Sunday, December 9, 2012

How much is that baggie in the window? The Traffic Cone Bag in STORY


David Singer, who designed my large shelf talker card, displays it and the Traffic Cone Bag in Story.

OVER CHRISTMAS, the Traffic Cone Bag scored a pretty cozy spot by a faux fire in Chelsea: it huddled with furry footballs, tech gloves, wooden gorillas and other objet d'esire in the curated concept store, Story.

Opened in 2011 at the base of a condo with a Mondrian bent, the "how to make retail exciting again" retail outlet looks across at the Chelsea Art Gallery District, the Highline and a clutch of starchitect-designed condos; we're talking Gehry, Nouvel and Shigeru Ban.

Story favors local products with a great tale of invention or inspiration, and that's where the Traffic Cone Bag fits in (bedtime reading: New York, New York: if I can make it there, why make it elsewhere?)

The Traffic Cone Bag in Orange Mode. 
I walked in to see how my bag was doing and promptly ended up demonstrating it to a Story shopper - who went ahead and bought it.

"I think the orange side is very fashionable!" he enthused.


Funny, I always thought it the black side was for the fashionista (or fashionmister); the orange side saves you and your steed from getting creamed by a passing truck on the road ... or while jogging at night. The black side is usually for wearing with your little black anything, especially if you're an architect or minimalist multi-use freak. This bag was my only luggage on my recent 8-country Damien Hirst Spot Challenge.

On another occasion, a Story customer said she was buying it for skateboarding nephew, for visibility when scooting down the double yellow line - another market that never occurred to me!



Traffic Cone Bags travelling across Brooklyn Bridge by day ... 
... and reversed to stealth/chic mode by night
Oliver Carbonell (Peace Love & Pedals Cycling Jerseys) and Susan Notorangelo (Race Across America record holder, PACTOUR) demonstrate the LARGE Traffic Cone bag in two of its many modes.
The TCB peeks out of the window. If you can see it here, you'll be seen on the road. 
The TCB proudly displaying the Story hang tag.
Last post I talked about commissioning designer David Singer to create an "airline seat pocket card" to display with the bag, which I laminated and proudly dropped off at the store with six bags. I was soon to get a first hand lesson in retail display from Story founder, Rachel Schechtman (@rachelschectman)


"Hmmmm, laminated cards ... " said Rachel, and then she pointed to other products with their instruction sheets nicely typeset and framed in glass. "We're very particular about how things are displayed in here."

Indeed, Story is densely and exquisitely art directed, creating a feeling of discovery and delight as you move from one unique tchotchkes to the next. It's a bit like going into a little girl's bedroom, with a slight edge. Many products are by crowdsourced design house Quirky. Details count at Story; the food at a recent event  was an artisanal veggie platter and gourmet grilled sandwiches. Not a plastic Costco veggie crudite with ranch in sight.

Here's the latest incarnation of my sign:

An abbreviated version of the original card for displaying in the store.
My Traffic Cone Bag displayed in stealth mode among objects of desire at Story, founded by retail guru Rachel Shechtman (at right). 
Click to see it bigger: where's the TCB? A panoramic sweep of Story.
Named one of Fast Company's 100 most creative people in business, Rachel's retail smarts have landed her projects for Fitflop, New York City and Diane von Furstenberg.

Story's event photographer William Ross sees bicycle wheels in his future ...  
This is only the second place the Traffic Cone Bag has been sold in a bricks and mortar store. The beauty and bane of the design is that it really needs to be demonstrated live, or at least be explained by this short video which appears on my online webpage. One is usually on display at East Village folding bike specialist bfold.com.

The TCB - one bag with many lives - is comfortable in heels, cleats and everywhere in between.  You can buy a Traffic Cone Bag from Story (for a limited time) or bfold, or if they're out of them, buy it from me.

Thanks to Rachel Shechtman and Joy Pettit at Story for the Traffic Cone Bag's holiday residency!
David Lam (right), owner of bfold.com, has a small Traffic Cone Bag on display in his East Village store. 
Lynn Sarro is one of the original Traffic Cone Bag owners. She echoes the most common comment about the bag: "I use it every day."

The Traffic Cone Bag

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