When in downtowns in cities, we see bicycle messengers every day. They are good at riding unique and very light weight bicycles, and with wireless receivers and big messenger bags holding A3 paper flat in maximum.
In their bag there are parcels less than 3kg, which senders demands in one-day delivery. They, messengers, are of course couriers' servicer. But they look so lively and starts feverishly at crossings. As it seems they say "we are not mere curriers but love to ride." But when it is under the weather of rains and winds, we feel pathetic to their rides.
There is a messenger bag brand under the name of "under the weather” which claims popularity among messengers and general cyclists as its fashionable design. The name of "under the weather" in English also means "feeling bad." Like someone say, "I was feelin' under the weather last week" means feeling bad or sometimes "have no money." I interviewed with the designer of the messenger bag, Ms.Anais Fritzlan,(Toronto, Canada)
【Triggers of making messengers' bags】 Q．Why was it the messenger bag for the startup?
Anais Fritzlan（AF） I worked very briefly as a messenger starting in 2000; first for a few weeks in Toronto, then for a couple of months in New York City, then about six months in Amsterdam, where I had moved with my first/previous husband (a Dutch cycle messenger, not my husband now). I have always done a lot of sewing, and he was interested in designs for messenger bags so we worked out a design based on our experience of technical needs.I sewed a bag for him, and I made some other ones for myself, and then some for a few friends.
Q．The experience of the messenger works is helpful for the business, isn't it? AF Although being a messenger was fun, and I think it's an important and worthwhile job for those who love it, I wanted to do something different and decided to make messenger bags as a business because I really enjoyed it. I began Under The Weather in early 2000 and started selling bags at cycle messenger races like the ECMC and CMWC. I returned to Toronto in fall 2001 and my first husband and I split. I spent some time studying graphic design and then started running Under The Weather in Toronto in mid-2002.
【No same patterns or colors in her messenger bags】 The particular point of her bags is basically no same patterns or colors.No reproduce in art bags. There are wits in the design and the combination of colors is exquisite. The coloring patterns are unique not only in outside but in inside.
Q.About colors and designs, how do you have concepts and ideas?
AF I sew art graphics based on what people ask for, or ideas that I have from things I see around me. I love nature, flowers and trees etc., but also the urban landscape and technology and science. The most fun for me is making unique art on the bags.
She learned to sew from her mother when she was very young, and have always sewn things for myself (clothes, household items). Although she have taken a few courses on certain aspects of graphic design and typography a, most of her knowledge is from reading and from designing things herself.
Q What is the selling points of the bag?
AF Of course durability is extremely important, and every design element and material choice has been made with that in mind. In fact we recently changed our liner material to TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) because it is much stronger than PVC, and less harmful for the environment and people working with it.
"Every city has its own brand of messenger bags," says Mr.Seiya Minato, at "Depot" in Ichikawa, a distributor in Japan of under the weather. The essentials of the bags are settled by document sizes and delivery goods by the customers' request in every town.
【Why still sticking to "Hands-on business?】 When I asked her " why do you still stick to "hands-on business" ? and she said "Do not make me laugh to imagine that I have “fame”! But her own brand, under the weather has ardent supporters not only in North America but in Japan. There is no stocks of under the weather bags because thy are sold very quickly.
She does design,sawing by her own two hands. Some weeks they ship out 20 bags or less. Sam, her current husband, helps but basically only with her hands. She sells cycle pants and skirts which they order local small factories in Toronto. She likes to manage small business.
AF I do not like managing larger businesses or people and don't want a business doing that. I would rather make small quantities of goods that I can put a bit of myself into, than to manage a business telling other people how many things to make and only worrying about staffing and training and scheduling and bills all the time.
Q. I found out your names on CMWC entry lists,in 2005 and June of 2008. Why do you still entry the contests?
AF My husband and I register for the CMWC every year, even if we can't go. I don't race, and he only sometimes races, but we feel it's important to support the messenger community.
【Compensation of Freedom】 Why young people wants to be messengers? I think they feel free if they have bicycles they can work from today. Plus, they feel they are the supporters of bicycle culture.
However they feel the compensation of freedom is no small. They work as "part-time contractors". Average annual income is 20000 to 30000 dollars in Tokyo area, 10000-20000 dollars in local cities. They basically have no liability insurance and pay medical insurance and pension plan by themselves. They pay bicycles and its parts and puncture repair by themselves. This work situation is forever as long as they are part-timers.
