Here's The Story
It all started for Neil Christensen with a small business of importing vintage European bicycles to the United States. During that time Neil discovered a love for accessories amongst his customers, and one day he needed a satchel to shuttle his laptop, phone, keys and papers around on his bike. He ended up creating Platypus No. 01, inspired by minimalist mid-century designs and colors he grew up with in Denmark. The founding principle was to provide quality, USA made goods. Christensen Bags sold their first bag in May 2013, and as the company grew Kathy, Neil’s wife, joined.
Neil and Kathy design all of their goods, including the Carter Bag, in San Francisco California, and then have them made by a 2nd generation saddlemaker turned bag maker, who are fantastic craftsman. They have a close knit partnership that allows the design and production of their goods to work smoothly.
When asked about their mission in creating their goods, Kathy replied, “We can't get enough of minimalist, understated, and clean designs. Simple design looks effortless but the process is anything but. Making it work is immensely satisfying. Being stopped on the street by a curious person asking where the bag is from, or seeing someone carrying it is super satisfying, because you know how much work went into making that happen, and now you know other people like it too. We want to make quality products in the US. It's not that quality cannot be made elsewhere, it's that we believe in the societal benefits of design and manufacturing to the US, and to us there's nothing that beats being close to the process and knowing the people you work together with. So, it's a mix of a passion for minimalist design, creation, and a US made mission.”
Another design element for Christensen is their policy policy to understate their branding and discretely place it on the inside rather than on the outside. Kathy says, “We are so very tired of loud branding.”
Christensen’s process for coming up with a new design is very methodical and calculated. “We spend a lot of time tinkering and testing. Many of our designs and prototypes never make it to production, but you'll see us carrying them around for testing, and now and again we disappoint some folks when we tell them a design is just a one-off test. If you're wearing a design, know that we worn and tested that design too. Right now Neil is carrying around a prototype wallet that is 1 year old that we still haven't put into production because we're still observing and adjusting the design.
Though a relatively new company, Christensen Bags is distinguishing itself as a company with excellent design sense and products made from the best materials that are meant to last a lifetime.