Dialing in the Details of the Etchr Art Satchel

June 08, 2017 0 Comments

Etchr Lab trip to Guangzhou

Hi all, Daz here, I hope you're well.

NOTE: If you're interested in purchasing, we recently concluded our successful Kickstarter campaign and just opened our Pre-Order store - if you missed out on the KS campaign, our Pre-Order campaign is still offering some pretty sweet discounts!

We're getting closer and closer to our Kickstarter launch which is slated for mid August (yikes!!) so I wanted to update you on what we've been up to.

Quick note: we've added Disqus to our store platform to replace the old comments section. Let us know if there are any bugs.

Quick links if you don't want to scroll:

1. My trip to our manufacturer

2. Choosing some new materials

Let's get to it!


I recently spent a week in Guangzhou, China which is one of the pre-eminent manufacturing hubs in the world. Yan, one of my business partners came along and we visited our manufacturer's headquarters going over the design and detailing of the Etchr Art Satchel and Etchr Field Case, both of which will be released as part of our Kickstarter campaign this August.

There was a lot to go through due to the complexity of the prototypes, and as I don't speak Mandarin myself I needed my business partner Yan to translate a great deal of what I required of them in order to pull off the intricacies of the design work.

This was a new level of attention to detail that we've tried to improve on from the process of the Nomad Art Satchel, and even with the language barrier, we achieved a LOT in the seven days we were on site.

With something like this, there are a lot of nuances that can be misconstrued over email or Skype chats, so being there face-to-face being able to explain and show what we needed cut down potentially weeks if not months of emails back and forth.

On a personal note, I didn't really know what to expect visiting Guangzhou, but all in all I loved it. Although I am of Chinese descent, I've never been to China as I was born in Singapore and migrated to Australia when I was a young child, so I've grown up primarily in the West.

I found the energy in GZ pretty intoxicating, people were working around the clock and shops were open well into the early morning every night - you could easily go for a second or third dinner at 3am if you so wished. There was a high degree of motion all the time and being a bit of a workaholic myself, I enjoyed it there immensely.

We didn't have time to do much sightseeing, so we mainly stuck around our hotel, ate lots of local cuisine (which I loved) and usually worked from early in the morning until late at night. We did get to spend a little bit of time in the CBD which was (imo) breathtaking.

Typically, I don't enjoy holidays that much, again, too much of a workaholic, I tend to get restless and want to create or make stuff after a few days but I had a ball in GZ since it was a working trip with a smattering of sightseeing. I was surprisingly emotional leaving and I look forward to returning in the future to give life to new Etchr products : )


Down to business! We can't really post much about the actual design iterations on our bag since our pre-production prototype is still being fabricated, but I can share a few materials upgrades to the prototype that we developed alongside Andy (our Industrial Design Wizard in Seattle).

Firstly, the choice of shell material - that is the material that encases most of the bag - has been refined, and we've gone for something even more weather-proof than our earlier prototype. Unfortunately, I don't have a materials swatch on hand, but we should be getting the new sample next week so be on the look out for new photos!

Internal liner material has been switched from nylon to a smooth rip-stop material with a much nicer feel. An added benefit of this bag lining is that is has some level of elasticity so we were able to build in stretchable internal pockets! You can see both materials below, the new material is the lighter material on the left.

In addition we've upgraded the bag shoulder strap to more of a seat-belt material with a much smoother/silkier touch, which gives a greater sense of quality. The new material is on the left compared to the original on the right.

We also sourced out a higher quality elastic which is interwoven. This is the elastic webbing that holds your sketchbooks, canvases, digital tablets and other artistic materials in place.

The internal straps for your art supplies have also been upgraded to a higher tensile elastic band.

Next up, we've also changed the g-hook / tension hook supplier and finish. The new one is on the left and old one is on the right. I like the lower profile of the new hook and it also makes it more difficult to accidentally bump and release, particularly if you're carrying tripods, pochade boxes, paint sets, etc. under the front flap.

The cushioned bakpack backing of the bag has undergone a materials upgrade. The new material is of better quality, has a higher resistance to wear and tear and is easier to clean.

Finally (and we're not 100% settled on this yet) we're potentially looking at changing animal leather to microfiber leather, which is a premium material in itself, although a little more animal friendly. Microscopically, the structure of microfiber leather is extraordinarily close to animal leather and hence shares a lot of very similar properties such as toughness and color-fastness. The most obvious difference is the difference in smell - the microfiber is almost entirely free from odour, which is the hallmark of animal leather.


NOTE: If you're interested in purchasing, we recently concluded our successful Kickstarter campaign and just opened our Pre-Order store - if you missed out on the KS campaign, our Pre-Order campaign is still offering some pretty sweet discounts!

So that's about all I can share with you for now. Stay posted as shortly we will be going into some detail on the Etchr Field Case which will be released alongside the Etchr Art Satchel on Kickstarter. We will also be releasing more detail on the specifics of our Kickstarter campaign so stay tuned : )

As always please feel free to reach out - we now have a new Q&A platform up and running for our blog posts which should make it much easier to communicate directly with you. You can also reach out to us through our social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest) and once again feel free to share our progress with other like-minded creatives!

Thanks for reading <3

Cheers, Daz.