6. The Journey of a Bag - Part 1

TheOne08 Team

Part 1:  A Team is formed

There are so many things I want to share with you.  We’re on a design inspiration, materials hunting, factory auditing, story building trip.  It’s been a total adventure filled with unexpected challenges and lessons but also with things we didn’t expect.  And that’s always the way it is, isn’t it?  The journey wasn’t what we expected but it was exactly what we needed.

We had so many tasks on this trip that several times along the way we thought, this just doesn’t feel possible.  The doubts come in, you think, how can we do this?  And then right at the end…. The miracles scoot in, sometimes on the last day in a location.

Before I get into what I was inspired by from a design lens, because there was a lot of be inspired by, and before I get into how difficult our materials hunting was, and before I get into seeing the prototypes for the first time, I’m going to share what this trip was really about. 

This trip ultimately and fundamentally became about connection: the beautiful interconnection of human beings.  The things that unite us, the things that inspire us, the things that make us so unique and needed in this world.  And also how people who were once strangers can be so helpful and supportive no matter where you go.

Five of TheOne08 Team members came together on this trip.  Forming the team that would make the product come to life, and the team that would record this happening. 

Three of us began in Toronto, meeting for the first time in person.  Our first stop was to meet with a materials supplier, inspiration shop and begin recording our journey.  Then we were headed to meet with our initial factory base.  Before we are able to build infrastructure in Africa, we need to have our bags made somewhere else in order to be able to fund our mission.  We did not choose the easy route;, we for sure have tasked ourselves with something that at times we question if we’re going to be able to do it.  But when you get a group of people together who believe with their hearts in our WHY, you are able to move mountains.  At times, we do feel like we’re moving a mountain. 

As a team we came together.  Our connection to each other solidified.  Our mission driving us.  Our support of each other and what has to be done materialized.

I used to get so excited about seeing new cities, eating new cuisines and trying new things when I traveled.  Now my cup is filled by experiencing people in their fullness, when they’re challenged, and when I’m challenged.  How to be supportive and supported.  How to be clear, ask what I need, allow things to unfold as they should and how to be giving in return to others in their needs and desires.  How to share the burdens and joys with each other so the impossible (seeming) can become possible. 

When you start a business, you can choose to be an entrepreneur of something you are skilled at, and do it your way, taking a more known route.  Or you can choose to do something that isn’t being done, because it’s a difficult thing to do, and know in your heart you are strong and brave and fully supported by a team of individuals that are also all of that and more. 

And when you become the embodiment of strength and grace, fluidity and agility and supportiveness you meet people all over the world who are this too.  Imagine what we can do when we all come together and create the change that the world so needs right now.

We are doing it.   It may not look the way we thought it would look but our journey has begun.

Keep following our journey to hear about each leg of the trip and what we were able to accomplish.

Marnie Quinn

5. Considering Hardware

5. Considering Hardware

Adornment has always mattered to me.  The communication of personal style through adornment especially.   Accessorizing as a way to speak with the external world what is happening with us internally.  

I grew up with a grandmother, my mother’s mother, who matched her scarf, her jewelry, her shoes, her handbag and her wallet.  She was sharp.  She made a statement when she arrived and never had to say anything.  Although she was never shy and always had something to say.  She was full of life, personality and wit.  I get my dry sense of humor from her, I get my sassiness from her, but I also get my sense of what style is and how to use it from her. 

So when I consider the bags for our consumer I think of how they will be used, who will use them and what the bag will say.  We as a brand want to send a message of being a considerate & conscious consumer, that is our Why collectively, my Why when it comes to pencil to paper is I want her (you) to be expressing yourself when you wear one of our bags.  I want you to grab this bag as your favorite item because it’s easy to use, it uplifts your style, it says something about you and you feel good wearing it.  

When it comes to designing the shape of the bags that are classic, functional, and understated, the hardware then becomes the expression of style.  Which to me means the hardware is not only aesthetically pleasing, it’s also functional and experiential.  It serves a purpose.  It makes you turn your head and it makes you notice.   It is the accessory’s accessory.  The jewelry of the bag.  The component that will take it from a nice bag to a GREAT bag. 

We also develop an intimate relationship with the hardware when we open our bag, when we adjust the strap, pull a zipper and hook our keys.  Each time we touch it, we in fact place our energy into the metal of the hardware and it holds our imprint.   It becomes a part of us and us a part of it.  We’re creating a relationship.  It may seem that the things we carry are just things, but if you have items in your closet that you love, you know there is an emotional connection to them.  You have memories with them.  They are on this life journey with you.   

As we patiently wait for our bus or train we find ourselves caressing the smooth metal of the clasp.  As we connect to our mother on the phone we rub the zipper pull between our fingers. These are sensory experiences that create this connection with the items in our world.  So they not only are functional and aesthetic connections, they are sensory as well. 

