This Stylish Duffle Bag Took 18 Months to Perfect More than 35 manufacturers refused to produce Baboon's debut product. But the company's founders kept searching for the ideal partner.
Michael Kushner and Andy Person did not create the Baboon Go-Bag for people who want to scale a mountain. Their stylish duffel-meets-backpack is for the creative class -- people who might want to take an easy hike, then check into a trendy Airbnb. That's why they commissioned high-profile designer Jessica Walsh to create a kooky monkey-and-dinosaur pattern for the bag's waterproof lining. It was exactly the kind of touch their customer would love…but getting it right would stall their company for nearly two years.
Printing bright colors and details on a ripstock-style fabric turns out to be challenging. The colors bleed, and saturation is nearly impossible. Factories kept turning them down, unwilling to go through the amount of costly trial and error it would take to perfect the print. (They also worried about betting on a little startup.) Nine months and 35 rejections later, Kushner and Person were struggling. Then they found hope in Vietnam: After a factory owner there said no, the owner's daughter stepped in. She loved the product, had attended business school and wanted to try making it work. So for another nine months, the founders and their new partner mixed Pantones, examined 15 to 20 samples a week and kept tweaking. "It was about making this blue a little lighter, or making this brown a little darker," says Kushner. Finally, they got it. "The prints come alive." (From $175; baboontothemoon.com)