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How We Created The Perfect Backpack

Posted by Katie Thompson on
How We Created The Perfect Backpack | DIOSA designs Inc.

Designing "The One"

In 2017, mother-daughter duo, Kim Hickman and Katie Thompson saw that there was a gap in the market when it came to a sleek, professional, functional backpack for women. 

Our problem was simple: most women’s bags suck.

Kim and Katie sit at a design table looking at fabrics

Immediately they got to work. Surveying over 400 women both online and in their home about what makes a ‘perfect backpack’. These ‘backpack yaks’ as they called them proved to be very useful in the early research of the Maya Backpack. 

Through their research, Kim and Katie found that women wanted so much more than a backpack. They wanted a stylish carry-all bag that would easily transform to carry them throughout their day. In their early surveys they discovered that women opted for a clean sleek design with plenty of features inside the bag. The surveys also showed that women were more keen on cruelty free materials like vegan leather. 

Initial Sketches

Early concepts for the Maya Backpack

Kim and Katie enlisted designer and product manager, Leanne Avery to help create the ultimate backpack for women. Leanne was able to spin their research to life with incredible attention to detail and stunning designs. From these blueprints, DIOSA designs was born.

The blueprints for DIOSA’s very first backpack had been drafted but the work didn’t stop there. From these original sketches, Kim and Leanne searched far and wide for a manufacturer that would be able to create such a complex backpack using sustainable materials and safe working conditions. 

They started a partnership with a Canadian distributor to help them get the bag manufactured ethically in China. 

Meet Maya

Eight prototypes later and we decided on the final Maya Backpack... 

Maya infographic detailing all the features. Lining made from recycled water bottles, cruelty free vegan leather, water repellant, stow away straps and carry on strap, + passport pockets, sunglasses loop holder, USB power bank pocket (power bank sold separately), retractable key leash, ipad storage, 15" laptop sleeve, cosmetic bag, crossbody strap.

Feature Rich & Gorgeous

Boasting over 10 incredible features, the Maya may look like a clean simple backpack, but getting all of these features right was a long process.

Choosing the right features took time and dedication from the team. How could we create a sleek, professional backpack and also include helpful features that will elevate the bag.

Beauty Doesn't Have To Be Painful

Comfort is important. Which is why we enlisted the help of a local occupational therapist to help make sure our bag is ergonomic and comfortable. The Maya features wide, non-slip straps that are built around women’s dimensions.

To keep a minimalistic look, we opted to keep the lines outside the bag clean. We know how important it is to keep hydrated throughout the day so we included a water bottle pocket on the inside of the bag to keep your hydration station nice and snug. P.S. our DIOSA X S’well bottles fit perfectly in this pocket!

Keeping your electronics charged on the go was another highly sought out feature from our backpack yaks. The Maya has a USB charging port outside the backpack that connects to a hidden pocket inside where you can safely keep a portable charger, like our DIOSA x Nimble 3 Day Portable Charger.

We’re crossing our fingers to when we can travel again but the Maya has your back - literally! We designed a band at the back of the Maya that easily slips over luggage handles. The band also features a zip for easy access to your passport and boarding passes.

If you’re like us, you can never find your keys in the depths of your backpack or purse. That’s why we designed a retractable key leash so your keys always stay in the same place and always in reach.

3 photos showcasing the passport pocket and carry on handle strap, the power bank and water bottle pockets, the backpack zipped open on one side to reveal how it opens flat while also showing the crossbody bag and the key leash on the side.

Women are busy. Period.

We often take many roles throughout our day. The Maya was designed with this in mind. Which is why the Maya transforms as your day changes.

Heading to the gym? Need a quick change of clothes? No problem! The Maya includes a drawstring laundry bag that will keep your separates… well separate.

The Maya converts easily to a messenger style bag with our included strap for a different fit. The included cosmetic bag can be used as a crossbody purse or clutch as your transition from day to night.

After four years, eight prototypes and countless reviews from women, we have landed on our perfect backpack. Made ethically by women for women to support women across the globe.

Now that’s empowerment. 

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1 comment

  • Elaine on

    Congratulations on reaching your goal of manufacturing the perfect backpack! It looks fabulous and I"m looking forward to receiving mine :)

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