Originally published Wednesday, June 23, 2008
A number of months ago I suggested to Neil Flancbaum at Smokin’ Holsters that he consider creating a new product that would 1) hold more pipes and 2) fit into a briefcase. I described it as a sort of folio that would hold pipes instead of pens and papers.
Neil and I talked about this several times. He expressed interest in trying to work out a design but was understandably reluctant to make a commitment until he’d had a chance to really consider the idea.
To a layman like me, it doesn’t seem like a big deal to design a pipe bag, but after talking to Neil and hearing what’s involved in making a new bag product, I seriously wondered if I’d ever see one made. There are so many considerations, chief among them “Will this bag be of interest to more than one person?” Given the time and energy it takes to think a bag through – create and measure dimensions, cut patterns, then rework things to improve fit and utility – well, I well understood that it may never happen. It’s not a matter of sewing a bunch of pieces together.
I had hoped I might see and purchase the bag at the Chicago Show, but it didn’t happen. Neil was still cogitating about it. At one point he flatly asserted “I HATE designing new pipe bags.” It was at this point that I heard a dissertation about how much is involved. One of the biggest problems is cost of materials. If a bag doesn’t work, the cost of time and materials is considerable. Not only is Neil out his time and materials, but he’s also out the profit he might have made on another bag.