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Month / October, 2013

Tough Traveler

Micah ~ Courtesy Amanada & Bill Faulkner

Micah ~ Courtesy Amanada & Bill Faulkner

In our discussion with Tough Traveler CEO, Nancy Gold, we discover how a need provided 40+ years of sustainable manufacturing for this iconic American manufacturer.

When did you have the “aha” moment that this interest/passion could be a business?

Tough Traveler started long ago to make comfortable backpacks and shoulder bags, which at the time, could not be found. It then continued into an assortment of different items; comfortable hiking packs later became comfortable backpacks for school kids, which transformed into travelers backpacks, baby backpacks, and even dog carrier packs for comfort. Likewise, shoulder bags for carrying work gear, became shoulder bags for daily living which evolved into briefcases for files, computer bags for computers and other electronics, duffel bags, luggage, garment bags, and carry-ons for going to the gym, and business and vacation travel. We even offer emergency medical services packs and bags for ambulance and fire departments!

Scott & Nora Lindsay

Courtesy of Scott and Lisa Lindsay

What is the inspiration for your style and design?

Requests from the general consumer for much needed products, and observations and thoughts of what is needed to help with carrying for daily life, family, work, travel, and other uses.

The Stallion Child Carrier

Courtesy of Scott and Lisa Lindsay

Every product has various materials that compose it. What are some of the favorite materials you use in your design?

We often use the same USA-made materials: 1,000 d. Cordura® that looks like canvas but is actually very durable nylon, Packcloth, Rhinotek® and various other materials. We like materials that will hold up for usage and we like comfortable good-looking materials too!

Tough Traveler ® in Mexico, Courtesy of Xander Warasta

Tough Traveler ® in Mexico, Courtesy of Xander Warasta

Where do you source your materials?

USA when possible, approx 99%+

Photo courtesy of Sandra Johnson

Photo courtesy of Sandra Johnson

What is your favorite part of the creative and production process?

Right now we are enjoying assigning different products to increased usage, with design modifications and lots of fun in the process. Re-purposing! We have always been able to add pockets when possible, but now we are even adding whole sections!

Aedan, with Wakhi Guide, Afghanistan

Courtesy of Jason Kerr, Great Game Travel Afghanistan

What’s next?

USA manufacturing in the textile products area of bags and packs is very difficult, although it is rewarding to both create new products and to get excellent products to individuals, companies, and agencies. We do not pay 50 cents/hr, nor do we discard our wastes in the nearby river, and we do observe State & USA regulations for unemployment, worker’s comp., etc. USA-made products in this field of manufacturing are not generally sold by USA retailers, so to continue to design and manufacture in the USA we depend on word-of-mouth for new customers, longtime customers, and an increasing interest in USA-made products!

Great Wall of China Courtesy Claudia Wink

Great Wall of China Courtesy Claudia Wink

 

Waiting for the bus, adorable  friends of Tough Traveler

Waiting for the bus, adorable friends of Tough Traveler

Kid Carrier

Kid Carrier

 

 Courtesy of David Riley, www.AmericansWorking.com

Courtesy of David Riley, www.AmericansWorking.com



In North Carolina, courtesy of Erick Allen

In North Carolina, courtesy of Erick Allen

 

In North Carolina, courtesy of Erick Allen

In North Carolina, courtesy of Erick Allen

Stallion Made

Stallion Made

 


America’s Photographer

What If?

What if a now – anonymous photographer – likely a Wright Brothers assistant – had not snapped a photograph of Orville Wright’s first flight of a powered aircraft on a windswept North Carolina beach on a cold December day in 1903?

What if Depression-era photographer Dorothea Lange had not stopped to photograph a weary “Migrant Mother” and her clinging children as Arthur Rothstein was capturing despairing Dust Bowl families and Walker Evans was gathering images of grime-covered laborers in mines and mills?

What if photographers had not recorded humdrum slices of American life: cluttered Manhattan newsstands, weathered Vermont feed stores, humble Illinois motor courts, lonely Nebraska sod houses, dusty New Mexico trails – and the people who lived and worked in these places?

Wm.B.Ide Adobe Historic State Park, CA

Wm.B.Ide Adobe Historic State Park, CA

And here’s a more important question:

What if these images had been taken but never preserved for us to use and savor? What if, like billions of other photographs and moving pictures, they had been lost in the mists of time?

To our great benefit and relief, they and more than 15 million other historic photographs – dating to the days of the daguerreotype and before – are priceless national treasures, safely and meticulously preserved at America’s oldest federal cultural institution: our majestic Library of Congress.

Not just preserved, but also available to anyone, anywhere in the world, without copyright restriction.

This is America! Foundation has been chartered to produce such memorable photographs.

Beautiful Children in Rural Alabama

Beautiful Children in Rural Alabama

This is America! is a nonprofit foundation, launched in 2012, that is raising funds to produce a monumental, nationwide visual study of the United States in the 21st Century.

They include scenes of what we call “Disappearing America”: everyday places that have been threatened or destroyed by the ravages of time: Sagging barns. Abandoned gas stations. Stripped and empty drive-in move theatres. Shabby trailer courts and family-owned motels, cluttered general stores and old-time butcher shops barely hanging on.

Quirky roadside attractions and freaky museums, too, shuttered forever as interstate highways and rampant development suck the life out of old, two-lane roads.

These and countless other places and people in every American state are the focus of This is America! Foundation’s visual explorers: renowned American photographers Carol M. Highmith and distinguished videographer Connie Doebele.

Central Coast

Central Coast

 

Idaho Farm

Idaho Farm

 

Restaurant on Route 66 in Oklahoma

Restaurant on Route 66 in Oklahoma

 

Northwest

Northwest

 

Paso Robles, CA

Paso Robles, CA

 

Colt Tower, San Francisco

Colt Tower, San Francisco

 

Rhode island Light House

Rhode island Light House

 

Artistry

Artistry

 

Fish Lake in Alaska

Fish Lake in Alaska

 

Red Barn in Alabama

Red Barn in Alabama