Anyone familiar with the Bay Area might have a preconceived notion of what "Made in San Francisco" means. It must be an app or software, something abstract and technological, right?
But the shopping pride and joy of the Mission District, Timbuk2, is all about what honest sweat and muscle – applied to quality material and stitching – can still produce.
Timbuk2 bags, the toughest and "greenest" around — Photo courtesy of Timbuk2
The story behind Timbuk2 is as impressive as its merchandise. Back in 1989, bike messenger Rob Honeycutt wanted a durable, stylish, eco-friendly bag that would reflect his durable, stylish and eco-friendly life. The brand took off, and today the store also offers luggage and laptop bags.
Top sellers include the Custom Classic Messenger Bag ($114), the Custom Commute Laptop Bag ($154) and the Custom Prospect Laptop Backpack ($124).
Unlike some entrepreneurs who let success get to their heads and franchise away the quality, Timbuk2 bags are still handmade in San Francisco. And not only that, but, in 2015, customers can also visit the factory and watch the bags being made.
"The Timbuk2 Shotwell Studio in the Mission is more than your average retail store," Timbuk2’s new CEO Patti Cazzato explains. "We’re a destination for locals and tourists. Starting in 2015, you'll have the opportunity to check out our factory, where you'll see bags being manufactured, right here in San Francisco."
Inside Timbuk2 — Photo courtesy of Timbuk2
"Also, the studio offers merchandise that isn't available at any other location or online," adds Cazzato. "It's the ultimate one-stop shop to buy and learn more about a fantastic company and the gear you're investing in."
And for those visiting from out of town who want to get a taste of the whole Mission hipster/techie culture, the Shotwell Studio offers great access to that young and vibrant scene that's constantly re-imagining the Mission neighborhood.
The Timbuk2 description of their team says it all about this eclectic and diverse company, a team that includes a "mix of young and young-at-heart, long and lean, short and stocky, US citizens, legal aliens, college athletes, tri-athletes, mathletes, yoga instructors and skaters . . . and one Ironman."
And, adds Cazzato: "If you stick around long enough, you may even end up sharing a beer with the team."
If you need a unique and durable travel bag while in San Francisco, head to Timbuk2. And even if you don't need a bag, swing by their Shotwell Studio for a glimpse into one of San Francisco's most innovative and intriguing subcultures.
We guarantee you this: there's no app for this experience.