Mark Hansen & Jedd Rose
Tell us about your business.Topo began well before it began, in discussions, sharing ideas, and just the desire to have quality products that were in our heads rather than the ones we saw in stores. As everyone that’s made something knows, it takes a lot longer to make something than to decide to make it. So we took our time, made prototype after prototype, tested, re-tested, took vacations just as an excuse to test, and we finally had our first bag. At this point we’d gained some skills and the following bags came more quickly. After some initial success in Japan we realized we’d need to step up our production a bit so we started working with a local production shop known for making quality bags. And that brings us to today, designing, sewing, prototyping, and moving forward. We strive to make products that are simple, functional, and beautiful – think canoe vs. motor boat. We’re the canoe.
What makes your business stand out?At Topo Designs we talk a lot about how things are made and why, about the value of creating versus consuming, and how to work with that tension. When making the decision of where to produce our designs, we talked about importing and making locally. While drawn to the ideas of making things in the US we also understand the importance of making things work. After research we were pleased to find that we could make things locally and even more, we could control quality at a closer level, we could drastically reduce minimums which gave us more flexibility and, if we were careful, we could bring things in at a price that didn’t reduce it to a luxury item. We’re global citizens and enjoy things made all around the world, but we’re very proud to be making and producing things in the country we call home.
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