However their work is so hard, there are lots of cyclists who go to CMWC by their own saving. Ms Aanis supports CMWC in Toronto 2008 for their entries.
【the Dream of Micro-business】 Q. What is your dream?
AF My dream is to spend my life making things that I love, and living in a relaxed way that is good to the environment and in harmony with the natural world. I believe it's important for people to support each other, and since the messenger community has given me tremendous support, I will continue to give it whatever support I am able.
Then, see the logo of under the weather. It symbolizes the supports when they are under the fierce weather. The cyclists and the designer of the items. One to one. They're helping each other for the freedom, and hope its sustainability. Ms. Anais supports their freedom by maximizing their individuality with the bag, every one is unique in the world.
【煮汁もムダにしない心意気】 My eco-cook is an object that helps to save water, energy and time. Everyday, everyone, has to cook pasta, rice or various vegetable. Therefore different pots are needed. In a unique pot, the eco-cook enables to divide 2 or 3 space and to boil different food at the same time. 引用元
キース（リチャーズ）はミック（ジャガー）に「もっと自信をもってギター弾けよ」とアドバイスした。『Rain Fall Down』が生まれた。チャーリー（ワッツ）が喉頭がんでスタジオ入りできないとき、ミックはドラムまでたたいた。ロン（ウッド）がアル中を治療中、他の3人はずっと見守った。こういうところがバンドの強さであり楽しさだ。わたしは生まれ変わったら絶対にミュージシャンになりたい。その理由は“合体したい”から。
“under the weather”は、自転車メッセンジャーの自由の傘 街の中を颯爽と駆け抜けていく自転車メッセンジャー。彼らがタスキ掛けで 背負っているメッセンジャーバッグ——その中でも人気があるのが “under the weather”だ。under the weatherを作っているアナイスさんは、 自らもメッセンジャーとして働いた経験がある。出荷は多くて週に20個、 人気が出ても手作りにこだわる理由とは？ 続きはこちら。
Hi Ms. Anais. Thank you for the interview via e-mail with me.
The article on "Business Media Makoto (Makoto means "good faith" in Japanese) has been published today 22nd of May. I tried to write your comments straightforwardly. At the same time, I focused on the realities of bicycle messengers' working life and their needs of "umbrellas", aka, "under the weather."
I explained the word “under the weather” has several meanings such as “I was feelin' bad (under the weather) last week” or “drunken.” Your business logo means your supportive attitudes toward the messengers’ communities.
The interview I did not quote on the article was translated into Japanese. Thank you again for your cooperation.
以下はインタビュー全文です。The following is the whole interview with Ms. Anais.
【Triggers of making messengers' bags/メッセンジャーバッグをつくるきっかけ】
Q1．About your career,I hear your messenger experience drove you to the startup. Please tell us some background when you stated the business around 2000.
Q2. Why was it the messenger bag for the startup?
1&2: These two questions are connected, so I will answer them together. I worked very briefly as a messenger starting in 2000; first for a few weeks in Toronto, then for a couple of months in New York City, then about six months in Amsterdam, where I had moved with my first/previous husband (a Dutch cycle messenger, not my husband now). I have always done a lot of sewing, and he was interested in designs for messenger bags so we worked out a design based on our experience of technical needs and what was currently on the market (not nearly as many companies as now). I sewed a bag for him, and I made some other ones for myself, and then some for a few friends.
Although being a messenger was fun, and I think it's an important and worthwhile job for those who love it, I wanted to do something different and decided to make messenger bags as a business because I really enjoyed it. I began Under The Weather in early 2000 and started selling bags at cycle messenger races like the ECMC and CMWC.
I returned to Toronto in fall 2001 and my first husband and I split. I spent some time studying graphic design and then started running Under The Weather in Toronto in mid-2002.
Of course durability is extremely important, and every design element and material choice has been made with that in mind. In fact we recently changed our liner material to TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) because it is much stronger than PVC, and less harmful for the environment and people working with it. The sizes were based on international paper size standards (the Messential is sized to fit a full sheet of A3 paper flat) and some of the features (including floating liner construction and the large flap) were designed to maximize protection from the elements. The main strap is made to be very strong, and also comfortable and easy to use, while the smaller straps let you make the bag thin when it's empty, or hold it closed even when it is overflowing.
