Looking for the perfect a bag to go from the great outdoors to bustling urban space.
Pick up an eco-friendly aTana Bag and go from the hiking trail to subway without hesitation
To find out more behind how aTana Bags got its start and what’s in store for the future, Josh interviews aTana Bags co-founder, Todd Hakanson.
More about the episode...
Josh sits down with aTana Bags co-founder Todd Hakanson. ‘aTana’ is the Sanskrit word for wander and, that’s exactly the spirit that Angie and Todd Hakanson wanted to capture when they started their eco-friendly line of high-end bags and accessories, aptly named aTana. This budding bag brand, born from wanderlust is meant to be able to stay with you from the wilds of the great outdoors to the hustle and bustle of a city subway. Tune in for this week's episode as we dig deeper into aTana’s past, present, and future.
Have an opinion? We want to hear it! Join the conversation and leave a comment, check out show notes, and get all the links mentioned in this episode below
- Check out aTana’s website
- Find the perfect aTana Bag or Accessory
- Follow aTana on Facebook and Instagram
- More about aTana
- aTana FAQs
What is aTana Bags all about?
“aTana is an eco, urban, bag line with a emphasis on festivals and yoga. We specialize in products that function well for these kinds of events using as eco friendly materials as we possibly can…”
What made you decide to start aTana?
“My wife and I are both very eco-minded. We’ve always enjoyed traveling, music festivals, and yoga. We started recognizing a need for more functional bags and accessories for these kinds of activities…”
How are your bags more eco-friendly than others in the market?
“The first product line we’ve launched here is using certified organic canvas, all of our liners in our bags are recycled polyester made from plastic bottles. Right down to the zippers we use are even a ykk recycled plastic style zipper…”
What gave you such a passion for being environmentally minded?
“I’d say for the past 25-30 years we’ve been pretty conscious of what we purchase and what we eat. We also come from an area here in north county San Diego where this stuff is pretty mainstay, to be environmentally sound…”
Did you always know at some point you wanted to start your own business?
“I’d say no, however I’ve pretty much worked for myself since I was 18-years-old. I’ve had friends refer to me as a serial entrepreneur…I actually came from a military background, my father was in the Navy...”
Did you study entrepreneurship in school?
“No, I ended up going to school in northern California. Started college up there for environmental sciences. I knew I loved the outdoors and wanted to be involved in that in one way or another. I ended up coming back down to San Diego for a summer and had an opportunity to start a screen printing business for a friend…”
What was it like developing your bags?
“The bag thing is fairly new to us. I’ve been involved in production and product development for over 25 years. Luckily, we live in an area where there are lots of creative people and lots of innovative companies. I know people at these companies and they helped us through the process of identifying good sources for helping us…it was a learning process for sure...”
Was there anything in particular that you learned?
“Well, we did discover we were doing it all wrong when we got started and we had things spread all over the place between design, sampling, pattern making, and production. Once we realized this stuff needed to be all under one roof it made it so much easier for us to make things move along much quicker…”
Who would an aTana Bag be perfect for?
“It’s probably going to be someone who’s environmentally conscious, probably in the 30’s, 40’s range. Who loves the outdoors but wants to use products that reflects that when they’re in their urban settings as well…”
What makes aTana Bags stand out from other brands in your niche?
“Well, what we started with is an organic wax canvas and that’s nothing new, there’s other companies doing that but, almost everyone who uses it seems to go to this throwback world war II look...we’ve taken a contemporary spin on this type of fabric so it is pretty unique in what we’ve done with wax canvas…”
Do you have any mentors who helped you build aTana?
“We do...We’re in an are that’s pretty rich with creative people...And we know quite a few of these people who have been involved in production and management…”
What does the normal day to day look like for you?
“Well, when you’re in a business that’s in a stage where it’s at now all you can do is talk about it...we’re not into the mundane faily stuff at running a business, at this point it’s all new and exciting. We talk about it in the morning, we work on it in the afternoon and, we both have jobs right now…it’s morning, afternoon, and evening. Weekends as well...”
Is there anything in particular marketing you’ve done to help you gain exposure?
“We’re kind of just getting into that now...We’re working on our social media and branding, we’re just trying to develop our brand...We’re going to start doing some consumer events…”
What has been one of the hardest parts of starting aTana?
“I’d say one of the toughest things was locating suppliers and manufacturers that we can have some kid of synergy with that are willing to work with a small brand and kind of grow with you…We went through a lot of different manufacturers trying to keep things local or as close as we could to home...”
What has been some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made since you’ve started?
“Some of the ways that we took our product concept through the pattern, sample, and final production was pretty inefficient. I think we just didn’t understand the best processes, being new at this…”
What is the significance of the name ‘aTana’?
“aTana is a sanskrit word which means wander... We consider ourselves to be wanders and we like that name…”
What advice would you give someone that wanted to start a business?
“It can be a challenge. You’ve got to plan on it taking longer and costing you more. And, really just being able to stick it out… If you stick it out and really work hard at it you can make it happen…”
Were there any big lessons you’ve learned in starting aTana?
“Honestly, I don’t think so. I’ve learned some big lessons with my companies before this but, with this one I think I was fairly well prepared for what we might run into…”
Where do you see aTana headed into the future?
“We’re hoping for some moderate steady growth... We’re just gonna keep building our brand and develop our niche of being a really environmental conscious higher end bag line…”
What are you most excited about for the future ?
“I’m pretty excited about some of the new products that are available out there in terms of fabrics and stuff like that. We’re looking forward to introducing new things using some of the latest and greatest recycled content…”