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5 Minutes with knomo

by , June 17, 2014

Merging fashion and functionality, knomo creates everyday tech-friendly bags that can hack it in the office, on your travels and during your leisure time with equal ease. We spoke to Howard Harrison, knomo’s co-founder, to find out what drives the brand forward in their never-ending quest to create the perfect everyday tech carry…

What key insights drive your stuff (what have you realized that others haven’t)?

Knomo is about great design for life on the go. Starting knomo was about liberating ourselves from life in a cubicle…waiting for Friday. We wanted to create exciting products that make a difference – simplifying people’s lives while on the go. With technology absolutely anything is possible and we are becoming much more nomadic in our working habits. Knomo is about celebrating this much more dynamic style of working and encouraging people to venture out. Benoit (my co-founder) and I left boring uninspired jobs to start knomo and the spirit of being entrepreneurial and nomadic is a strong driver within the business – we are a small team of around 20 but located in 5 countries!

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24/7 Versatility – Many brands are designed to be very casual and functional but then perhaps don’t look great when in a client meeting or used when worn with a jacket. Or the opposite extreme where they look like a workbag (briefcase) and you look like you don’t have a life taking it with you on holiday. As the line between people’s working and non-working lives is becoming more blurred, there is a growing need for product that offers greater versatility.

Great inspiring internal organisation – It is our ambition to create perfect everyday companions that provide efficient organisation with inspired colours and good textures. Making phones and tablets easy to access and great protection for your laptop bag. Often women carry “cavities” and compromise on how a bag works to look good. With knomo we try to make bags that look great but also work!

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Durability – Engineered according to high-end luggage standards on everyday bags. Our bags are engineered with additional reinforcement and durable hardware to withstand much greater stress and weight than a normal fashion bag. The handles are individually tested to be dropped 5,000 times with 15kg inside.

50/50 men’s/women’s – What is quite unique at knomo is that we are a 50%/50% men’s/women’s brand. It is important to understand the different needs between a male and female customer. Both sexes want bags that work well and understand their needs (enough capacity without being bulky or heavy, comfortable to carry and durable) but I think their needs are quite different when it comes to styling.

Who else is doing rad things in the world of carry?

I like brands that have developed a strong handwriting balanced with product that performs and ages well. I am a fan of Filson – I like the integrity in their products. I also like the colour and simplicity of Comme des Garcons. On the marketing side you can’t help but be impressed with Herschel.

Are there any things other brands do that you think are crap? Common mistakes that drive you nuts?

At knomo the one thing we want to become famous for is making bags that deliver on versatility, work perfectly and still look great after 12 months of daily carry. We don’t like the high street brands that do a lot of “borrowing” of ideas or seasonal brands that focus too much on the aesthetics and not enough on the function. We want a knomo to be one’s perfect companion and if impractical it may look good but becomes a drag to carry around.

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What’s next for you guys?

We are looking to bring more technology and improved organisation into our bags. We think that adding power if done seamlessly will add real value to customers.

What do you carry daily?

I love testing new bags and have a collection by my desk. In the picture I’m carrying a Padstow. The design is great – it fits my MBA and iPad and a few papers and is very comfortable to carry, the leather handle feels very good and the closure works brilliantly.

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When I travel I normally carry a backpack – our Falmouth has good capacity and works well.

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