As I sit with my pencil to paper and our powerful logo, the designs of the functional, aesthetic, and experiential hardware designs dance in my head.  And we play with how to open this, clasp that, adjust this, and close that with open and expanding minds.  The creative collaboration with the tech designer supportive, exciting and fun. 

These are some of the additional things we consider as we design you sustainable bags that you can have a relationship with for a very long time.

Marnie Quinn

4. We've got conservation in the bag

4. We've got conservation in the bag

Money talks. Whether you are running a multi-billion-dollar empire or a small non-profit, money is at the root of everything you do. Business executives spend hours studying their bottom line and thinking about how they can increase their profit-margin, while charities simply can’t function without donations. Whether we like it or not, we need money to make a difference in today’s society.

The aim of TheOne08 was to be different, in order to make a difference, we needed to place purpose and planet above profit, and that is at the heart of our vision and mission.

Bags of Money

There was never any question that our collection would center around womens handbags.  We knew that our team was blessed with a wealth of experience and success in the field and that the potential to base the manufacturing in Africa was very doable. So we set forth to make sure that our company lived up to its purpose.  A portion of the profits from our collection will be split in the following four ways:

  • We will pay our employees a thriving wage.
  • We will invest in infrastructure and training in Africa, helping to improve the lives of the locals.
  • We will donate a portion of our profit to our partner conservancy, helping them in their work in Kenya.
  • We will make expand our collection and research the use of new cruelty-free materials.

Our collection will initially be manufactured in Southeast Asia, but once we have the infrastructure in place, our workshop will move to Africa. TheOne08 team will hire local people to develop and deliver the bags, providing training, education and empowerment to one of the poorest areas of the world.  And in turn, providing these alternative and meaningful livelihoods to our partner communities will ultimately reduce the ever-expanding pressure on the land.

Our work won’t stop there. We intend to work with our partner communities in providing education regarding their land and the importance of conserving it and its wild inhabitants.

Our End Goal

We believe that long-term conservation outcomes depend on vastly improving the opportunities and livelihoods of the people who share the land.  We believe that doing the right thing is good business. A good business enhances the lives of all who work within it and enriches the lives of all those whom it comes in contact. We honor that our customers want products that help the people who make them.  By purchasing TheOne08 products you become part of the solution and play an integral role in our efforts to make a lasting change in our partner communities, so thank you!

3. Design Process

3. Design Process

Captains Log 108

"I had a major creative block this week.  I knew the styles I wanted, the basic silhouettes, but couldn't see what would make them ours.... Every time I tried to put pencil to paper, nothing.  So what does a girl do who is living a conscious life?  she goes and gets Reiki.  Low and behold my sacral chakra - creative center - is blocked.  As the Reiki practitioner unblocks it I am flooded with design ideas right in the middle of our session.  

I put pen to paper and I just can't stop.  I am so excited about what was flowing out and cannot wait to get them in work and make them come to life with our partners over seas.

Materials are on their way to us, being shipped as we speak, in my mind they are the best cruelty free options we can find from across the globe and will align in aesthetic to what we are all about.  

Things are happening over here.  It's been an exciting journey so far.  

Complete with silly humor, Kristen Wiig impressions and lots and lots of Vegan Food from Vital Root"

Marnie Quinn

2. Why I joined TheOne08

2. Why I joined TheOne08

Marnie Quinn

I don't remember a time in my life where style was not present. Even in my yoga clothes I am making a statement. Some days that statement is "IDGAF", but other days I'm in full peacock mode. For me this has never been about anyone else other than me. I am a person who loves self expression, loves adornment and has always wanted to bring this to fruition for others.

With that sort of passion one would naturally dash off to New York and work in Fashion. Which is exactly what I did. And I loved it. Until I didn't. Sometimes when you see the sausage being made you no longer have a craving for sausage. (PS I'm a lifelong vegetarian, who has cheated on occasion.... and yes with sausage).  

I am not a quiet country mouse, even though I grew up in Broomfield, Colorado. I have a voice and I use it. And I was using it at every company I worked at. But you quickly realize companies who are purely driven by the bottom line integrity, quality, authenticity fall to the wayside. There are always individuals within the system that care but it's hard to get a giant ocean liner to turn. Boy did I try though.

So exhausted and over it, I left without looking back. And began a life that aligned fully to my values. I opened a healing center in Westminster, Colorado. I got back to nature and my natural self. I used my voice to help others.

And then one day I intersected with others who shared my integrity, my passion, my desire to do good, help others and create change. And we decided to come together and create a brand that would revolutionize how things are made, where they are made, and what they are made of. A brand that would help everyone who came into contact with it. A brand that married Style and Good. 

This is TheOne08. 

I am so grateful to be a founding member and the product designer of our line.

Marnie Quinn