The company I work for, Fjord, has an annual trip (called Equinox) to some random location around Europe. It's when all the 9 studios come together for a few days to recap war stories and talk about the state of the union. At this event everyone always gets a mini goodie bag. We're not Google so, it's not exactly flat screen TVs all around and the budget is not huge. Anyway, I jumped at the chance of putting together the little goodie bag for the 2013 trip, to see what things I could buy or collaborations I could facilitate. Just as a little side project.

In the past we've been given things which have been tricky for everyone to pack in their bags for the flight home, (such as towels and duffel bags), so I wanted to try and get useful small items. I also liked the idea that maybe it could all be encompassed into a bag, like the original idea of the goodie bag.

There was a little bit of pressure to have some of the items branded so I thought about that a little too. As 90% of the employees are digital designers it made sense that maybe I try and find things that would be universally useful.

Item One: The Pouch

Everything hinged around the bag / pouch which was to contain everything and to set the theme for the pack. This was a significant saga which I've documented over here. Here is the finished bag / pouch thing which I designed from scratch. It was for 210 people, so I wanted to keep it fairly neutral.

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Item Two: Cable Taco

I had seen cable tacos on Etsy, and it seemed like a cute idea. Because of my budget thought, I couldn't buy 210 cable tacos from the Etsy guy and I could brand them too as that seemed like an easy option. I already had a factory in play for the bag (item one) I was making and they could accommodate making a dye and stamping out some leather circles. Small win.

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So I bought 210 of these little fixings, collar buttons (I think). For reference, sourcing takes a lot more time than it should. Then I had a metal dye (below) made, to stamp into the leather.

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The brand we have (post acquisition) has some challenges in terms of the minimum font size that you can get readability with when stamped into leather. So that took a couple of passes.

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So here is the taco, a leather circle folded in half a collar button attached and an Apple cable for demonstration purposes. 

Item Three: Torch

I get an RSS feed from Every Day Carry (EDC), mainly because I like all that geeky stuff, tools, efficient accessories milled from Adamantium. These little torches have become a bit of a thing, and of course torches are always useful. Again I couldn't afford the amazing ones, so I bought a bunch of good looking cheaper ones from Hong Kong and hoped they wouldn't break too soon. And of course I bought 210 batteries and put them in the torches so they would all work straight out of the gate. Putting 210 batteries into 210 torches takes a frustrating a therapeutic amount of time.

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Item Four: Jackery Charger

This guy is simply a little external battery top up. It delivers 5600 mAh, easily charging any phone and I believe very nearly charging an iPad. Great on small carrier internal flights in the US, and waiting for your airport gate to open. The most expensive item I picked.

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Item Five: Elongpro

Carrying multiple cables is annoying and silly when something like this exists. Clearly this won't last forever, but it would fit in the pouch and might provide some value to traveling designers over the next year. Again, a Hong Kong bulk order. 

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Item Six: Gridit

In the original pouch design I imagined I was planning elasticated webbing. Although this was before reality came crashing down upon me. I then found these gridit boards at reduced whole sale rates and could justify them in my budget. They also conveniently had a 5x7 version which could fit in the pouch as well! 

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Item Seven: T-Shirt

Every year there is a T-shirt competition and everyone gets one of the winning design. I didn't enter and didn't design or judge this one. I just had to get them made. The horizontal words are all the streets around thew world that Fjord has studios on (for reference) and Marrakesh is the destination of the offsite.  The internet has solved T shirt manufacture pretty nicely here.  That's what I used with pleasing results. 

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So that's all the bits. I assembled all 210 packs on a Sunday before the event. It took quite some time.

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It was all a bit of a rush in the end to get everything done before the flight.  I did a little sketch of a leaflet to go inside the packs and one of our lovely interns knocked it up: 

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All in all, the pack came together nicely. It wasn't perfect, but I suppose it never would be really. 

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And then there's the story about piles of cash changing hands at Moroccan customs. But that's another tale and one that requires a French accent. As long as you have contingency allocation in your budget you'll always be fine. Luckily I learned that lesson many years back.