Factory Visit

Last week I headed up to Spokane to meet the folks at Robinson Windword who will be building our production bags. I was there to start working on the final production samples that will be used for quality control both at the factory and by us before we ship you the bags.

This was my first ever big boy business trip and I was excited! Turns out flying for work is even shittier than flying for fun these days, especially since we are trying to pinch pennies and the cheap flights all had multiple connections. But, I digress, in the end I did make it to Spokane, the car rental place and eventually my hotel.

Bright and early the next day I headed to the factory. Their workday runs for 7:00am to 3:30pm which are not my normal hours of work. They are tucked away on a quiet country road in an unassuming metal clad building, no signs logos or anything.

Once I got inside I met Virginia and Mareya, who are the pattern making and prototyping specialists. Pretty much everything that gets made at Robinson Windword starts with them, first on their cutting table and then the old industrial Singer Sewing machine. Once they have worked out all the kinks and developed patterns for a product then it can go into production. Let’s just say, these two really know what they are doing. They each have years of sewing experience combined with years of experience developing patterns in the prototype room.

prototype room
I had a list of tweaks that needed to be made to each bag, most of these were really minor, like, making sure that the webbing was sewn in the right order and pattern. We also wanted to add just a little bit of volume to the front pocket on the Magnitude backpack and reduce the number of layers of fabric that needed to be sewn through on the corners of the flaps.

We started with the flap bulk issue and a few hours and prototypes later we had our solution, a slightly different construction method that finishes with a bit of tape and results in a much crisper and cleaner fold on the front flap.

Prototypes, bag flap, closure
Next we decided to tackle adding a little volume to the front pocket on the big bag. I had already made a prototype on my kitchen table before I left San Francisco, so I knew exactly how we wanted to modify their patterns to get what I was looking for. Mareya has really worked out an excellent way to sew these pockets and they are coming out looking super clean!

Pocket construction, Front of bag, mock-up, backpack
We also spent some time on the Magnitude straps adding a couple bar tacks to ensure that you will get years of hard use out of your new pack!

That evening I had some time to take a walk around downtown Spokane, which is a really nice little city! Lot’s of art installations, a great riverfront park, a giant Radio Flier, even a great little brewpub in an old steam plant called... Steam Plant.

Giant, Radio Flyer, Spokane
Once back in San Francisco, Patrick and I picked up our order of G buckles and took them to get anodized, we should have them next week. Horween says we should have our leather by the end of this month. So things are moving right along and we should be able to go into production by mid March! So far we are on schedule for delivery in May.

Alright, well... that's about where we are at right now. Stay tuned for continuing updates.

Till next time stay cool,

Lorris and the Modern Industry team


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