The Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, once said “Change is the only constant in life.” Often, change can feel disrupting and overwhelming, but with patience and an open mind you can find that it is usually a positive thing. Things develop up to a point, a tipping point, and then comes change. We see this in nature too, dragonflies and butterflies both change into things of utter beauty. It would be wonderful if we could all welcome change and embrace the excitement of it. Instead, we often have a tendency to react with fear and even anxiety. Here at AmeriBag, we have always tried to shift that pattern of thinking and welcome the new. Perhaps you can too.
This June, AmeriBag is celebrating our 30th year in business! (HORRAY!) We have been grateful to evolve over time. So much of our evolution came because of the incredible loyalty and support to us and our products. However, part of reaching this milestone, was the act of welcoming change.
We started as a contract house for LLBean, Jansport and other recognizable brands, based on Irwin Gaffin’s freelance design work. We made their bags with their name on them. Slowly we built up from Irwin’s leather craftsmanship and design to have our own beautiful line of fine leather goods eagerly sought after by many admirers, including the rich and famous.
At that time, we had our own little showroom which very quickly became quite popular to Hudson Valley, New York locals. (See Image: Pine Grove Avenue Kingston, NY) A couple years later we purchased a gorgeous historic building and continued to sell from our own showroom. This move was a big change and scary but was truly wonderful and led to more growth for our company. (See Image: Greenkill Avenue, Kingston, NY)
Soon after (1993) we developed and patented our signature product: “The Healthy Back Bag ®”. This fabulous product began its popularity in Japan and soon gained popularity nationwide being introduced in the famous Norm Thompson catalog and eventually worldwide. This new adventure came about after one of our ‘tipping points’ and forever changed the direction of AmeriBag. We were blessed to have such loyal customers near and far, supporting our changes and evolving business. We were learning to trust that change was a positive thing.
The Healthy Back Bag became so popular that we opened a free standing store in adorable historic Kingston, NY (See Image: Wall Street Kingston, NY). Again, change was POSITIVE! It was a beautiful store but a few years later we saw another opportunity for change and moved our store to a sweet spot near like-minded shopping. (See Image: Ulster Avenue Kingston, NY) We also sold shoes there which was a fun compliment to the Healthy Back Bag. Everyone LOVED that!
It was time for another change – we had moved into a massive building equipped for local manufacturing and warehousing and decided to open our own outlet “Company Store” with everyday discounts. Again, this was positive and our loyal community supported us. Around the same time we opened up a ‘sister’ company in the UK. For a minute, we had fear and anxiety about such a large endeavor, but what is the theme here? Positive change..not just change. Our London office now sells worldwide to over 26 countries. Can you say WOW!
The Healthy Back Bag has been welcomed everywhere by all descriptions – young, old, commuters, travelers, professionals, and adventurists male and female! It is truly the bag for “Whoever you are, wherever you go, whatever you do!”
Now we are facing our next chapter of AmeriBag, the Healthy Back Bag Company. We have restructured our operations to meld with our growth and the ever-changing times. We will continue have local events to celebrate and give back to our community while also bettering functionality and service to our loyal customers wherever they are and wherever they go. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all of the love, support and encouragement along this 30 year adventure. We cannot wait to see what the future holds for AmeriBag!
Moral? Look within your own story, recognize those tipping points when something you feared turned into something better, different or uncharted. Now remember that for next time. There is always good on the other side, it is just up to you to find it and make the most out of change.
By: Margery Gaffin