Update on Backorders
Those of you who've known us for a while know that, at any given time, you can count on at least some of our bags being on backorder. Most of the time it’s just a color or two that’s unavailable, but these days some bags are on backorder in every color. Basically, demand is outpacing production. (Hey, we're not complaining! But it's still something we need to figure out how to solve.)
We've considered many options for increasing our capacity. We've debated them. We have lost sleep, drunk one too many ciders, eaten three too many cookies. And, ultimately, what feels right to us is to expand our current production crew in our Seattle factory as quickly as we can, while remaining true to the vision and mission of our company. That vision is: to make the best quality bags out there and to never sacrifice the fun of it all just for short-term success. And, while there are some great contract factories in the U.S., there's really only one we trust to make our bags. They're small like us, and at capacity already working just for us.
So, what does all of this mean exactly? We're hiring production crew on an ongoing basis (see our Jobs page). We're buying even more new sewing machines. Getting smarter and more efficient about things we already do so our existing crew can make more bags in less time. It's what we've been doing all along, but we're pushing it that much harder now.
This is all good, but it's stuff that's going to take time. So, for the first time ever, we are taking the radical step of choosing—temporarily—to not take backorders for some bags and accessories. That means when a color runs out, it'll be removed from the website, and when all the colors run out, we'll update that bag's page with a notice letting you know it's not currently available for order or backorder. We will give you the chance to sign up for a product-specific mailing list to be notified when it's back in stock.
Yeah, we know—this is tough. We hope this is simply a temporary measure that will allow us to catch up on current backorders, and we'll keep you as informed about that as we can. Ultimately, we chose to do this because we didn't want to promise things we couldn't deliver. With the volume of orders and backorders we have now, our production crew is booked solid for the rest of this century (ok, not really, but we're booked out pretty far).
Below are bags that will continue to be available for backorder, and below that is a list of the bags that won't be.
You'll still be able to backorder these bags:
Aeronaut 30 + any/all other new designs
Vertical Freudian Slip
Horizontal Freudian Slip
Vertical Brain Cell
Horizontal Brain Cell
Travel Stuff Sacks
RFID Blocking Passport Pouch
These bags won't be available for backorder for the time being:
Medium Cafe Bag
Small Cafe Bag
Large Cafe Bag
Clear Quarter Packing Cube
Packing Cube Shoulder Bag
Ristretto for 13" Macbook Pro or Air
Ristretto for 11" MacBook Air
Ristretto for iPad
Packing Cube Backpack (Aeronaut)
Packing Cube Backpack (Tri-Star/Western Flyer)
3D Clear Organizer Cube
Field Journal Notebook
Travel Money Belt
Tripod - Lighting Kit Quivers
3D Mesh Cube
3D Fabric Cube
Smart Alec Modular Pockets
The Guide's Pack
Yarn Stuff Sacks
holy frijoles! I'm really glad I ordered that extra Side Effect since it's on the 'No Backorder' list twice, you really really mean it! :)
Is it wrong that we live with a philosophy of better have a spare "just in case" something happens? I say 'we' because I'm sure I'm not the only one. Very happy to see so much success for the company. High demand is a great problem to have.
Hehe, thanks for the heads-up on the double Side Effect listing.
Originally Posted by RhoFro
Eeek, so glad I put in my order when I did! :) (And even then, I couldn't order everything I wanted to! ;P)
But in any case - hats off to all of you at TB for your honesty and commitment to maintaining your integrity. It sounds like a pretty fair solution. Best of luck bringing your capacity up to speed! :)
Congrats on all the hard-earned success! :) I'd like to say that I would love a feature for signing up for a particular color combo for a bag - this could serve both as "voting" for that combo for that bag and signing up to be notified immediately when/if that color becomes available. Might be a little difficult to implement but just a thought!
There's an industrial sewing program at Dunwoody Institute in Minneapolis. You may want to reach out to those graduates...
Yikes! I'm glad I ordered loads of stuff earlier this month - though it means I'm one of the ones contributing to the problem :(
Good luck with the expansion!
as much as I'd love to behind my laptop say create clones of yourselves.. can you? xD Anyways, I would much love for you guys to stay the way you are and thanks for the dedication and unwavering philosophy that makes me hug my S19(1st and only bag for now...)
I hope it's not wrong, I have five of them. :)
Originally Posted by RhoFro
I am so glad about the conclusions you at Tom Bihn have come to. I'd much rather wait for a bag that is excellent than get a mediocre one right away. And I very much appreciate the transparency that you are showing. The demand you are facing reflects the need for high quality in a time where mass-produced products are near to choke the people and the planet.
To keep the balance of trying to meed the demand and staying true to your values is not easy. At these turning-points many companies start to make first small than growing compromises. And after a while those cumulating compromises jeopardize the ideals the company had at its starting point. We all have seen this happening and I would hate to see it with Tom Bihn. So PLEASE take your time and sort it all out according to your values. All of us are eager to get Tom Bihn bags but I am sure all of us are willing to wait in order to get them in the known quality and made with fun/love for your work.
Order placed - Swift in kiwi/kiwi/uv; Little Swift in aubergine/aubergine/wasabi; douple zip clear OPs.
Originally Posted by Darcy
No backorder for shop bags :( sad. I cannot complain - I helped clean out TB's inventory of shop bags.
Gone is the Synapse 19 in black cordura/iberian. Wanted one till Darcy posted photo og its big sibling in Cocoa/Wasabi. I hope that the Synapse 19 comes out in Cocoa/Wasabi in the future.
Congatulations & kudos to TB for staying true to your values.
+1 on both Cocoa/Wasabi S19 and congrats/kudos to TB!
Originally Posted by Walker
A difficult but really admirable decision. Thank you for keeping us informed.
One thing I noticed: the Western Flyer is one of the bags that won't be going on backorder, even though both Aeronauts and the Tristar will be. I wonder if this is because it's one of the less popular products, or for some other reason?
Wow! Congrats on the success and for staying true to values you all believe in and embrace. Seriously considering ordering neither swift as I LOVE it for an EDC+fiber arts bag. And I will definitely be ordering a quiver for my spindle today or tomorrow. Debating on ordering another swift in a different color combo bc I love it so much.
Looking forward to the be product drop in June. Hoping for some kind of FJN that supports the ipad mini and some paper/writing/sketching supplies.
I'm so glad that TB is doing so well regarding demand for products and am even more glad I ordered stuff for my trip well in advance! I'm usually a last minute or late to the party girl.
Making the decision to expand capacity and additional capital investment is exciting!