How to carry your stuff without the stress

Being a minimalist, I’ve found myself struggling to find a convenient way to carry my essentials conveniently from place to place. Messenger bags are too bulky and tend to unevenly distribute weight; purses provide too much room to lose things and handbags are too small to fit the basics. I’ve been on a serious quest to find a bag that can easily go with me to the gym, grocery store, class, and even hiking or shopping. I don’t need to carry much besides my wallet, phone, sunglasses, a pack of gum, ID and if I’m lucky, a water bottle and an extra pen of some chap stick.

The RUNNUR is a stylish hands-free carry all that holds all of your necessities in specifically designed compartments. It has a sleek aesthetic, and rests comfortably across your body. I came across the RUNNUR one night while searching the Internet for a part-time gig during Austin’s annual South by Southwest festival. After responding to an ad that offered a position selling a carry all bag, I quickly confirmed that I would fill the position. Little did I know, the concept ended up being one of the most popular products at the expo, and I now use it on a daily basis.

Located in Austin, TX the RUNNUR first appeared in 2009. At first glance, it resembles a messenger bag that straps across your body. After analyzing it for a few seconds, you may decide it’s a cooler version of a fanny pack. Once you put it on, you will no longer have any doubts that this product is related to either the messenger bag or a fanny pack. It is much more comfortable than both and it is designed for convenience as well as style. The RUNNUR in itself is a fantastic product but it is also complemented with two unique products, a nylon tote and an aluminum wallet. Both the tote and wallet can be slipped into one of the RUNNUR’s pockets. The wallet is RIFD protective and the tote is perfect for a quick errand run. I was fascinated by this invention and wanted to pick the brain of the creator, Andrew Hamra, to find out more about the purpose and design of the RUNNUR.

Q: What initially made you decide to invent the RUNNUR?

A: My massage therapist told me to take my wallet out of my back pocket because I have a bad back and sitting on your wallet causes your spine to twist. The only other place for it was my front pocket between my smart phone and keys; there was just too much stuff. My options were to carry either a fanny pack or messenger bag but neither really fit my need for a minimal, fashion-friendly carry all. I figured there had to be a better way, and so the RUNNUR was born!

Q: Did you face any challenges in making it a real product and not just an idea?

A: Yes, the first two seamstresses I found had no real concept of what I wanted. Luckily, I ran into a friend who showed me a bag his girlfriend had made. I knew she could make it like I wanted and she delivered. That was the biggest hurdle, but it's still a constant process to improve the product.

Q: The placement of the pockets is obviously intentional. What was your strategy behind the design?

A: It is very intentional, but I think it only took me a couple of minutes to put it together. It really just came down to logic and feel. I considered everything I wanted to carry and where it made the most sense to put it. The heavier items are located at the bottom (the water bottle acts as an anchor) and the lighter stuff is at the top. Also, all the important stuff is on the front (ie. the money is in front of your chest below your eyes), which makes it nearly impossible to be pick-pocketed.

Q: What seems to be the most appealing thing about the RUNNUR to most consumers?

A: Great question. It's kind of hard to explain, but people have an emotional reaction when they see it for the first time. It's like they've been searching for something like it for a long time and when they see it, they get a big smile on their face. Sometimes they start unloading their pockets and purses on the spot; it's pretty awesome!

Q: This product is very original and I have never seen anything like it before. Do you have any competitors? If so, what makes your product stand out the most?

A: We do have some competition, like Kangatek and CrossPaq, but it really all goes back to design. In my opinion, their packs are very unflattering, and the materials they use leave a lot to be desired. Design is the first thing people connect to with RUNNUR. It's so simple, yet strikes a near-perfect balance between utility and fashion. We sell just as many, if not more, to women then men. Women relate it to a beauty pageant sash, and men see it as a bandolier.

Q: People with all different hobbies can find some way to use this carry-all. Do you have a target market or a specific group of people that use this product the most?

A:  It's really been amazing to see all the different folks who have bought RUNNURs. The list seems endless, as it can be used from nurses to archeologists and festival-goers to oil riggers. If you're on the go for work or play, you'll find it useful for sure. We do put ourselves in front of a lot of festival-goers though. It's a fun environment to sell in, and you get all kinds of people!

Q: What changes do you think you are going to make for the RUNNUR in the future, if any?

A: The RUNNUR itself won't change much, but we are making new accessories to cater to specific demographics. A tool bag, camera sling and iPad holder are all in the works at this time and should be out by the end of the year.

Q: The RUNNUR is not actually intended for running. Can you explain what the name is supposed to mean?

A:  Ha! Of course, we get that a lot. The word run means "to move" or "to travel between two places," so it's actually a perfect description of what the product is designed for. Also, there are a lot of industries that require a position called the "runner," which is the person running around making everything happen. We made the word runner into a palindrome because it looked much cooler as a logo.

Q: I noticed the RUNNUR is sold online and in a few stores. How do you plan to expand your business and reach people outside of Austin, TX?

A:  I'm actually moving to San Francisco next month to open a store in the Westfield mall. We've discovered that selling directly to the customer is a better approach because we can educate them in real time. If the SF store is a success, we plan to scale it in major cities and airports across the country and overseas.

Q: When I bought mine, I noticed they come in different sizes. How did you come up with the measurements and how does the consumer know which size they will be?

A: Yes, we decided to make them in different sizes instead of adjustable because it allowed us to make the shoulder contoured, as well as make the strap more durable. The sizing process was a lot of trial and error but we've got it down now, and have a size chart that is equivalent to T-shirt size. Every now and then someone likes it to fit a bit differently, and that's why we are going with the direct to customer model, so we can give everyone a personal fitting.

Q: Where do you see the RUNNUR in 5 years?

A: I'd like to travel and enjoy growing the company. With any luck, we'll have stores in Austin, San Francisco, New York, Las Vegas, London, Paris, and Japan within the next 5-10 years. Austin has been an amazing place to brew and hone this concept over the last four years. I honestly don't think it could have happened anywhere else but now it's time take this show on the road!

I see great things ahead for the RUNNUR, as it is already making major progress just in the city of Austin, TX. It’s great for people that live an active lifestyle or for those that just have places to be. The unique convenience and style of the carry-all is what really attracted me and I couldn’t be more pleased with it!

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