For us, the story of 2016 begins and ends with our ever-expanding ONA community, from the feedback that informed our two newest bag styles, to the thousands who shared #whereONAgoes on Instagram, to “The December Stories.” This year, for the photographers at the core of our community, we hosted myriad coffees and diner trips, and sponsored workshops, contests, and meet-ups around the U.S. And as our community’s ranks grew with designers, writers, stylists, artists, and chefs, we did our best to capture that diversity through our creative profiles. In between, we launched a nineteen piece collaboration with Leica, released nine new iterations of popular bags, and added three members to our NYC-based team.
We began the year by releasing a black leather version of the Palma satchel and camera bag, the first of six black leather releases. We also took a look at “What’s in William Bichara’s Five ONA Bags,” which became our most-read blog post of the year. In 2017, we plan to share even more about what our community of creatives is carrying, based on what’s tagged with #inmyONA on Instagram; share yours today!
Jess joined our team as Director of Finance and Operations, and we simultaneously gained an office mascot: Bentley.
We launched the leather Clifton backpack, the third backpack in our collection. Channeling a classic book-bag silhouette, the Clifton is made from full-grain leather and fitted with a dedicated laptop sleeve, padded interior, and two removable camera inserts. It has become the bag our team carries most often!
We moved offices to our 4th WeWork location at the corner of Broadway and Howard Street, placing us directly between Opening Ceremony and V-Files, the nexus of downtown street style. Bryan—our resident Californian—joined our team as Director of Marketing and Strategic Partnerships.
We released our second and final new bag style of the year—the Madison—a shoulder bag handcrafted from saffiano leather, with dedicated space for a 15-inch laptop and a removable camera insert. We named the Madison after our first WeWork location, and fittingly our WeWork community manager Lexey made it her everyday bag.
June marked our 6th anniversary as a company, and to celebrate we hosted six giveaways with some help from friends like Benj Haisch and AFAR Magazine. Local Milk blogger Elizabeth Kirby took the new Madison bag to Barcelona (below); we followed her trip in one of our most-read travelogues of the year. Here are 2016’s five other most popular “Where ONA Goes” entries: The Faroe Islands with Rachel Gulotta, Iceland with Helena La Petite, A Week in the Life of Dan Rubin, Cuba with Jorge Quinteros, Banff National Park with Ryan Longnecker
Our monthly team outing took us to see the Statue of Liberty by boat. And in a special milestone, Service Photo Supply became our first retail partner in Maryland, home state of our founder Tracy and our Director of Sales Jillian.
Katie joined the team as our first Community, Digital, and Social Media Manager. She helped us crowdsource the name for the Bordeaux Bowery, a new take on our most popular silhouette in a deep crimson full-grain leather. We also hosted our annual #ONApets competition, and Zeiss won among a crowded field.
The winner of this year’s #ONApets contest: @kokohunt’s portrait of her aptly-named assistant, Zeiss. The competition was fierce and it was difficult to pick a favorite – our runners up @shelbyleaphotography & @ohhhsopeachy were also office favorites. Thanks to all who participated, we loved hearing your stories and seeing your shots.
September may have been our busiest month. We launched the Black Leather Collection—five of our most popular styles in full-grain black leather—as well as our second limited edition release: the individually-numbered (and now sold-out) Camouflage Bowery. We were also proud to sponsor and attend the first-ever WRKSHP in Brooklyn and the second annual NYCWLK. At the end of the month, Garry and Bryan traveled to Cologne, Germany for Photokina, which they documented for Travel & Leisure’s Snapchat channel.
On the heels of Photokina, ONA and Leica Camera announced an unprecendented nineteen bag collection, building on our past collaborations. We previewed the collection at PhotoPlus Expo in New York, where we also partnered with Moment and Mat Rick on a photo walk in Central Park, to capture the first colors of fall.
We launched our final release of the year, the Bowery in black nylon, our lightest bag ever. To coincide, we hosted a pre-holiday party and a pop-up in Kit & Ace’s new showroom in the Oculus, which also happens to be our favorite new NYC spot to photograph.
Our CEO Garry traveled to the Miami Street Photography Festival during Art Basel, to help co-host a number of meet-ups and walks with Leica and ONA community members like Van Styles. The top three finalists of the festival also received bags from the new Leica Collection.
To finish the year, we started a new annual series, “The December Stories,” where we feature our community’s work with non-profits and causes around the world. We also launched our Community Survey – which will remain open through early 2017, for those who would like to give input on our current collection and future releases.
As we look ahead to 2017, we wish you a happy holidays and a wonderful New Year; thank you for being a part of our community.