam products for the mattress, furniture, packaging, automotive, and consumer goods industries. Located just outside of Toronto, these guys are the OGs when it comes to sustainability. They eliminated PBDEs (harmful chemicals and substances used in the manufacturing of foam) way back in 1994. They also made the switch to water-based adhesives for foam fabrication and began recycling all foam scrap into many other comfort applications. Now, they offer over 45 grades of foam products, many of which are made of natural ingredients like soybean oil and natural minerals.
We use their natural memory foam in two different grades; a thicker, softer one for the back padding, and a thinner, firmer one for the straps. It was a fun, if somewhat hair-splitting, experience testing nearly every kind they had to find the perfect combination. Working with Foamite showed us that righteous values (and being ahead of your time) are not antagonists to a profitable business, but instead a lightning rod to attract like minded folks who just need them to speak their language. They are a mission driven company that we hope to emulate as we grow.
This week we are pleased to feature Vollebak, an 18 month old startup taking on the outdoor industry. Founded by twin brothers and adventure athletes Nick and Steve Tidball, they use science and tech to make sportswear - but not as you know it. In their words - they make the future of adventure gear.
Vollebak first burst onto the scene when their Baker Miller Pink Hoodie was featured on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Named a “relaxation hoodie”, the sweater is designed to give you adequate comfort and privacy to relax anywhere, anytime - in case your office doesn’t have those fancy nap pods.
While this is hilarious, Vollebak is not about outlandish products. They’re about pushing boundaries (see their glow-in-the-dark solar charged jacket), making things that last (see their 100 year hoodie), and are practical (antibacterial activewear in cool prints to camouflage eventual stains).
To us, Vollebak is a wicked example of relentless innovation, rethinking the status quo, and shipping before you’re 100% sure your idea will be received the way you hope. We’re happy to report that their first run of 100-year hoodies sold out virtually instantly, although you can still pre-order the next run. Milled in the United States and manufactured in Portugal, they’re one of many startups focusing on production that pays living wages and with partners that align on the importance of quality throughout the supply chain. To learn more about Vollebak, check them out here.
We want to thank you for the generous support after our last update. It was a challenging one, but we are better for it. As a thank you, we will be giving all Kickstarter backers (backpack and monogram rewards) and pre-orders the first edition of a new accessory product we’re excited about. It's something we stumbled upon as a byproduct of our new manufacturing process - a companion to Watson that is also compatible with your existing backpack or messenger bag. We’re not ready to reveal what it is yet, but let’s just say it will take your commute to the next level.
Until next time,