My name is Marina and I build bicycle bags in Tallahassee, Florida. My shop is called Anhaica Bag Works.
I started building bags after college, at a small sewing shop that I opened in an extra room of our local non-profit community bicycle shop. I taught classes, sold needles and thread, and made a slew of silly things there as a way to forget that I should probably be applying for graduate school or getting a career job. One of those things – my bicycle bags – actually started to take off, and my desire to sew full time began to grow. So, I got serious about my business and never looked back.
These days, Anhaica Bag Works operates out of a small workshop; it’s my full-time job, as well as a part-time job for my assistant, Adriana. Ideas for bags usually come to me during my daily commute, then a million sketches follow and I start building prototypes. The prototypes are tested by either myself or my favorite collaborator, Justin, who owns a local custom frame shop called Old Field Cycles. We test to ensure the bags can stand up to the rigors of everyday riding before we make the design available.
My first bags were made using found materials, but I quickly wanted greater consistency in my work, and began experimenting with waxing canvas as a way to create water-resistant bags without synthetic materials. The canvas I use is milled in the USA, and the wax is from a small beekeeper a few towns over. My hope is that with each bag, I am not only creating beautiful, sturdy and functional works, I am also creating joy.
I am inspired by the simplicity, efficiency and beauty of bicycles. The joy from riding a bicycle can be the most pure kind: saying hello to your neighbor; feeling the strength of your body propelling you forward; being able to give directions to the nearest fruit tree in season. For me, riding bikes isn’t a sport – it’s a lifestyle. Becoming a cyclist has been the most empowering decision I have ever made, not only because it allowed me a physical sense of independence, but also because it led me to my current path as a small business owner.
Etsy has been a huge part of making my dreams come true by linking me to cyclists all over the world. I have also been able to connect with many other inspiring makers, like Emily Miller of Whiskey Dog Wares and Anna Toth of Bow and Arrow Apparel. My future goals include expanding our line to include a full touring setup (which we’ve been testing for over a year), and growing to support three full-time employees. I want the business to remain small while consistently improving and producing new work.
All photographs by Dan Schmahl.