このくだりも誠に書きました。なお『Messential』はunder the weatherでもっとも大きいサイズのメッセンジャーバッグ。内側に書類や物品をフロートさせる仕組みがあり、大きなフラップで閉じます。メインのストラップの造りはとても丈夫で、セカンドストラップはモノが溢れ出ないための機能あり。プロ用です。
【About design and sewing bags/デザイン、モノづくりのこと】
Q4.About colors and designs, how do you have concepts and ideas?
For colours, we just put together what we think look good, and try to make many different combinations! Although many people just like black, I have always loved bright colours and love mixing them in unusual ways.
I sew art graphics based on what people ask for, or ideas that I have from things I see around me. I love nature, flowers and trees etc., but also the urban landscape and technology and science. The most fun for me is making unique art on the bags: I never reproduce artwork so every art bag is unique.
I learned to sew from my mother when I was very young, and have always sewn things for myself (clothes, household items), so learned it by practice. I have always enjoyed drawing as well, and design and typography and putting these together. Although I've taken a few courses on certain aspects of graphic design, most of my knowledge is from reading and from designing things myself.
Q6. How may average shipment weekly and how many back-orders currently for the bag?
The amount of work we do is variable. Some weeks we may ship out 20 bags, sometime we go a few weeks making only 5 bags. Usually we have about a 4-6 week wait for bag orders, though it can be faster or slower. Winter is a slow time for our business, summer and fall are usually the busiest.
Q7. I hear the company has only you and a few staff - your husband? - working for the production. Please tell us your staffing for the production.
That's right, it's just me and my husband (Sam)! A few times we have hired one person to do a little bit of piecework when we were too busy, and we had the Sit'n'Spin pants and Twizzle skirts made at a small factory here in Toronto, but otherwise it's just the two of us!
【Her thought on sticking "hands-on" business/"Hands-on"の根っこにあること】
Q8. Now you have international fame among cyclists, why do you still stick to "hands-on business" ?
It makes me laugh to imagine that I have “fame”! I still do “hands-on” business because it is all I want to do. I have this business because I love to make things with my hands and feel incredibly lucky that I can make a living this way.
I do not like managing larger businesses or people and don't want a business doing that. I would rather make small quantities of goods that I can put a bit of myself into, than to manage a business telling other people how many things to make and only worrying about staffing and training and scheduling and bills all the time.
Toronto is a good city to be in. It has a lot of very interesting people and activities to enjoy. There are people of many different nationalities and cultures (which of course means lots of good food too!), but it is not too big, which I like. NYC was very exciting and I can see why so many people love it because it seems like you could do anything there, but it is too big and hectic for me, and too far from undeveloped nature. I grew up in a very small rural community and to me Toronto has just the right mix of big-city diversity and excitement, while being small enough to find a comfortable community and not feel lost, and you can get out of the city to the countryside in just an hour or two.
It is pretty good for cycling: it is clean and the roads are mostly in good repair, but it could be much better. In all of North America cycling is a challenge because it is not seen as a legitimate, adult form of transportation. It is seen as something that children do (like a bicycle is only a toy), students because they can't afford to own a car yet, and families for recreation, and maybe some “crazy” commuters and cycle messengers (even professional sport cycling does not get much attention here). But there are a lot of people on bikes in the summer in Toronto, and even quite a few who keep riding in the ice and snow all winter. The mayor likes to ride a bike, and the city is trying to build more bike lanes to help the situation, but it is difficult to teach some car drivers that bicycles have a right to be on the street.
でもトロントでは、夏にはたくさんの人が自転車に乗るし、雪が降る中でも乗る人だって少なくないの。市長からして自転車好きだから、自転車道をもっとつくろうという動きもある。でも自動車ドライバーに自転車が道路を走るのを認めさせるのはむつかしいわね」 I think there has always been a community of bicycle messengers here, even back in the beginning when it was only Western Union telegram delivery boys they had races and competitions. It has changed a lot over the years, and is still an evolving community, but I think hosting the CMWC brings it together a bit and gets people more engaged.
「自転車メッセンジャーのコミュニティはずっとあると思う。メッセンジャーといってもWestern Union telegram（電報会社）にだけいる頃から競技大会があったの。それから何年も経ってるけれど、コミュニティはあちこちにあるわ。CMWC（メッセンジャー世界選手権）をホストすると、もっとコミュの結束は堅くなるでしょう」
さてこの動画は7分もありますが、お時間のあるときに見てください。トロントのAlleycat Bike Race、とってもスリリング。Alleycatとは野良猫ですが、地球温暖化防止の呼びかけで開催されたようです。Anaisさんも支援しています。
Q10. I found your names on CMWC entry lists,in 2005 and June of 2008. Why do you still entry the contests?
