A few years ago, I had the pleasure of visiting a local San Francisco business to see their craft in action. The company is Rickshaw Bagworks and they built, based on my choice of color and material, one of the best blogger backpacks that I have owned. My full review from back in 2009 goes into the details of materials and color selection and shows the manufacturing process photographically.
This year, I received a couple of really cool products from them, again completely hand-crafted in San Francisco. And one of them was the first-ever production of a carrying case for the new Kindle Touch. (The screen shot below is from the Rickshaw Bagworks homepage and it shows the new sleeve case for the Kindle Touch – the one that they custom-built for my wife.)
Here is the color version of the Kindle Touch sleeve above:
Rickshaw makes a variety of custom and pre-made cases, bags, sleeves and folios for all different types of gadgets and uses. While you can choose from a series pre-made configurations, designs and colors, one of the really great things about their customized service is that you can use their “Customizer” to choose colors, styles (e.g., vertical or horizontal openings on slip cases), fabrics, interior and bindings and other items.
Here is the custom MacBook Air case that was made based on my specifications. I wanted it to match the backpack they had made a few years before.
Let’s walk through the Customizer process that I used to configure my MacBook Air sleeve:
Step One – Select the product and orientation (may depend on the product)
Step Two – Choose the fabric and colors
That’s it, unless you want to accessorize and they have plenty of options for that like Folios and Moleskines.
The order is then hand-crafted at Rickshaw which is located in the Dog Patch area of San Francisco and the assembly begins. Below is a video, also available on YouTube, that shows the manufacturing process of my specific sleeve for the MacBook Air as well as some product shot photos.
[iframe_loader width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/eBon4zhlhZM?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen]
Rickshaw has a wide assortment of offerings, all reasonably priced, especially given the fact that they are hand-made in the United States. Rickshaw was “inspired by the creative energy of our city, urban cycling and a desire to make great products” and you can see this passion in each and every bag.
The two products that I received for this review, the sleeves for the Kindle Touch and the MacBook Air, show solid craftsmanship and attention to detail. I especially like the soft, “furry” interior of both of the cases that pad and protect the devices within. The fact that a customer can choose to personalize a large portion of their order, including, if they want to supply their own materials or fabric, makes a Rickshaw Bagwork’s product very individual and specific to the buyer.
I love the fact that I have a matching case to complement my 2+ year old backpack originally crafted by them.
I encourage you to explore the multitude of products and customization offerings available at the Rickshaw Bagworks site as well as take a look at their factory tour video to get an idea of what the company does. While not exactly a “technology product”, I felt it important to rate the 2 sleeves that I received. There is really not any “geek” to calculate in the ratings, but when you think about the fact that these products are actually “protecting your geek” from everyday wear and tear and during the transportation of these devices, I have to give Rickshaw high marks here. Obviously, given the customization available, their products work well in a family environment, especially if family members received a non-personalized gadget as a gift. What Rickshaw offers is the ability to say “here’s a gift that I not only hand-picked for you but customized to match your personality.” The price point is reasonable given the customization and the fact that their hand-crafted products are made in the USA.
From my 2+ years experience using the backpack they made for me, I can attest that their products do stand up to the tests of time. I use my blogger backpack every day, to and from work. I’m sure that the sleeves will hold up just as well.
Disclosure Text : I have a material connection because I received a gift or sample of a product for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was/am not expected to return this item or gift after my review period. All opinions within this article are my own. More information can be found in my About page as well as here.
HTD says: I’ve always been a big fan of Rickshaw Bagworks, from their attention to detail to the plethora of customization options available. It’s really hard to go wrong with a case or bag from them!