A warm welcome to blogger Hannah Henderson. Hannah had the opportunity to visit Red Oxx in the summer of 2019 when she toured the U.S.A.. Her memorable experience visiting with us is shared here.
A tour of a bag factory you say… it can’t be that exciting, can it? Well, it turns out that a tour of the Red Oxx Factory was a highlight of our time in Billings, Montana.
We were in town for a travel blogger conference and were offered a variety of local activities and sightseeing options to get to know the city. And while the tourism side of Billings, and Montana in general, is something special; I was interested to see how enterprise was thriving in the state.
Red Oxx Factory Showroom
The Red Oxx factory showroom is a feast for the eyes. They make bags of every shape and size, and the colors are show-stopping bright and appealing. The analogy "kid in a candy store" fit with how I felt, except it was "adult kid in a traveler’s candy store". Among the racks of colorful luggage were travel accessories such as extendable clotheslines, nail clippers, travel pillows, and local soaps. From the get-go it felt like the problems that travelers face were being solved by Red Oxx.
The Red Oxx Factory
We were guided over to the factory building a block away and shown in by the lovely staff. There was the expected energy of a factory – machines buzzing, people moving stock, and the frenetic pace of production. Yet what struck me was how all this noise and activity was coming from a relatively small group of people.
The Fabric & Fittings
Our first stop was to look at the bolts of fabric that they use for the bags. The rolls of vibrant 1000 weight urethane coated, Dupont certified CORDURA® nylon, shone on their hangers. Next up were the drawers of all the fittings and fixings that are needed to put the bag together – V rings, logo patches, snaps, clips and zippers. Everything is heavy-duty and matches that air of quality that Red Oxx is so famous for.
Rolls of CORDURA® Nylon Fabric
The Bag-Making Process
Have you ever thought about how a bag is made? It is fascinating to understand the various processes that end with the finished product in your hands. First you have the cutting station, where all the individual panels of the bag and lining are cut to size. It is quite incredible to watch how precise this job is, and the speed at which it can be done by one human. Then there are a variety of machinists who assemble the bags and add the holes, zips and snaps in the right places.
At the cutting table preparing the fabric patterns and cuts
Fun Fact: Up to right-near the finishing stage, all this is done with the bags turned inside out, so that the lining and edging can all be affixed correctly.
The Finishing Touches
Each Red Oxx bag has a dog-tag style price tag – a feature which reflects the Veteran run company. We got to see how the tags were made and to see the machine that imprints the metal tags in action. It’s these little features which differentiate Red Oxx from other brands.
The Design Studio
During the tour we spoke to a variety of Red Oxx colleagues, from the people who make the make the bags, to those who help design them. Using suggestions from the public, ideas from the team, and a great working knowledge of the style and features that work best, these guys get to demo the designs to see what works.
Who knows what great travel bag they will come up with next?
The Factory / Head Office Facilities
The Red Oxx staff proudly showed us their break room and kitchen area. The space looked more like a funky café than the break rooms I used to know. We were shown to the meeting space, where all the team meetings, training and "big ideas" happened. It is here, in the head office, or "The Ministry of Information" as they call it, where all the amazing Red Oxx products start their life as ideas. I enjoyed some of the anecdotes on how the bags came to be – E.g., a friend needed a bag for their snow chains, which led to the Lil Roy bag being created! Personally, I use mine as a toiletry bag, but that’s the joy of a Red Oxx bag – they are very versatile!
The people that work at Red Oxx are clearly really passionate about the products. From the front of house staff in the store, to the machinists in the factory, there is a pride and purpose about creating great products. And when we came across the Red Oxx mission statement in the head office, it made sense: "We create unlimited function, mobility and power by building the best bags on the planet"!
Did you know that Red Oxx products come with a "No Bull" Lifetime Warranty? That’s a huge draw-card for us as customers.
A Red Oxx Factory Tour
I love seeing how something is made; so, getting a tour of the Red Oxx factory was a really fun and informative experience. I certainly came away with an increased admiration for the quality of the bags. Check out their ever-evolving collection of luggage, carry-on, packing cubes and everyday carry bags, and sign up to their newsletter for special deals.
Red Oxx regularly host events such as OxxFest – where the community gets together over street food and local music. Tours of the factory are usually offered as part of these events, or you can contact them directly to organize a visit!
The Red Oxx Way of Life
Disclaimer: I received Red Oxx product in exchange for content. However, as always, all opinions are my own.
Author Bio: Hannah Henderson is a travel blogger based in France. A photographer and endless wanderer, Hannah’s travels usually involve epic road trips, exploring the food culture, and a fair amount of people-watching!
Many thanks to Hannah for all her kind words and "Opinions", be certain to check out her blog at: HH Lifestyle Travel.