Mjölk & HOI BO: A Perspective on Travel

October 12th, 2011

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During our most recent trip, a lot of you noticed the new bag I was wearing. We were both really happy that people noticed, the bag is actually a prototype travel bag that was a collaboration between maker Sarra Tang (HOI BO), and Mjölk. We took it with us for a crash test in Japan, catching different trains every day, spending a new day in a different city, and only using one day trip bag everywhere we went.

The collaboration started after Juli purchased a HOI BO bag for herself, and we posted it on our blog. Sarra saw it and came over to the shop and bought one of our Eve bracelets by Claesson Koivisto Rune. Later they got together over dinner with a mutual friend and after finding a lot of similarities in sensibility a collaboration started to make a lot of sense. After visits to the studio, and bites at the Drake the essence of the bag started to take shape. For all of us the resulting bag had to reflect the shared belief of a perfect balance between form and function.

For Sarra the real challenge was to design a toiletry case and bag that could be used for a man and woman. Not create a genderless bag, but a bag that complimented each gender in a different way.

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All bags and leather work are exclusively made at the HOI BO studio in the Historic Distillery District

Fabric : Waxed canvas, 100% Cotton.  Made in the US since 1847
The fiber is both water and soil repellent

Leather : Naked bark tanned leather.  Tanned in the US since 1881

Hardware : Solid Brass

Also features a black leather cover for cellphone pouch.

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To compliment the bag a pair of two leather toiletry case were made and designed by Sarra. There is no machine work used on the leather case, they are entirely sewn and fabricated by hand using natural tanned leather. The brass details are all designed and cast by HOI BO.

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We felt it was really important to share with you Sarra Tang’s studio space to get a feel of where and how these pieces are all made. The space is located in the Distillery and open to the public, you can also buy her work in the studio.

One of the first things I noticed in the store, besides the beautiful partially finished beeswax bags hanging in the ceiling, was the custom made plywood clothes hangers with a layer of natural leather stamped with “HOI BO”, they even had a sand cast brass hanger. That level of thoughtfulness in her space was something I instantly admired and connected with.

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Partially finished beeswaxed bags hang from the ceiling, interestingly enough they look like beehives hanging from the white painted ceiling.

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Natural blocks of beeswax.

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With a team of three makers, all of HOI BO’s work is hand crafted in-house with deep consideration for both quality and innovation of process. Their satchels are created in production runs of 4-6 pieces allowing them to focus intimately on every detail.

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A collection of leather accessories with the ubiquitous tomato pin cushion.

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A brief shot of the work desk.

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Coming full circle back to the bag, we’re going to be having a launch party on October 21st, where you will be able to purchase the bag. We will only have a limited amount available since the production runs are small in order to keep a high standard of quality.


The bag can be worn three different ways, as a backpack, shoulder bag, and messenger bag. You can also remove all of the straps to create a beautiful brief case. Above you can see the bag in a couple different uses.

We hope to see you at the event!

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