Adding a twist to the Brad

Been thinking about how to solve the problem of a single-strap tote bag that wants to rotate around its axis while you’re toting your load home from the store.

Brad and I have been using the prototype square-ended bag and we’ve both noticed that when it has lots of stuff in it, it wants to rotate a little as we’re bopping down the street.

So, I thought about damping the rotation with a little truss while simultaneously providing more support around the bottom of the bag with additional webbing (in addition to the already double thickness of canvas on the bottom).

Got a chance to make it last night.

It has a rectangular solid construction (other Brads have had a slight taper toward the top–which we’ve noticed presents some problems when loading heads of cauliflower, watermelons, etc). I left out the avocado pocket because I pretty much know how that changes things.


The truss seemed simplest to make by folding the webbing such that it made a square pattern, and then attaching half of the square to the bottom panel of the bag. That decision led to the dimensions of the bottom of the bag being 12×9-ish rather than 10x10ish. This is a pretty big bag: holds about 70% more than a standard grocery bag. In the end, that’s too big for the stiffness of this fabric. This fabric (which I love) is best for a bag that holds just about as much as a standard paper grocery bag. So when I do this type of form factor again I’ll use a 15″ height and 11″x 9″ bottom perhaps.

Finished! Here’s the view of the way the bag closes and draws up the line in the signature Zatchu Bag style, complete with stop at the top of travel. It did work to shift the weight to one side to minimize rotation, but I think it’s a little too complex for production, and the benefit doesn’t seem to be worth the extra complexity.

I also used about 2.75 yards of webbing on this design, which at $1.50 per yard is a substantial fraction of the total input cost. That led me to think of designs that don’t try to solve so many problems by adding webbing…

I do think the webbing width (1.5 inches) is right for the single-strap design. The 2-inch wide webbing that’s on the currently-being-tested Brad is too heavy and it ends up flopping because it weighs more than the rest of the bag.


Slinger: an app custom-built for the Sidewinder

Slinger is an app for Android that helps make the very best use of your tablet holster in a dramatic situation. Draw your Android tablet or phone and shoot-’em-up High Noon style.

Download from Google Play.

Naming the iPad holster

How do you name a new thing? Well, it’s clear it’s a Zatchu Bag. It’s a little ne’er-do-well, a big vagabondish, vaguely western.

Eastwood? Cartwright. Southfork.

I’m reminded that Texas oil men wear cowboy hats and boots with their expensive suits. This could be the Silicon Valley equivalent: that quirky accessory that you wear with your pinstriped hoodie as you skateboard to work. Or? You could name it with some kind of non-attributable name that sounds like something else and ends up having an original meaning if the product is huge.

Pakij? Klept. Valit. Strich. Bringit.

‘Need your tablet? Bringit.’ What about one of those simple names where you give a specific thing a name that suggests something much more general, or of a different purpose altogether?

Cargo? Keepsake. Mason. Scramble.

Is that Jackie Mason or mason like bricklayer (toolbelt-style) or Mason like secret society member? (Or all three?) Or a name that tries to tie language to the thing that it does:

Tabster? Breefcase. Tabber. Turse.

I hate those types of names: they always feel like ‘PhilCo’ and ‘JameCo’ to me. How about a name that’s playful and giddy,

Scramble? Poke. Spindle. @hand.

Or a name that’s already been used to name a bunch of other stuff:

Hitchhiker? Hiphugger? Sidewinder.

Hmm…Sidewinder…it’s testing well…

at 6’5″, Robert is the tallest to work it

iPad holster packaging

So, maybe it’s an iPad mini holster: packaging? Let’s see. Probably sell / fulfill through Amazon for online sales (eventually), so it has to be bagged. It will get all disorganized if it’s not bound together in some fashion, what with all those straps. So some kind of cardboard insert that the straps can wrap around will keep it together maybe?

shows some Apple devices stowed away in the pockets--too obvious?

Phil points out that, if sold in retail, it needs to hang up and stay together somehow: a staple or something through the center pocket would take care of that. And, of course, if you’re buying it in the store you either need to see it on a mannekin or the packaging needs to tip you off to what it does / how it works. Will work on a modification of the graphic to convey all that.

focus on the brand

Cardboard packaging may be old-school, but I like that it’s biodegradable and not resource-intensive and not so ‘grabby’. It will do for online distribution, for sure, but for retail I think I would have to do more to compete–sad to say.

Zatchu Fashion

Zatchu in North Carolina