In this new email series, we look forward to sharing more about who we are, our production progress, and to hear from you - our co-creators. After all, Watson is made for and by innovators like you.
One question we get asked often is why did we make a backpack anyways? Aside from our own desires, the backpack has the most room for innovation among products we use daily and we have the capacity to make it so. With Watson, our promise is to improve your work day by delivering a hardware product that surprises and delights with everyday use, to improve organization, cognitive bandwidth, professionalism, comfort, and fun. We’re glad you’ve joined us.
This summer brought tough choices and hard-won learnings with regards to production. We made the tough choice of cutting ties with our manufacturing partner who was not delivering to spec and have since moved forward with a new firm. Our new engineering and production partner is Inertia, a firm with extensive experience bringing products like ours to market, not to mention many of them used to work on automotive interiors (vroom!) Their expertise has brought an incredible opportunity for us to make WATSON even better than we first imagined. It really is going to be the Tesla of backpacks thanks to this new partnership. We look forward to sharing our product improvements in the next newsletter.
In this series, we’ll profile the craftspeople and experts behind Watson and give you an inside look at what it takes to bring it all together. For our first edition, we are pleased to introduce Stephen O’Ceallaigh aka “The Green Man.”
He and his team are responsible for the beautiful monogram and embossing work on our labels and leather straps. Their workshop is located just outside of Toronto, making it easy to stop by and collaborate on new ideas. Stephen is a true craftsman, owning dozens of original cast iron leather making machines from Britain and using the old-school make-it-right techniques. In sourcing this kind of work, we had the option to select laser engraving (where a computer burns the type into the leather) and other automated methods. But the care of a craftsman’s hand really is second to none. Shoutout to Stephen and his team for teaching us about the craft of leather work and ensuring each of our bags are finished with premium handcrafted care. We can’t wait to share the full results with you soon.
Watson stands for innovation, design, and sustainability - and we’re not alone. There is a growing community of people and companies working to move the needle in this direction. In each edition of Change Makers, we’ll feature those making a ruckus in this space and tease out how they think about making better products sustainably.
This week our featured friend is Grovemade.
Grovemade got their start making bamboo iphone cases at just the right time:
Smack dab in the middle of iPhone 4 launch day, the tech and design blog Gizmodo (with nearly a million visitors a day) discovered Grovemade and posted a front page article about the case. Instantaneously, Grovemade's sales zipped up from single digits into the thousands.
Now, 8 years later, in their Portland, Oregon workshop, Grovemade “takes products from design to fabrication, with a little help from collaborators along the way. Since 2009, they've been using this hands-on process to create products that couldn’t exist otherwise.” This includes beautiful wood laptop stands, stationary sets, brass and leather wallets, the original iphone case, and more - with several products being made to order.
What stands out about Grovemade is not just their beautifully crafted products, but their love for what they do. It’s clear each person who touches one of their products is a true craftsman that understands well designed, quality goods really can improve your day to day. We use their laptop stands here at the Watson studio and they’re not just practical and beautiful - they remind us of the change we seek to make. They remind us that every big idea starts small and that making it right is worth the wait.
Thanks for reading and talk soon,