INTERVIEW: Case Bloom, Co- Founder of Tucker & Bloom
by Sam del Pilar
Who is Case Bloom? Please tell our readers your journey to where you are now.
Well I am the product of a two parent house hold where both parents we’re artists. My father is a bag designer and has been doing that since before I was born, and my mother is a visual artist. My family moved to Nashville TN from Brooklyn NY when I was a kid because my father got a job working for Hartman Luggage. I went to school in Nashville and it was home for me up until I moved to Philadelphia around 5 years ago. Aside from that I DJ and throw parties (The Boom Bap, and Little Big Things), do graphic design, and drink way too much coffee
What is the “dorm room” history of Tucker and Bloom? What can you tell us that you don’t mention on your “About Us” page?
This is a bit of a long story but I’m going to attempt to deliver the cliff notes. Basically all through high school I knew I was going to art school. My sophomore year my father got a job in NYC heading up travel wear for Coach. The family was getting ready to move to NY and I was looking at going to PRATT in Brooklyn for some sort of visual art. That summer I lived with my dad in the city and started taking courses at PRATT to get the Foundations requirements out of the way. When the summer ended I moved back with my mom and sister to try and get the house sold so we could move to join my dad. That September was the terrorist attack on the world trade center (9/11/01) and it basically changed everything for my family. The travel wear industry collapsed, my father was laid off at Coach, and we all had to figure out what to do. Through all of that I went to business school instead of art school and started Tucker & Bloom with my father.
With the large increase in bag companies the past 5 years, what is one element of your product that you stay true to maintain?
Our roots in design go deep. My dad has been making bags for over 30 years and comes from a school of design that essentially doesn’t exist in 2013. I do graphic design/development and grew up around factories and leather my whole life. All the design and manufacturing is done in house with the upmost attention to detail and quality. We aren’t chasing trends when we set out to make a product and so we intend to make the best product possible, weather it be a messenger bag, laptop sleeve, or 45 bag. All our products come with a lifetime warranty and we take that seriously. There is nothing disposable about what we make. There is a level of pride and integrity that goes hand in hand with how we produce every bag.
Talk about any other product (favorite food, music, cars, footwear, etc.) that inspires you with the bags you create.
When we we’re first starting developing our product line I came to my dad with the need for a messenger bag that could fit records and work as a daily commuter bag. At the time I was traveling a lot and I would often get caught carrying a plastic bag filled with records and other odds and ends around in addition to a messenger bag. That first thought spawned the North To South Messenger bag which has become one of our most popular bags. I carry one with me everywhere and its virtually solved the plastic bag issue for me.
What is the process of designing your bags? Discuss the some challenges you face when trying to keep the balance of aesthetics vs. functionality.
Designing a bag takes a lot of work and we go through many generations of samples before we launch a product. Sometimes we have a specific purpose for a bag in mind (like with the Rich Medina 45 Bag). If that’s the case than we want to make sure it serves that purpose well and that we’ve got the construction dialed in. The aesthetics vs functionality debate isn’t really an issue for us. We focus on functionality first and foremost but do so with an eye for design. In my mind the best design is the most functional design while being the most beautiful.
How did the collaboration with Rich Medina begin?
I met Rich down in Miami at Winter Music Conference maybe 4 years ago and than again when I interviewed him back stage at an even at Brooklyn Bowl. We both live in Philly and somewhere along the line we started talking about the need for a good 45 bag. At the time he was using a competitors bag and blowing through one every other month. We started with sketches, those turned into samples, which went out on the road with him and got beat up, and than became feedback for the next generation of samples. The whole process took around a year.
The collaboration seems like a perfect marriage, DJs are always traveling and lugging their equipment around. After working with Medina, are there any other products you feel are missing for DJs?
We’re always shooting ideas back and forth. As a DJ myself I’m always looking for ways to travel and maintain organization. We are currently developing some cord management bags that work in conjunction with our other products and work great for DJ equipment. Sort of like an electronics dopp kit. Because traveling goes hand in hand with being a DJ, we see the travel gear for the equipment not as an accessory but an essential tool of the trade.
How do you use trends to help with the creation of your bags?
We honestly aren’t interested in chasing trends. Aside from keeping up with technology and the need for new products we’re focused on making quality bags that serve multiple uses and provide our customers with years of use.
What future collaborations should we expect to see?
We’ve got a few things under our hat. Keep updated on the blog at www.tucker-bloom.com
Anything else you’d like to tell our readers?