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Second prototype - the MONDRA

· · 1 comment

Second prototype - the MONDRA

· · 1 comment

Welcome back to another edition of The Process! It's been quite a journey so far. We updated the Two. We introduced a smaller bag. We introduced a bigger bag and named it the ARK. Everything was going great, but then we had to go and jokingly associate it with Noah's ark. We don't know whether it's just irony or some sort of divine intervention, but the next thing that happened was an actual apocalypse. Things got dark soon after...

But jokes aside, we're glad we can take our minds of this craziness and talk about something else for a change. In this week's show and tell we bring to you the second prototype of the MONDRA (formerly tote-pack/back-tote). We'll get to the name a bit later. First, we want to quickly touch on some changes that were made.


In a way, these handles define the Mondra. They are the first thing we notice, which means they ought to look nice. Compared to the first prototype, the new handles are slimmer and stiffer. They have less "meat" on them and helps make the Mondra feel lighter and cleaner. The old handles made the bag look a bit more casual and messy. It's not a bad thing. We went for slimmer handles because they work better in professional environments. There's no reason why anyone would need to know this. It's just that we're always amazed at how much a single detail can influence the overall look. The devil is in the details. Speaking of the devil, unfortunately, there was one curse we couldn't break.

There were some suggestions and requests to make the handles adjustable. A great idea, which we were eager to implement. But after multiple sit-downs, we came to the conclusion that we shouldn't do it. Well, at least not for this bag and not right now anyway. But why? Good question.

The first thing that slowed us in our tracks was the technical aspect of having adjustable straps. Adjustable straps by themselves are nothing complicated. The problem is that they are such an integral part of the bag and how it looks that changing them would mean we would need to change the entire bag. Basically, we would need to design the bag around them, not the other way around. Once we reached this conclusion we then discussed the possibility of redesigning it and how it could all look like.

This brings us to the second problem - complexity. We love versatility, but only if it doesn't confuse us. Is it a backpack? A tote? Is it both or is it neither? We had a similar situation with the first carry-on, which could double as a day bag and a travel bag through the power of expansion. An awesome idea on paper. We went for it. But in reality, the number of zippers and complexity of the design made us change it later on. We knew this might happen, but you always need to experience things first hand if you really want them to sink in. Which it did. That's why this time around we decided to follow our gut and not indulge in this great idea. Instead, we will most likely use it in some other design in the future. Or not. Time will tell.

Alright, enough about handles. Here are some other worthy mentions:

Main compartment

As promised - "a place for a water bottle, a zip pocket for small items you don't want in the front pouch pocket, and everything else."

The bottle pocket is not exactly what we intend to have in the final version. But that's only a minor detail change.


"The proportions are a bit off and then there is a list of other details that need to be adjusted."

Apart from the handles, we also slimmed down the overall shape and the straps. The new prototype is slightly taller than the first one. We should be able to make it a bit shorter. Your thoughts?

Next steps

There's no real plan right now, apart from taking things one day at a time and hoping for the best. It's never fun when things drag-out, and we want to conclude the work collection process this month. We think it's possible and we're working with our producer towards that. But as they say, we'll see. Bags can wait, COVID-19 doesn't.


We mentioned in our previous post that we tend to be quite literal in our naming. It's good as long as the style itself has a descriptive name and when there's only one of them in the entire collection. For example, Rolltop, Carry-on, Tote, Messenger, Duffel, and so on. But not all styles have descriptive names, which starts to make things complicated (One, Two, Three, Mini). Even so, we continued to use this formula to our own peril. It became impossible to follow it once we released more bags. That's why we decided that it would be best if we started using random words.

We're terrible at naming and it hurts our heads thinking about it. There's no real method behind it. This is what we usually do:

1. We look for meaningful words that have some sort of connection to the design.
2. We share those words with each other.
3. We realize it's hopeless and none of them fit.
4. We begin randomly listing other words that we associate with the word provided. This is not a tactic, it's just our way of finding humor in our hopelessness. This is how our chat looked like when Dom offered the name Monday:

  • D - Monday
  • L - Mundy
  • L - Dundie
  • L - Bundy (Al, not Ted)
  • D - Mundy sounds dirty
  • D - Mond
  • D - Bond.
  • L - James Bond.

5. We do this until we lose all hope and then somebody jokingly suggests something super random. Cha-ching!

We believe that in the end, almost any name can work. It all depends on the context and stories that will actually give it meaning later on. Even so, we still don't want to slap just any name on it. We want to at least pretend we did some work before we choose something. These are our criteria:

1. The name should mean something to us. It can be a story, association, inside joke, whatever.

Mandra is a Lithuanian word that roughly translates into cool/interesting/special. Mondra is the same word only in a different dialect. The thing with dialects is that some words can sound hilarious (in a good way of course). Similar to American about vs Canadian aboot, eh. The people who work in the factory we produce speak with this dialect and often refer to our bags that way because they are "different" compared to the orders they usually fulfill. So when they saw the tote-pack with its handles and removable straps it became the most mondra bag around. Our producer has now officially named two of our bags.

2. The name's phonetics should try to match the bag's design.

We had a few other names we were considering, but they sounded too big for this bag.

So there you go - a mondra name for a mondra bag. We probably talked more about the name than the bag itself. Sorry about that.

P.S. If you have some additional thoughts on the subject, you can always leave a comment, email us, or hit us up on Instagram. We’re all ears. You can also leave your email here if you'd like to be notified of any new post relating to our process.