Progress Report: More Samples Production & Good Press

I have a new favorite bag. The Workaholic in this ruby or scarlet or coral red color (not sure which adjective I will use later for product descriptions). It’s this beautiful rich color between red and pink, not so aggressive as red but not so dainty pretty girl as pink. I just love it.

These photos do no justice. But if it can look that great with me snapping photos late on a Friday night in my living room with no lighting equipment, imagine how it’ll look in a professional products photo shoot.

I love the front pocket. I can slip business cards in there. One of my problems is at a meet, I always find myself fumbling through my carpetbag of a purse for business cards. With the front and back pockets on the TZ bags, that won’t be a problem anymore.

And here’s the interior view:

Initially I designed the below wallets for the Peripatetic weekender. However, looking at it again now, it seems to pair better with the Workaholic.

These wallets, by the way, are awesome. Each zipper compartment is expandable. You can fit a smartphone in one compartment; cash, credit cards, and business cards in another; and a small compact or lip gloss, mints, or your flash drive in the third. (I carry a flash drive wherever I go. Hey. You never know.)

Here’s the Peripatetic in Black, that the above wallet was supposed to go with:

The bag is sort of flopped, leaning awkwardly against the wall and I’m shooting at an angle pointing up, never a good angle. Still gives a good sense of what the bag looks like though.

That’s the back view of the Peripatetic in Black. Again, I love the exterior open pockets. They are deeeep. Back when I traveled abroad, I remember waiting in line at the airport and wishing that my handbags or carry-ons had more accessible exterior pockets for me to slip in my passport or ticket. From now on the Peripatetic weekender tote will be my go-to carry-on for all trips. I’ve also recommended this bag to my little sister, who’s still in academia. This bag is great for lugging around law school casebooks.

The Peripatetic started as my interpretation of the shoulder tote. Back in school, it was my bag of choice because it fit textbooks. The classic shoulder tote is multi-functional and versatile. I can stuff it with shoes and a change of clothes for dance class or gym. There are lots of generous pockets. It’s sturdy, and even though I shouldn’t use this as a laptop carrier, I won’t say I haven’t. The classic shoulder tote is great for everything.

Above to the left is an actual designer shoulder tote I own. I took a picture of the back view to hide the logo (and to be fair, compared it with the back view of the Taryn Zhang Peripatetic). That common black shoulder tote rocks. In a morning rush out the door, I used to reach for that common black shoulder tote. But truth be told, it’s unattractive.

When I first started off, I noticed many independent handbag designers trying to reinvent the shoulder tote, probably noting the same thing I noted–the common ones are ugly; but usually the reinvention was just a switch up of colors, giving the tote a more cheerful, fun look. Or it becomes a tote made out of some crazy expensive leather and studded with gold. Neither direction really fit my style. So I tried my hand at a reinvention of the tote and came up with the Peripatetic.

Here are shots of my tote in a few other tentative color options:

The above neutral cream one is nice. I like it. The Peripatetic weekender tote design really needs the light color dark color contrast and duality to pop. When it’s all black or all of any one color, it just doesn’t look right, though we will be offering the Peripatetic in all black because the all black version is very chic looking.

We’re going to have to switch out the lighter (barely lighter) purple above for an even lighter hue. I like the shade of purple at the base, but not the main color purple.

There’s a handful of other colors we produced, but my living room is currently a mess of boxes, bags, and packing junk. Once I sort through the mess, more photos, more organized photos will be posted here.

When you are a start-up designer, this is what your home will look like for months… just a mess of boxes and, of course, handbags big and small. We seriously need to start thinking about renting office space, and soon. It’s getting ridiculous.

We’ve also made a few modifications.

The Executive satchel brief now has purse feet! Aren’t they cute? The silhouette pictured above kinda reminds me of a penguin though. Which is okay. I heart penguins.

Yet another change: the Ambitionist briefcase got a bit bigger…

Just a bit. And I’m torn between both sizes. The first sample (in the back, the smaller one) perfectly fits letter size manila file folders, which is what I use at work. The smaller bag fits the files and one very slim, very small notebook computer, which is great for the modern working woman. But for those of us who still have the larger 13 inch plus laptops, the smaller bag is not so great. And it’s not like the bigger version is all that bulkier… In any case, I need to make a decision soon on which one to go with.

The Ambitionist at left above is the bigger one. Hubby is holding up a standard letter size manila file folder for comparison. The Ambitionist at right is the smaller one, though it isn’t smaller by much. That smidge of a difference makes the one at left okay for those of us who need the briefcase to fit a 13.5 inch laptop.  A 14 inch will probably also fit, though I’m not sure on that point, and if it can fit, it certainly will be snug! The Ambitionist at right is suitable just for file folders, because some of us don’t need to bring a laptop to work.

Another concern I have for the Ambitionist is whether the handles are sturdy enough for this bag to endure the wear and tear from carrying a laptop computer. The handles are a huge concern to me in fact. Will absolutely need to redesign to make them sturdier. Right now I look at those and I’m afraid to tug too hard. These bags need to be super functional. I shouldn’t be afraid to tug “too hard” on them. Sigh. More work to be done.

Oh, here’s another thing that made me go “Yikes!” — My (bad idea) for modifications on the Precisionist satchel.

At left is my illustration done in MS Paint. After the first samples of the Precisionist came back, I thought the satchel might be more functional with 2 compartments, one zipper compartment and one with a magnetic snap closure flap. I can put my sunglasses, phone, etc. in the open compartment for accessibility.

But the new change looks like crap. It totally messed up the structure and silhouette of the design I intended. Blah.

I like the 2 zip pouches idea however. Every Precisionist satchel brief comes with these 2 zipper pouches. I would use one to carry my contacts case and eye drops, and the other for the several tubes of lip gloss and lipsticks I tend to lug around. Or I could use one of them as a coin purse. They’re so cute, and they fit in the side V-lined pockets!

There have definitely been hits and misses in this round of samples. And one particular color I just can’t seem to settle on…

Here’s how that color looks on the Workaholic:

That color, whatever you want to call it, gives the Workaholic tote a very mature feel to it, which makes it an apropos gift for a very sophisticated mother or mother-in-law. So for that, it might not be a bad idea sales-wise to include this color option. Yet Hubby dislikes it immensely. He’s totally against mass production of the Workaholic in this beigey cream stone taupey gray color. “No,” he keeps saying. “Absolutely not. It’s fugly.”

On a far more thrilling end note, TZ has been getting some great press lately, thanks to the kind, generous folks over at Schema Magazine, a Canadian publication that I frequently read (even way before they wrote up this piece on me!).

Jocelyn Gan over at Schema interviewed me for this piece, and she was fabulous. Jocelyn exemplifies girl power. I hope our paths will cross again.

Click on the above image for the full article.

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