Dave here. It's been a really busy summer so far. We've got a lot of cool new things in the works, and we're also bringing back a few vintage Saddleback touches that will probably make some of you old-timers smile. I heard somebody say once that the best way to know where you're going is to look at where you've been. So here we go.
1. The small briefcase is back. It's a limited order run 2012 Collector's Edition, and we're only taking orders from October 1 through October 15, 2012. You can pick one up here.
2. Suede is back, and expanding as an option on more bags soon. Read more here.
3. Saddleback Family member Robin Ross is the winner of our Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund essay contest. She'll be joining us for the 2012 JDRF Death Valley Ride for the Cure this October. She's probably been training harder than I have. We sat down for a quick interview with her.
4. We're donating the proceeds of vintage Dave's Deals eBay auctions to the JDRF. But you don't have to buy a bag to help us support this worthy cause. Read more.
5. New backpacks have been spotted on the Masai Mara.
6. Belts are back in stock.
Beginning on October 1, 2012, The Small Classic Briefcase will be making its return in the form of a 2012 Collector's Edition. We are making these bags as a custom order, available for a limited time. Don't count on the small briefcase making it's way back onto our shelves anytime soon as a regular item. IF we decide to offer it again, it would be in another limited run but not in the near future.
The Small Classic is available in all four Saddleback colors. Pigskin lining comes standard, or you can custom order suede lining for an extra $25. We'll be taking orders from October 1, 2012 to October 15, 2012. We’ve scheduled production to try to get all the orders delivered by Christmas. But if we get a huge amount of orders, some deliveries could be pushed into early 2013.
You can choose to pay when you place the order, or make a $1.00 deposit and have your card billed for the balance when the bag ships.
Cool fact: This is the only Saddleback bag ever produced with both the original two rivet tongue style and my Signature logo. Also, the inside will be stamped with a special "Made in Mexico 2012" dated origin stamp. We aren't doing any other Collector's Editions this year, so this is pretty much the only time that a 2012 year stamp will ever be used. I thought that was a neat touch.
Suede lining is available on our Classic Briefcase, Classic Briefcase Thin, Messenger Bag, Backpack, Duffel Bag, and Beast Duffel. On October 1, 2012, keep an eye out for the suede option on our Waterbag and Suitcase.
2012 JDRF Death Valley Ride For the Cure
I started out lining my bags with suede, but then switched to pigskin for a few different reasons: It's a lot lighter and stronger, and it's also easier to wipe down if you spill a jar of salsa in the bottom of your bag. But I've heard that a lot of you are really missing that soft, old school feel of suede, and so we finally got our ordering system set up to start working suede orders back in. All you have to do is select "suede" on the lining drop down menu on the product page.
Keep in mind suede lined bags are being made on a custom order basis, so be sure to plan on a 4-10 week delivery window, depending on how busy things are in the shop. Also, because it is a custom order, the suede lining costs a little bit more than the standard pigskin lining. Check out the product pages for more details.
My niece Grace was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes at the age of seven. To help put an end to this life-threatening disease, Saddleback is sponsoring a team for this year's Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund (JDRF) Ride For the Cure Century Ride in Death Valley. It's a cool way to get together and show support and fundraise for a great cause. Saddleback, TrueBlue (our manufacturing facility) and CSI (our shipper, owned by Grace's mom) have come together to pledge $80,000+ to our riding team. All the money goes straight to JDRF's artificial pancreas research.
I'm excited to Welcome Saddleback Family Member Robin Ross from Ann Arbor, Michigan onto Team Grace. She'll be riding with me and the rest of the team this October. Robin is a Vitreoretinal surgeon and diabetic clinical researcher. Sounds like she knows a thing or two about diabetes. She took a break from training and work for a chat with us.
Great to meet you, Robin! Tell us a little more about your work.
I manage diabetic retinopathy both medically and surgically. Diabetes can cause blindness, kidney failure requiring dialysis and nerve damage which leads to foot ulcers and amputation. By 2035, 439 million people worldwide will have diabetes. This potential for complications causes a huge personal cross to bear for each diabetic and a huge socioeconomic burden to our medical system and the lost work force. A cure for diabetes requires a "team" approach - researchers, physicians, and fundraising.
Absolutely. What was your first Saddleback piece?
