One Year Ago…
We open in 15 minutes.
I hung my head in embarrassment. I’d never tried to go into a bar before it opened. This wasn’t a proud moment. Here I was standing, outside of a bar on Valencia Street, waiting for the bartender to open the doors.
I was scheduled to meet Patrick. We had exchanged a few emails but never spoken or met in person.
After reading that the bag company he co-founded, Modern Industry, was shutting down, I emailed him on a lark. I told him how much I liked their work and asked if anyone from their team was looking for a new gig.
We talked over beers. I told him about our vision for Tortuga. He told me about his approach to design. We compared notes on our favorite brands: bag companies, Nike, Apple (of course).
Three hours later, we emerged into a suddenly dark San Francisco night. I noted that the time had flown by and took that as a good sign.
Three Months Earlier…
When I listed the Help Wanted ad for a China-based Production Assistant, I didn’t expect any Italian applicants.
Yet here I was interviewing Giulia, a native Italian living in Shenzhen, fluent in Mandarin, and experienced in the ways of Chinese factories.
I was reminded that you have to define the job to be done, not the person you want to hire.
One Year Earlier…
With more than a little trepidation, I sent an email to our newsletter subscribers letting them know that we were hiring our first part-time team member.
I crossed my fingers that anyone would be crazy enough to take the leap and join our little backpack company. At that point, “we” meant Jeremy and me, plus a loose collection of freelancers.
Hundreds of applications later, we found the first member of the Tortuga family. Lauren joined the team, kicked ass, and continues to set the tone and raise the bar for new teammates.
We Aren’t Just Launching a New Product
The past few years have been a wild ride. Thanks for joining us.
In the last year, we’ve built a core team of nine Tortuganauts to take Tortuga to the next level.
Tortuga V1 launched in 2011. We spent two years creating a product but weren’t selling enough to build a sustainable business.
Two years later, we launched Tortuga V2 with an improved design and website. Sales skyrocketed. Suddenly, we had a business. We grew from a single product to an entire line. We grew from two co-founders to a team of four, including Lauren and Jenn.
The V2 has served us well for the past three years. Today, we’re excited to share the V3 with you and to raise the bar (again) for travel backpacks.
We have built the team to build the company and products that Jeremy and I envisioned when we created Tortuga seven years ago. Your support has kept us going while driving us to improve.
The V3 is the biggest step forward we’ve ever taken. Like teenagers, we’re starting to grow into ourselves.
Living On Your Terms
Our mission is to help you live On Your Terms. We do that by making gear for urban travel.
To realize our mission, we aim to make the best damned travel backpack that we can. We’ll leave the big brands to build the cheap-o, “good enough,” bags that people may tolerate but will never love.
Tortuga will continue to build premium, yet attainable, luggage for you (and for us). Because we value living on our terms and want gear that helps us do it.
With the relaunch, you’ll find a new name, identity, website, and product. Same mission, new look. We’re thrilled to finally share the past year of work with you.
Today we are launching the Outbreaker Backpack, previously codenamed V3. The Outbreaker Backpack will be the first product in the Outbreaker Collection, which will continue to roll out through the next year.
The name was inspired by a line from Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. We chose Outbreaker because it’s a perfect metaphor for living On Your Terms.
“I can pick the locks,” he said. “I was trained to, to what, to get out of things. Boxes. Ropes. Chains.” He stood up and pointed to his chest. “Ausbrecher. Outbreaker. No, what it is? ‘Escape artist.’”
We invite you to break out of anything boxing you in or chaining you down. We invite you to live on your terms.
As part of the launch, check out…