Interlude: Yosemite Road Trip

I am collecting my thoughts and sorting through all possibilities while I figure out what my next step for Taryn Zhang should be. A weekend getaway to Yosemite National Park was perfect.

Although it isn’t the first place I’d think of for harnessing corporate-women-handbags-design-inspiration, it was exactly where I needed to be to find my center of gravity. Life has been hectic lately, with stress from the office (the day job), keeping up with pro bono work (it’s important to me that I set aside 10% of my time and assets to community service), working as managing editor of a literary journal, keeping up with reading (it’s also important to me that I continue my education), and being both a wife and the caregiver of a very high-maintenance cat. One would be surprised how much work goes into the latter roles, wife and caregiver of a high-maintenance cat. All this, of course, is on top of trying to launch my own line of designer handbags for career women.

Nothing enables you to clear your mind like an open green pasture!

Of course, even play isn’t all play. I packed one of the alpha collection prototype bags and took it on the go to see how it’d hold up. How is the quality and feel of the bag? Does everything I need to bring with me on a weekend road trip fit snugly inside?

Turns out there were loads of problems with this bag, the Jetsetter in antique rose (also tentatively named the “Daisy B” after Daisy Buchanan of The Great Gatsby before I changed it to Jetsetter). The shoulder strap (not shown) is two-thirds silver-tone chain and one-third strap, which looks great from afar, but makes for one really clunky bag. Everywhere I went, clink-clink-clink; you could hear me coming a mile away. Not cool.

Also, it is now very, very apparent to me that the metal TZ logo plates are too big. Way too big. I don’t know what I was thinking with the 2 inch x 2 inch plaque. I guess it didn’t seem that big when I cut out a 2″ x 2″ piece of cardboard and stared at it. Trial and error indeed. For the next round, let’s try 1″ x 1″.

Now the shoulder straps is a controversial issue. Some like it shorter, especially the petite girls, who tend to prefer shorter handle drops for a more petite looking handbag. Some like very long handle drops because they want a bag that can be slung over the shoulder. During conception, I thought the shorter handle drops would look better on the Jetsetter design, and it’s true, they do. However, in actual usage, it’s a pain. I can’t sling it over my shoulder. I have to use the detachable adjustable shoulder strap, which as I mentioned earlier, is clunky. Or clinky. (Improper usage of onomatopoeia? Is there such a thing as improper usage of onomatopoeia?)

Finally, the manufacturer couldn’t have picked an uglier interior lining. I acknowledge that I said I wasn’t particular about the lining on the prototypes, but by that I definitely didn’t mean “use the ugliest possible fabric you can get your hands on, please.” If budget permits, I want to go with a custom interior lining, with a pattern I designed.

What I do love about this bag is its roominess. This bag and a change of clothes is all I brought with me. I could comfortably stuff in there my makeup bag, makeup remover, toiletries bag, notebook, pens, a paperback, contacts, glasses, sunglasses, a mini first aid kit, cleansing wipes, everything I needed on a camping trip packed in there and easily slung over an arm. Love that. Love the gazillion pockets. This bag is pockets galore.

So for Round 2 of prototypes, I’ll make modifications to the Jetsetter design, but it’s a keeper. You’ll definitely see a revised version of this prototype in the Spring 2011 alpha collection!

And there’s me peering into a log cabin. Log cabins totally rock.

Monday, I am ready for you. Let this week hit me with its best shot. I’m super-rejuvenated!

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