My husband and I register for the CMWC every year, even if we can't go. I don't race, and he only sometimes races, but we feel it's important to support the messenger community, especially for an event like the CMWC which brings together messengers from around the world every year. It can be a difficult job a lot of the time, but the incredible sense of community is so special that I just have to support it. This year we are also helping in the organization of the CMWC in Toronto, which is very interesting. It is going to be a big and fun event this year and we hope many Japanese messengers will be here! I hope we can go to the CMWC in Tokyo next year.
【Dream and message / 夢とメッセージ】
Q11.What is your dream? on business, or in your social touches like donation and supports you're doing.
My dream is to spend my life making things that I love, and living in a relaxed way that is good to the environment and in harmony with the natural world. I believe it's important for people to support each other, and since the messenger community has given me tremendous support, I will continue to give it whatever support I am able.
Q12. In Japan, your bags are very popular, particularly design with colorful esprit. Please give some message to your Japanese fan.
I love our Japanese fans! I have always loved Japanese style, from Edo-era wood-block prints, and beautiful kimono, to new urban aesthetic and whacky street fashion. I have not had a chance to travel to Japan yet, but sincerely wish to visit, and would like to learn to speak some Japanese because I don't know any. Seiya Minato at Depot Cycle-Recycle has been very supportive helping us send bags to Japan. It is wonderful that Under The Weather is popular there, and I love making bags in all the fun colour combinations. Thank you for the opportunity!
日本の“under the weather”ファンを愛してます！というコメント。これもだいたい引用しました。彼女は江戸時代の版画や着物ファン。来年メッセンジャー世界大会が日本で開催されたら、来てくれるのでしょうか？（彼女は、飛行機に乗ることはエコじゃないので、あまり北米大陸から出ないそうですが）
【hmm・・・なアドバイス108．ハーマンミラーの“Lifeworkイズム”】 Storied furniture company Herman Miller launched today Lifework, a residential collection targeted at discerning individuals and families looking for smart yet stylish solutions for the home. 引用元
SenseView Duo also boasts a camera for distance viewing for objects more than 7.5 feet away, raising the bar for portable low vision technology. With the combination of the ability to magnify small print, read handwriting, and see items at a distance, the SenseView Due is the portable digital magnifier that does it all. 引用元 「SenseView Duoは2m離れた距離のモノを観たり写真を撮れる一方で、小さな文字をCCDカメラで電子的に拡大して署名などをしやすくします」（簡訳）
Firewinder - to turn clockwise and evoke the good spirits to the earth
Today's blog is based on an interview with Mr.Tom Lawton, an
English inventor of Firewinder, a wind-light product that transforms
instantly wind into light. This invention may be a notable success in
this summer when it hits world markets. The huge success or not, I
hope this LED light product turns the earth "peace-wise" because we
regretfully care about anti-clockwise events regarding the current Olympic.
Firewinder - to turn clockwise and evoke the good spirits to the earth
The following is the e-mail interview with Mr.Lawton. I thank Mr.Lawton to this interview opportunity and wish his entrepreneurial spirits to extend to and purify this mess world.
- What are the "Wow" points that customers impress on and feel about?
Tom Lawton（TL） Firewinder was created to inspire individuals to engage with their environment through the mesmerizing and magical effect of windlight. Windlight is the instant transformation of wind into light.
Firewinder is the Original Windlight − thus, every time the wind blows customers get a ‘wow’ sensation - the stronger the wind, the more intense the light and the bigger the ‘wow’.
Firewinder creates the excitement of a silent, wind-powered firework show, with the tranquil delight of candle light. Windlight has to truly be experienced to be believed ? the effects that Firewinder creates are never the same as it reacts to subtle variations in wind speed, almost as if Firewinder was breathing with the wind.
- Who are the target customers of the Firewinder? What are most possible usage of the product? How about commercial shops including barber shops? I think camping is also good.
TL Firewinder has a universal appeal, much like fireworks and candle light, so everyone will enjoy the effects. In that vein, anyone can be the customer, but you do need somewhere outside and exposed to a breeze to effectively install the product.
