Saturday, March 19, 2011

Lessons From the Rain

First off, thank you to everyone for bearing with us these last couple of weeks as we have moved our home and shop to South Philadelphia. Things are getting back to normal and our sewing machine is back humming away working on new bags.
A few weeks ago I made a delivery to Heather and Fuzzy from Bicycle Revolutions of bags for their new store, opening a couple blocks down from their old location on fabric row. It was dark and gray mid-day and a heavy winter rain had fell steadily for days. It was a perfect day for more "product testing" with my prototype Porteur Pack.
After twenty cold and wet miles in the driving rain I looked closely at the inside of my bag. The waxed fabric was soaked on the outside but remained dry on the inside. Water had entered in at seams on the front of the bag. As a result I am now making a couple of small changes in fabrication to help further weather-proof that bag.
The bag on the right is my old prototype bag with a small lip of fabric that holds rain and lets it penetrate the seam. The bag on the left is the same part with the new construction that allows the rain to roll off. It takes longer to fabricate but it is better.

This is the inside of a new Porteur Pack. All the seams that meet the outside of the bag have been sealed, by hand, with a natural wax and oil paste.
I only wish the designers of my rain pants had thoroughly tested them before sending the design off to Asia to have thousands made. That day rain quickly made its way though the zipper fly of my pants and several miles later my jeans were soaked in the worst way. Not enough companies take the time to test their products, or will take steps to improve a model that has been released. They simply replace it with the next season with another untested product.
Similar improvements to our products have come directly from customer feedback. So when we say love to hear what you have to say about our bags, we really mean it. We are not stuck with a hundred year old design that ignores changes in bicycles and the way they are used. We want to make a product that is consistently better.
Have a good one,