Episode Five – US Bike Mechs: Black Star Bags and Double Darn Caps

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This session of independent bike mechanic interviews features Dave Stoops of Black Star Bags and Misia Pitkin of Double Darn Caps. L interviewed them under the same roof (which they share) on Hawthorne Blvd in Portland while sipping on a six-pack of beer on a hot summer afternoon.  They both run small businesses based around the cyclists’ needs, i.e. the Propa’ hat and the Perfect Messenger Bag. In these interviews they talk about how they came about creating their businesses, being and staying local, the challenges and perks of being independent, and what makes their products special! Besides the shop, both have been vendors at the Portland Bike Craft and Etsy.

Dave talks about processes: the process behind put a bag together and putting a bag business together, and being a part of the Portland independent cycling community. By the way, Black Star Bag ship to the UK!

“I’ve always been a building, or a creator I guess…So I have an eye for how things are constructed. I understand processes really well, so I can kind of take it apart with my mind, but I never really took apart any bags. After being a courier for years, I sort of knew what I liked about bags…but yeah, I was able to take those basic shapes and a lot of trial and error. My first bag was yeah, not a very good bag at all!”

“I’ve always contributed to alleycats and bike races, you know, and I got a lot of my personal coming of age in that community. And so it’s really nice to give back to that community.”

“Having hundreds and hundreds of bags out there, I think that just having those options of local instead of largely distributed is better.”

Misia got into Double Darn by putting her long held passion for sewing and her love of cycling together, “growing from a hobby into a business.”

“I started making bike caps for him [Misia’s husband] and actually tracing the shape of his head.”

“freedom of schedule”

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