Target customers include anyone who has a connection with their outdoor environment; this includes domestic customers, such as people with breezy roof gardens, balconies, high rise apartments, beach views, garden spaces, boats, pagodas and more.
Commercial customers include hotels, beach bars, golf courses, prestigious homes, coastal paths, mountain retreats, ski resorts, real estate developers, event and festival organizers, public art organizations and more.
- What is the technical breakthrough of the development? How many prototypes have you made? How much the development cost so far?
TL While the overall visual effect of the Firewinder is elegantly simple, the technology behind this innovative product is far from straight forward. There are numerous technical breakthroughs in the final generator and aerodynamic design. The construction and clever construction using advanced lightweight materials is unique too.
Research, development and production engineering was undertaken over a period of seven years exclusively by our core team, which involved myself at every design decision point.
Over twenty prototypes were produced in total, all testing a different aspect of the design and overcoming a unique problem.
It would not be possible to place a value on the countless hours of development for this product, but as a ball-park figure, the development costs would easily exceed £250,000 − not to mention the huge investment in protecting our intellectual property and building a business poised for considerable international growth.
- What is the motivation to go on developing in 7 years long? Blood as an inventor?
TL For me, inventing is something I was born to do; it’s how I think and combines all of my interests ? art, science, nature, society and commerce. Creating a product like Firewinder is the result of many years of thinking, designing and observing the world. This is my way for contributing to the global community in a way that reaches beyond my person. If I was a musician I would perform on stage, as a designer/inventor, I produce universally appealing designs which inspire people in ways they had not imagined themselves.
- One of the English inventers' hero is Mr. James Dyson. Like Mr. Dyson, you have developed through the years of hardship. Are you be a future Dyson? TL Yes, I am a future Dyson - but I hope that my inventions capture people’s imaginations in more exciting ways than innovations in the floor care market. However, I hold a high respect for Dyson’s achievements. Infact, by coincidence, The Firewinder Company are based in the same town as Dyson’s company yet I have never met Mr. Dyson. My local pub is full of his design engineers.
- How many shipment do you expect in the certain period?
TLTo start with, with will be focusing our activities on sales in the UK, our home market. However, product is immediately available for international shipping from our website and our production capacity is 1,000 pieces per day.
- Please tell me your most flop invention.
TL I have invented many things, some of which are still on the drawing board or are only early prototypes. It is important to have many ideas and this means you must have many good ideas, but also consider bad ideas. To date, I do not have a big flog, but I am young and I do not have many big successes either. I am at the beginning of a very exciting journey as an inventor. Life must be full of both success and failure in order to learn and grow.
- Bubblescope, which is another invention of 360 digital camera, has any relation with the Firewinder?
BubbleScope was also invented by myself. The two products are not related other than being created by the same inventor. The two inventions do demonstrate the breadth of my work and what I can achieve with passion, persistence, international design collaboration and a little bit of money.
- Is there available "anti-clockwise" type of the Firewinder in the Southern Hemisphere?
TL Unlike the centripetal effects on water, which dictate that a spiraling flow of water will turn anti-clockwise in one hemisphere and clockwise in another, the effect is not the same on the wind. Wind is the horizontal flow of air and, unless the wind obstructed or obscured by a resistive object (e.g. a large architectural feature or cliff face) the Firewinder will rotate in a clockwise direction - creating an upward spiral of light.
Thus, in conclusion, when the Firewinder is installed in an open space it will always turn clockwise and evoke the good spirits, much like a Buddhist prayer wheel. We have encountered the Firewinder turning in an anti-clockwise direction when subjected to unpredictable eddies in the wind caused by building surfaces channeling the wind. This does not mean that Firewinder evokes bad spirits; it just creates a slightly different effect. bubblescope
- What do you want to change the world by this product, for example lighting habits, lifestyle, landscape?
TL Firewinder has a number of core objectives:
To connect people to the awesome benefits of renewable energy through the experience and interaction with wind light. We believe that fear of climatic catastrophe is not the only way to engage people with a sense of responsibility to their natural environment and therefore, Firewinder aims to inspire people by showing how alternative energies can be part of an exciting and beautiful future.
To inspire a new generation of products, which work entirely by sustainable means.
To add sparkle and magic to landscapes through the installation of Firewinder products − for everyone to enjoy - Firewinder shines a natural light, like a beacon of sustainability, to give hope to the future of mankind in his changing relationship with Mother Earth. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world”.