I bought several pieces at once preparing for a trip to Africa. I had a soft camera gear pack with three bodies and lenses no padding and I placed it inside the Saddleback Duffel and carried it on. I bought an iPad case and a MacBook Air sleeve and placed them inside a small backpack with all my camera cords.
That’s great. Any cool stories about your leather?
No Masai spear stories, but if you invent a classic leather saddle for my bike I would have one...just kidding. Coming back from Africa, I landed in Atlanta to return to my home state of Michigan. I had one hour to gather my luggage, clear customs, and get my passport stamped. I had checked only my Saddleback Duffel with my camera, tripods and accessory camera gear. It was first off the baggage carousel with a "handle with care" tag and it's own special bin. I grabbed it off the carousel thinking, "sweet"! Several people including the Delta attendant directing me said, "nice bag". I was surprised that it looked brand new still after the long journey back.
What are you most looking forward to about the ride?
The scenery. Rather than focusing on a finish, I plan to enjoy the beautiful time of year in Death Valley. It is perhaps the most beautiful time of year to see one of our most scenic national landmarks. This will be my first big century ride.
This will be Dave's first century ride too. Or any ride over 15 miles for that matter. Any cycling advice for him?
Have all your children before the race :). Change your office chair to a bike seat. Train part of the time in shorts without padding. Invent the first Saddleback classic leather bike seat - it will make a great "Dave video" and it will do a "twofer"; help with fundraising and be an additional classic Dave video that will continue fundraising after the race. Try to do at least 70 miles before d-day. Attitude and mental toughness is really half the battle.
Why do you want to ride with Team Grace?
The opportunity to ride with Team Grace, encourage awareness of diabetes and help fundraise is a real honor. I am blessed with good health. When I am on the bike and riding and my butt hurts or my legs ache, I think about our diabetic patients with neuropathy of the legs and I think, they live with this ache day in and day out. You are healthy. This is a one day ride in a beautiful spot. Saddle up and ride.
Thanks for talking with us Robin! See you in the desert!
Every time you make a donation to Team Grace
, we’ll send you a cool leather JDRF Gracelet. This Death Valley ride is a great way for people to come together and show my niece Grace and others like her that this is a global effort to help save and extend lives. Thanks to Robin for all her hard work in the fight against diabetes.
We’re also supporting JDRF by donating the proceeds from all the Dave’s Deals vintage bags we sell in our eBay store. Speaking of that...
Vintage Dave’s Deals Are Back on eBay
We’ve been selling vintage Dave’s Deals on eBay for a few weeks now. The original plan was to donate 10% of each sale toward our JDRF fundraising pledge. But once we saw that some of the bags were auctioning for well over their retail price, I figured we might as well donate 100% of the proceeds above the retail cost of the bag to JDRF (we’ll still donate 10% of the sale to JDRF on items that auction for retail or below). I usually keep pretty quiet about the various causes and charities that Saddleback is involved with, but this one is a little different. I want to get the word out about JDRF for Grace and all the other people out there suffering from this terrible disease. You don’t even have to buy a bag to get involved. You can go to the JDRF site directly and make a tax-deductible donation to help fund their research. Every little bit helps. Check out the JDRF Team Grace page on our site for more info.
I also brought my dad Herb back onboard to run the auctions, just like he did way back in 2005 when Saddleback was just getting started. He was really good at it. So head on over to our eBay store and see what Herb’s got going today.
The secret is out. Eagle-eyed family member David Hill spotted one of the top secret upcoming backpacks on our video guy while we were doing some field testing in the middle of Nowhere, Kenya. I took a couple prototype backpacks around the world with us and man were they great. I discovered a few small changes that will make them even better and once I get the design finalized we will start making them. Look for them on the site this fall, in plenty of time for Christmas (monocle and top hat not included). For a closer look, check out this backpack review video with one of the Masai warriors.
My Tow Belt and Old Bull belts are back in stock. We’ve introduced a clearer sizing guide so you get the right
size the first time. For those of you who’ve been forced to wear sweatpants to the office the past couple months
for lack of a suitable belt to hold up your chinos, I’m sorry. You can put the sweatpants away.
Well, that’s it for now. Everybody here in the shop has been working hard on a bunch of cool projects. Your
feedback has been really helpful as we work to make your Saddleback experience even better. We wouldn’t be
who we are without you. Thanks for your patience and support. It means a lot.
Peace to You,