If you’re new to the Nomatic community, you might think that Nomatic has always been a part of the travel brand landscape. However, if you’re one of our OG’s then you might know that isn’t the case! Nomatic started as a company under the name “Basics” which was focused on creating premium, minimal looking everyday carry items. In fact, our wallet was actually the pioneer of products for the entire brand, originally garnering over 6000 backers on Kickstarter!
The Birth of an Idea
Eventually, Jon and Jacob, the Basics founders, decided they were ready to expand their line from smaller EDC items, such as planners and watches, to include the most epic bag. This bag would embody their “EDC Philosophy”, as Jon puts it, and be packed with both functionality and a sleek look. As they embarked on creating this new product, they encountered some major unforeseen trademark issues which eventually led to the necessary, complete rebranding of Basics. This is where the brand we all know and love finally emerged as… NOMATIC!
Fresh from a brand overhaul, Nomatic announced their very first bag, now known as the 40L Travel Bag! This bag ultimately raised an impressive $3 million dollars during crowdfunding, and marked the beginning of the company entering the world of a travel.
A Fresh Perspective on Functionality
Q: Nomatic is known for their functionality and abundance of features, which all started with this bag. What specific features did you really push to be included, and why?
A: As we started designing the 40L Travel Bag, we coined the phrase, "The most functional travel bag ever". We developed a unique strap system, that we were later able to patent, that easily helped the bag switch between backpack and duffel. One of the key things we focused on early on was maximizing the carry-on space, while still allowing for easy access to all your stuff. We surveyed our customers to find which things they traveled with most, and created a bag that fit those types of things perfectly. This allowed us to create the perfect bag for one bag travel, because it truly does it all!
One of my favorite things about the process of designing the 40L travel bag was that neither Jacob nor I were bag designers. Not only were we not bag designers, we weren't product designers at all! The reason this was a positive was because it allowed us to look at the bag space, and specifically this travel bag, in a different way and create something that we wanted to use and something that would add value to the user and not have all these preconceived notions of what a bag should be, and how it should function.
With over 20 major features, the bag includes things like water resistant material, a custom laundry bag, a water bottle pocket, a designated laptop compartment, and so much more. Designers or not, the bag is definitely one of a kind!
Overcoming Challenges and Setbacks
Q: I can’t imagine creating a bag like that was all smooth sailing! What were some of the pain points you experienced while designing and constructing the prototypes for the bag?
A: “Early on, we had prototyped this bag in China. We flew over there and met with 5 to 10 different factories, all of which had prototypes waiting for us when we arrived. While some of the bags were decent, the quality wasn't quite the standard we were hoping for in the end. Some were even laughable. Around this time, we got introduced to another factory in Vietnam, and we sent them our best prototype from China. They were able to come back with a bag that was 10 times better, and match the same price... and we knew we had something amazing!
Perfecting Prototypes for Adventurers Worldwide
Q: You’ve got the design and you’ve got the bag… But how did you know when it was finally perfect for travelers all around to love?
A: When we received this prototype from Vietnam and tested it ourselves, we were blown away by the quality. We made small tweaks to the way it was carried, some of the hardware, and some of the pocket systems. As we began to test the product in travel ourselves, we were blown away by how easy it made any type of trip, not just plane travel! Even after we launched, we made changes to the bag. This is the great thing about Kickstarter, it allowed us to receive very necessary feedback... We had no idea, but all of our customers wanted waterproof zippers, and because we launched on Kickstarter, we were able to pivot and make this change before full production!”
The 40L Travel Bag definitely stands tall as a testament to the power of patience and perseverance. As one of the highest reviewed products on our roster, it’s been well received and loved as a truly functional and versatile travel companion. The bag's success not only established Nomatic as a prominent player in the travel gear industry, but also laid the foundation for a brand that continues to push boundaries, crafting thoughtfully designed products that enhance the lives of modern nomads.
The bag definitely holds a special place in Nomatic’s heart; Ushering it from it’s roots as a small, edc-style brand to eventually becoming one of the most highly regarded companies with dozens of bags to fit the needs for any type of commuter, photographer, and explorer around.