How it all started
It took us nearly two and half years to get to this point, and it was a tough journey. We originally envisioned the first ALPAKA bag as a modular backpack with swiss army knife like versatility, but after many failed attempts in finding the right designer(s) and factory that could manufacture our concept, we nearly canned the project. Luckily, after travelling extensively over the last 12 months, and visiting many bag factories, we decided to switch direction on the bag design. So instead of continuing with prototyping the original modular backpack design (aka The Homer), we decided to pursue a minimalist messenger bag design.
When we first commissioned the design for the ‘new’ messenger bag, our idea for the bag was quite straight forward. The bag should be simple and suitable for all seven days of the week. A bag formal enough that you could take to work, but also cool enough to use on the weekend or any other occasion.
Once we decided to go minimalistic with the bag design, it was a much easier design process; also, working with a factory that understood our needs helped us streamline the development of the bag. So rather than taking years to design and then prototype (like the first backpack design), it only took us a few months to move from design to the first prototype. The quick prototyping also allowed us time to solicit feedback from our friends and families for the first bags. Thanks to feedback we received, we were then able to make small incremental changes in our prototype bags to get to a stage that we felt comfortable about the bag’s overall quality and design.
What’s in a name?
So why did call the bag, 7ven? We named the bag, 7ven, because that is what we want the bag to be; a bag that is useful for all seven days of the week. A bag that you can take to work during the week and to your weekend adventure away in some exciting places.
Special design features
In order to make the bag suitable for all seven days of the week, we had to make sure the exterior design and the fabric choice do not conflict with the end usage cases:
- The bag has to be designed in such as a way that you can carry it like a briefcase, and won’t look out of place when you are wearing a suit.
- But at the same time it can be a bag that you can take on your weekend getaway, and be able to carry your gear in the bag.
- Bonus points if you can carry some camera gear with the bag.
After testing various fabric options available on the market, from some common to some really exotic materials, we decided to use a special black ballistic nylon fabric for the exterior of the bag. So we decided to use this fabric because:
- It looked and felt high class (Quality)
- Very tough and abrasion resistant (Longevity)
- Fitted well with the minimalist design of the bag (Design)
We could have used any other fabric that costed half as much, but we couldn’t have gotten the same result.
For the inside of the bag, we chose the most expensive ripstop nylon fabric on the market, as we wanted something that was tough, but at the same time looks a cut above the rest.
To further enhance the ALPAKA 7ven bag’s end user experience and give it a touch of class: we wrapped the carry strap and the corner of the bag with high-quality premium leather.
Where we are now
After spending a considerable amount of designing, prototyping and re-prototyping (many times), we are quite confident in our design, and as such we are doing testing of the bag by allowing our friends and families to try it out. But also we are travelling with our bags to see whether it is suitable for the kind of use that we envision it for. We are also preparing to launch it on KickStarter in late May or early June 2016, so that we can bring this project to life, and allow other people to share this amazing journey of design and creation.