Designing any products at Bohomia is a long drawn process of usage research, multiple iterations, usability testing before finalizing on the design for production. However it does not end there, as each batch of our designs are produced, there is always some tweak in the existing design based on the customer feedback as well as our observations from prolonged use of our bags.
Last year we launched the Commuter backpack fusing the usability of both an everyday elegant laptop backpack and a baby bag. The realization that the two need not be mutually exclusive actually came from our customer and influencer feedback on our very first design - the Classic diaper bag. Our Classic bag was designed as a diaper bag with a non baby bag look. The bag very soon earned lots of kudos from our Amazon customers (the only place we were selling at that time) with reviews of being used as an in-flight bag , as an overnighter and a travel bag. Our influencers actually asked us to market this as a regular bag and not just as a diaper bag as they found it very useful as a travel bag as well. Anyway we digress.
Everyday Tote : The various iterations
Coming back to designing the laptop tote. After the launch of our Commuter backpack , we had queries for a laptop tote as many don’t like carrying backpacks. The first tote we designed looked something like this.
While we liked the look of it, it wasn't serving the purpose that we had in mind- that of designing an all day work bag. We have parked this design for now to be revisited at a later point of time.
There were 2-3 more designs and sampling done before we arrived at the final shape of our Everyday Laptop tote. In one sample, the mouth wasn’t opening wide enough , for another the laptop compartment was too wide, all these took few more iterations and added few more months to the designing process before we were satisfied with the final outcome.
Touching on a few design features and our thoughts behind it.
The small items pocket
The small items pocket in the outside zipper was a result of a feedback we received from our customer Rimjhim who purchased our Commuter backpack. She wanted to have a small pocket to keep her lipbalm and other small items in the bag. We decided to incorporate this feedback in our bigger bags (even though our small BRB sling has that too) . In our next batch of production of Commuter backpack we plan to incorporate a small pocket there as well. This pocket can be the keys pocket or earphones pocket or lipbalm pocket. Anything small and needs quick access can be kept here. We did away with the key fob because we just found this small pocket very handy for quick access to keys. Plus the chunky car keys fit right in. Thank you Rimjhim for the idea.
The luggage strap
Having a luggage strap on our tote was a must because all of us have suffered from falling bags from suitcase tops or wasting time intricately wrapping the tote handles around suitcase rods while rushing in airports.
The challenge to incorporate it was multiple. Our design logic was to keep one side of the bag minimal so that those who liked carrying a minimal looking bag could have that side on the outside. On the other side we kept two easy reach pockets for fast access to mobile, boarding pass, keys, earphones etc. So for customers who needed to take out her mobile or any other items easily she could keep the zipper side of the bag on the outer side. So then the question is which side do we keep the luggage strap on? Because we wanted to be able to have both sides suitable to be carried front first. That is when we came up with this solution of having the strap in between the zippers. It merged seamlessly with the design without standing out as something kept primarily as a luggage strap.
The pen and small notebook pocket
We call this the meeting pocket. You know when you go to the meeting how good it would be if you didn't have to open the entire bag to take out a notebook and a pen. Well this pocket is for that. You can keep a small A6 notebook and two pens in the attached pen loops. No zipper, just a magnetic button. This bag works so that you can get on with your work without any hassles.
It does not stop here
Our iterations does not stop here. We are constantly rotating and using each of our bags for the purpose they are meant to be. Plus we keep our ears open when customers reach out to us directly or through reviews in marketplaces like Amazon. All of these combined we keep on making small improvements to our existing designs much to the angst and complains of our karigars. When we put repeat orders of our already existing designs, their first line is “Madam please kuch change mat kijiye” . But change they do because finally its their craft and they take a subtle pride is making a better bag.