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PORTLAND, OR — North St. Bags, producers of made-in-Oregon backpacks and bike bags, celebrates 10 years in business this month. The brand originated as Founder, Curtis Williams’ project to make a better bicycle pannier for friends while living in Berkeley, CA more than 10 years ago. The brand didn’t gain its name until Williams moved to Portland, OR and incorporated the business in 2009. Demand for the panniers quickly increased, and the project outgrew Williams’ basement after just 2 years. North St. moved into their first Factory Showroom production space in 2012 with six sewing stations and a retail area.
“Growing with North St. has been an incredible thrill for me,” said Curtis Williams, North St.’s Founder and Head Designer on the last 10 years of business. “Starting out on my own in that small basement shop on Woodward Ave., I wasn’t sure how far I would take it or where it would lead. I stayed focused on solving the next problem and making a better product. That’s still our challenge today, although we’ve grown quite a lot.”
The North St. team now calls Portland’s Hawthorne neighborhood home. They moved their Factory Showroom to this larger space in early 2018. “There are now 8 of us on the team,” said Williams, “To this day we do all of our own design, cutting, sewing and fulfillment in-house. In my first year, I think I shipped a couple hundred bags or so out to friends and sold some at some local events and shops. Now we aim to do that every week. We deliver bags all over the world through our website, dealer network, and international distributors. I am grateful that I get to do this for my job. It comes with challenges for sure but I’ve learned a lot along the way and I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do.”
Today, North St. still makes a number of bicycle panniers, including the same Woodward Convertible Backpack Pannier that Williams’ started with back in 2009. The product lineup has evolved beyond core cycling goods over the years, adding backpacks, duffle bags, hip packs, travel accessories, and, most recently, the critically-acclaimed lifestyle and everyday carry-focused Weekender Travel Series.
In celebration of this important anniversary, the brand is unpacking their first 10 years during the month of October; sharing content that highlights their core brand principles and favorite projects from over the years.
“This October, as we celebrate 10 years in business, we look forward to sharing some of our favorite stories, highlighting our brand ethos, and releasing some special bags to commemorate the anniversary,” said Williams. “Keep your eyes peeled for some limited edition throwback styles that we hope will stir up a little nostalgia for our early fans and give a peek into the early days of North St. for those new to the brand.”
One particular piece of the brand ethos that Williams looks forward to showcasing next month is North St.’s dedication to sustainability and minimizing their impact on our planet. “We’ve constantly considered and worked to minimize our impact over the years, like taking steps to reuse and recycle as much as possible in our manufacturing processes to cut down on material scrap. This month we’ll be announcing an exciting new initiative; joining like-minded businesses in taking more responsibility to preserve and protect our planet.”
Williams invites anyone who would like to stay in the loop on this announcement and some special offers on some cool gear to follow North St. on Instagram @northstbags and subscribe to their email list before next month. “Thanks so much for the past 10 years! We hope you will follow along and engage with us this October, and continue to travel well, adventure right, and own better things with us for years to come.”
For more information on North St. Bags, log onto, www.northstbags.com.