Once upon a time there was a girl named Kayt. And a boy named Jake. They grew up together and chased each other around the soccer field. Literally. Verdict's still out as to who was chasing whom. They built forts and dreamed up mysterious make-believe lands in the shrub and woods behind the soccer fields when they were just six years old. The story goes that Jake (Founder and Design Shaman) and Kayt grew up together and remained friends, each growing in their creative pursuits - Kayt as a graphic designer and business owner extraordinaire and Jake as a bag designer and business owner extraordinaire - and all the while, Kayt has followed Jake's journey with Ethnotek and vice-versa.
Kayt mentioned to me that what she finds inspiring is the way "Jake looks at things differently...looks past the ho-hum, drab aspects of the everyday. He sees so much more, and this has always inspired me. That joy and extra spark in his eye tells a story entitled Let's Go Exploring!" She's proud to call herself a 'Tribe member,' following the Ethnotek mission to celebrate and promote world culture one bag at a time.
About a year ago, and by popular demand from the Tribe ladies, the design team (aka Jake) posed the question to the Tribe on Facebook: Tote or no Tote? And, if we were to design a Tote, what were the must-have features? Kayt was more than happy to chip in and give her feedback on the design, based on her adventurous, yet style-conscious perspective; "It’s been so amazing to witness this extraordinary product, company and movement these past couple of years. I am very excited, proud and honored to be able to contribute my thoughts and be a part of the rockin' Ethnotek Tribe whenever possible!"
Before I go on, can I just state the obvious: Kayt = number 1. How amazing is our Tribe?! Seriously. We are constantly full of gratitude to have a strong community composed of like-minded individuals who are so stoked to get involved and share their story, and the stories of our artisans. It's unreal, and we're both honored and humbled!
Check out what Kayt had to say about her new India 8 Dep Tote:
The Dep Tote really is a thing of pure beauty (nice work on the name Cori)! (Tribe Scribe Note: Dep" means "beautiful" in Vietnamese). When I first received it, I thought it would make an awesome day/weekend trip bag...but I found myself using it daily for my work and everyday bag. It's perfect in that it is low-key and relaxed enough to go everywhere, but yet big enough to hold the whole office on-the-go.
In fact, on the very day I received it, I packed it up and headed out for a day of the “design office on-the-go" composed of client photo shoots, morning brainstorming sessions at the corner coffee cart, a few meetings and finishing up projects from the park (yes our parks here have wireless...hello, heaven!). And, of course, I felt I couldn't forget to make sure to take that time out of the day for a little stroll down to the beach to be reminded of how amazing this beautiful world we live in is.
I really like the feel of this bag - not just the fabric and materials (although that thread/textile...man, it is so soft you just wanna curl up and snuggle with it!) - but the size and shape of it, the sturdiness in it’s construction, and the fact that it’s just substantial yet comfy to walk around with! I think this, coupled with its aesthetic appeal, caught the eye of many passers by when I was about town. It really does make a great statement. It's something a little different that not many people have seen, and it peaks their curiosity and spurs them to ask questions and create a connection...and I am more than happy to tell them all about how rockin’ it - and Ethnotek - is!
But there's more. Not only is the bag aesthetically beautiful, it is also super-functional. I LOVE that a full-sized laptop sleeve comes with it, and love even more that it has it’s very own interior zippered “spot” in which it fits snug-as-a-bug-in-a-rug! This feature helps to open up the inside of the bag a TON. This is a unique feature I appreciate because usually when a bag has a spot for a laptop inside, it takes up a large part of the interior space. Not in this case. With the Dep Tote you can hardly even tell that you have your laptop in there it leaves so much room (I even forgot it was in there a few times)!
It holds my 15” MacBook Pro perfectly, and I know it’s safe because of the awesome detail with the quilted interior of the sleeve is quilted and the choice of fabric (it's hard to describe...you have to see it for yourself!).
The outdoor-adventure, high-end more rugged materials (Tribe Scribe Note: she's referring to the 840-denier water resistant ballistic nylon components) blend seamlessly with the intricate, literally soft and rich handwoven textile! It feels stylish and classy, yet rugged adventure-ready.
To expand on the details...well, the details of this bag just kill me. There are so many features. As I explored the bag after I received it, I was blown away by all the details and great quality of craftsmanship that went into this bag - both in the construction/design of the bag, but also in the actual handcrafted textile component. The quality in craftsmanship and design really shows in the details, from the choice of shoulder strap material to the amount of padding on the straps and the type of clasps chosen. I feel like at every turn I was discovering something new! Snaps even...GAHH! One of my personal favorite design elements of the bag is the inclusion of the country flag from which this textile was made. These peeps in Ethnotek really know their stuff and it shows! You can tell it was made with pure love and a passion for design and for craft; it just emanates from the bag.
Okay, I know this all sounds a bit over-the-top, but it's true. I am more than a little excited because I am so proud that my former six-year-old, fort-building, make-believe land-dreaming soccer buddy has created this beautiful, functional bag. I always knew Jake put his heart and soul into these bags and that they were going to be amazing, but when I received and opened the bag for the first time…my mind was BLOWN. This kid really knows what he is doing! Every inch of this bag FAR exceeded my expectations. Receiving it, opening it and feeling it for the first time was an experience in and of itself. I had never touched or used an Ethnotek bag, and I knew it was going to be good. And it has been. It has the right amount of features, yet they all so, so seamlessly and stylishly flow together.
When I'm not using my India 8 Dep Tote, I hang it on the door knob with pride. It fits in with the feel of my abode, and fits me and my personal style perfectly. The India 8 is SO good looking! This pattern caught my eye online and I had been pining over it on the Raja packs, Wayu daypacks and Acaat messenger bags for a while now. When I was given the opportunity to experience it on the new Dep Tote I was ALL IN! There is just something about this textile and its pattern. Seeing and appreciating the beauty of the bags through visuals is one thing, but actually feeling the tangible textile in real life was SO much more than I had imagined and expected. This textile, woven by Vankar Shamji in Bhuj (Tribe Scribe Note: read Tribe member Arushi's blog post to learn more about the artisans we partner with in Bhuj), has a whole other dimension to it - this one in particular just resonates with me, and I can't get enough.
Some poignant parting words from Kayt:
"To me this is more than a bag...it's a reminder to be true to your heart and follow your dreams.If jolly, curious, imaginative, adventure-loving buddy and his buddy Josh can create all this amazing good in this world through a simple idea and goal, then we all can do it! We just have to truly believe in ourselves. Let that extra spark in your eyes and passion in your heart guide you."
Cheers for joining us in our effort to keep culture alive. Now go snag a Dep Tote for yourself...or your mother for goodness' sake!
A little bit about Kayt:
Kayt Joyce currently resides in sunny Coronoado, CA, though she is a true Minnesotan at heart...of course not minding currently being a sunshine-loving SoCal transplant. Kayt would describe herself as an animal-rescuer, world list-lover, sharpie-fanatic, cheese curd-connoisseur, double-iced americano-drinker, vintage treasure-hunter, traveler, adventure-seeker, designer, FT small business owner, PT coffee cart barista, midday napper, wifey and mom to 3 fur babies, road-tripper, beachgoer, wanna-be surfer and self-proclaimed photo freak enchanted by all things in the sea.
And, finally, Kayt says "I am proud to be part of the Tribe! Long Live Ethnotek!"