- Buyer's Guide
5 Minutes w/Black Rainbow Project
Here’s one from one of our favorite secret brands, Black Rainbow Project, based out of the UK. We have some big plans for more in-depth coverage on Scott (founder, owner, cyclist, and all around awesome dude) and Black Rainbow Project, including a detailed introduction to the products, brand, and philosophy… as well as a Road Test of one of the bombproof products!
Simply put, I strongly believe Scott is putting out some of the highest level carry products in the world, regarding construction, materials, hardware, design, innovation, and his absolute refusal to compromise quality for any reason. We’ll jump into that all later though. (FYI, there are about one dozen individual pieces of AustriAlpin hardware on the BRP “Red” messenger shown above, including those amazing Cobra buckles, every single one which has a specific thought-out purpose and never used just for looks). For now, dig in…
Scott (BRP): Hey man…let’s do this five minute thing first. Although you know what I’m like…condensing my opinions isn’t my strong point! :]
(above, 3/4 view of BRP Red Messenger bag)
1 – What key insights drive your stuff?
Passion, desire, and pride. Despite making bags for years, it was only fairly recently that I realized just how passionate I was about it. I am driven by a desire to make things work as well as they can for the task in hand, starting with each individual part, and then figuring out a way to make them all work in unison. Pride also plays a big part in what I do. I’m proud of the fact that I do things my own way regardless of what the current trends are. I would rather shut up shop than feel like I’m compromising simply to make more money or meet market demands.
(above, a rare look inside the BRP “Bagcave” as Scott has named it, located around/close to/in/near/deep underneath the streets of Leicester, UK… notice how nearly every square inch has been painted black… he also handmade his own cutting and workshop tables to his own specs )
2 – Who else is doing rad things in the world of carry? And why do you think they’re important…
I was thinking about this question for a long time and I’m afraid I have to pass on it….Only joking! :]
Anybody who thinks there is nobody else doing great things in the carry world needs to open their window a little wider and look around.
Mission Workshop deserves a special mention simply for opening so many peoples eyes to the world of carry. They are really pushing things forward from a materials and design standpoint. I have huge respect for the fact that they don’t just sit on their arses and watch their current products sell…they continue to design, improve, and innovate.
Killspencer deserves a mention for showing true passion, and thinking about their brand as a whole. Their first promo video was perfect! Companies like Mystery Ranch are doing great things with new fabric technology too.
I’d also like to give a mention to all the tiny indy bag companies out there…most of which cater to the messenger bag/cycling market. They’re all important because it will often be us little guys that are driving innovation, ready for the big guys to come along and milk those ideas for all they’re worth. The final mention needs to go to PAC bags…they developed pretty much every worthwhile feature used on any proper messenger work bag, and they deserve huge credit for that.
(above, several interior panels waiting to get made into BRP Red Messenger bags)
3 – Are there any things other brands do that you think are great or could be improved?
Innovation and a willingness to try new things are what separates the best from the rest. The brands I mentioned all fit that bill. Another thing Mission Workshop do well is in the marketing of their products…they know how to convince people that they NEED them.
I do however think that there is room for improvement from some companies out there. The flipside to all these small, indy bag makers cropping up is the fact that many of them don’t come from sewing backgrounds, which sometimes leads to some fairly poor quality sewing. I think I would just like to see more care and attention paid to the quality of the construction. We all make mistakes, but the important thing is to admit it and correct it if you know something could be done better.
(above, BRP key clips)
4 – What’s next for you guys?
Well having just spent the last 8 months building a whole new workshop from scratch after relocating the business I’m currently trying to work through my backlog of orders.
Beyond that though I’m going to be working hard on developing the rest of my product range. I just finished a slight redesign of my messenger work bag and am very happy with it, so the next priority is to start work on the backpack. I’ve had the ideas going around in my head for over two years now and am desperate to start work on the prototype. It’s difficult being such a tiny company to find time to do all the sewing of current products and still find time to work on the forthcoming ones, but there are some great things on the horizon.
5 – What do you carry daily? and how?
Unfortunately since moving back to my hometown, I hardly need to carry anything. I was almost always cycling everywhere in London, so prior to the move I always had either my Violet (shown above) or Indigo hip pouch on one of my own belts. This would contain my phone, cards, money, AtoZ, tools, tube, pump, D-lock etc. Bag wise it was always Red (below), my huge messenger bag. Even if i was hardly carrying anything I still used it…as much for testing purposes as anything else. If the backpack design turns out how I hope though it may well take the place of my messenger as my main bag. I guess we’ll need to see how the prototyping goes. :]