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A Decade At The Bag Factory

A Decade At The Bag Factory

It is absolutely wild to think that ten years ago, I was walking into an interview after finding a job posting on Craigslist, and ten years later, I would still be here working at the bag factory.

Road Runner Bags Shop 2013

(Our studio space in Echo Park, 2014)


Back in 2008, my brother was really into fixed-gear bicycles as a means of transportation in college, and as the little sister who thought everything he did was "cool," I decided I needed to get a bike, too. I ditched the beach cruiser for an adorable baby blue Univega road bike. 


Ashley Campbell 2010


And then, I found out about group rides. I had a friend at FIDM who wanted to go on a ride posted on Midnight Ridazz called "The Westside Mosey." These early group rides were some of my most fun and transformational memories, and I got hooked. Beyond the riding, I felt accepted by a community of creatives—people who built sound bikes, tall bikes, costumes, and made music. Even though I haven't kept in contact with everyone, this community made a lasting impression during my formative years.

Road Runner Bags Crew 2015

(The workshop in DTLA on Los Angeles and Wall St, 2015)


Right out of FIDM, I had a couple of sewing jobs. I worked in alterations, at a community theater, and then at a job sewing together peat moss bags for cleaning up oil spills. The peat moss job was messy, and every day, I left work with dirt in my hair, nose, ears, and nails. Knowing I had gone to School for more than this, I hit Craigslist for a new opportunity, which is when I stumbled upon the Road Runner Bags posting.


I showed up that first day at a studio in Echo Park, and while I did get the job, I thought it would be a short gig. It was a tiny space, and backpacks were custom made to order. Everything was written on a whiteboard, for example, "Medium Roll Top: 1 side pocket, 1 U-lock holster, yes reflective". Little did I know that ten years later, not only has Road Runner Bags lasted, but we have grown exponentially.

Road Runner Bags Crew 2022


Brad and I immediately connected with some mutual friends we knew through cycling (it's a small world), and the first week, I got so distracted talking to him that I sewed about 50 pairs of backpack straps backward. 

When Juan and Ester came on board, the rubber hit the road. I cannot stress enough how much this company has depended on our teamwork and ability to compromise throughout the years. Every person who has come and gone through the doors of Road Runner Bags has played a part in making this company what it is today. 


At this point, we are so much more than just "coworkers." The friendships I have made through Road Runner Bags are the connections I will cherish for the rest of my life. Through Brad, I met my now-husband, Foon, and we have been together for nine years.

Road Runner Bags Crew 2023

(Road Runner Bags photo at my wedding, 2023)


Has every day, month, or year been perfect? No. Such would be the case with anyone you've known for ten years. There were growing pains, and as we all have formed into the individuals we are today, the wrinkles have ironed themselves out as we have fully matured as adults. 

Road Runner Bags Crew 2022


One of the simple pleasures of this job has always been sitting down to sew. As time has passed, I have done less sewing and more overall management of our workshop, website and brand image, but I still love the days when I have time to work on the machine. It is so satisfying to sew heavy-duty materials like Cordura. It's rigid, like paper, so it behaves more kindly than some apparel textiles. 


I also love working on designs, and we have constructed many. Taking an idea from a concept to a finished product is a lengthy and collaborative process that never fails to satisfy the itch to make something new. Every year, we build upon our previous designs and improve them based on our own use and customer feedback. 

Road Runner Bags Managers 2023

(Juan and I celebrating a feature in magazine, 2023)


My coworkers are an incredible force of makers. Juan, also coming up on his 10th anniversary, is among the hardest workers I've met, not to mention the kindest. Matthew, coming up on seven years, began as our fabric cutter but is now skilled with sewing and design. Emma and Rosa, with us for eight years, are some of the sweetest women I've had the pleasure to work with and are so quick behind the machine that you better be sure about what you're giving them because they always crank it out faster than you think possible. The team's newest member, Daniel, has also been quickly learning about every product in the line.

Ashley's First Mountain Bike Ride 2019

(My first MTB ride from 2019, you can read the full blog post here.)


Ester, our CEO, is a strong leader who is always looking to steer this ship in the best direction. She is one of my closest friends, and we constantly work together to help the business grow. Even when we hang out outside the shop, we can't help but talk about work.

Road Runner Bags Managers 2023

As with most small businesses, every person here wears many hats with the common goal of growing a dream. I try my best to shop at small businesses as often as possible because I know how difficult and expensive it can be to maintain a successful business and, most importantly, take care of the people who work with you. I am so thankful to our customers who have helped us along the way. Without the patronage of people like you, we would not be where we are today.

Road Runner Bags crew 2022
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