April 18, 2019

Show IH: Bag Curation, a hand-picked selection of quality backpacks

I just launched bagcuration.com. A while back I was looking for a new backpack, and was actually browsing for weeks to come up with a decent shortlist. There鈥檚 just so much out there. Bag Curation was built to help people find the best bag for them.

It鈥檚 still very much an MVP, only containing black backpacks for now. Next steps will be to add more colors and different back types (travel bags, totes, etc.). Beyond that I haven鈥檛 given it that much thought, so any input you have here is much appreciated!

There is no business model behind it for now. I just thought this was something that should exist. I won鈥檛 be doing affiliate links for the foreseeable future. Since I really want this to be an independent platform, as opposed to advertisements disguised as "The 10 best backpacks of 2019" and friends.

Some technical background for those interested:

I started out collecting data in Airtable (https://airtable.com), which I then pulled into Gatsby (https://gatsbyjs.org). This setup actually works really well and was a joy to develop with. Hosting and form handling is covered by Netlify (https://netlify.com), which works together with Gatsby seamlessly.

All the tools mentioned above are really well documented. So whenever I ran into an issue, there was usually a Github issue or community article to help me out. The other upside is that you can run the above stack totally for free, which is amazing.

Anyway, thanks for reading! Happy to answer any product- or technical questions you might have, and would love to hear any feedback of what you would like to see next 馃憦

#product-feedback-request

  1. 2

    I guess this deals with more if you're selling/affiliate but I would love to see the price before having to click into a product.

    1. 1

      That鈥檚 totally fair! It can be kind of disappointing to find a bag you love, only to see its way more than you want to spend.

      I鈥檝e just added prices to the overview page, thanks for your feedback 馃檪

  2. 2

    This is a popular website that does the same. It probably monetizes through affiliate marketing: https://www.carryology.com/product-category/best-backpacks/

    On a side note, I bought a black AER daypack a couple of months ago and so far it鈥檚 been great 馃榾

    1. 1

      Yeah I really like Carryology, lot鈥檚 of useful info there. I guess Bag Curation is coming more at this from a design angle 馃檪

      Aer have the brand/design/functionality well balanced out in my opinion. Was actually looking at maybe getting their Aer Travel Pack 2! Good to hear you鈥檙e liking their daypack 馃憤

  3. 2

    This is a cool idea! Here are my comments on the business potential:

    • curating things that already exist is a good way to quickly test a business.

    • because you're not actually selling these yourself, the number of variations you list could be so huge that people can be extremely specific and still get multiple results. I imagine it isn't too much work for you either to upload a bag onto the site.

    • you could then take the learnings from this and, say, launch your own bag based on what you know people love.

    In terms of the site design/UX:

    • I like its simplicity and focusing on one bag colour is a good start. Black is a popular choice but maybe put up a form somewhere so people can subscribe or request a particular colour to be added? That'll help you with prioritising

    • I'm trying to think of times where I've needed a bag and it had been a little frustrating browsing through things that just didn't fit my criteria. So I think next it would be useful to have some filters that allow you to be very specific about the kind of bag you want.

    A question for you! What was Gatsby like to work with? What were the benefits of using that versus just React? Keen to know as I've worked with React but looking to make it a little less painful to get simpler projects going!

    1. 1

      Can鈥檛 thank you enough for responding so in depth, really appreciate it!

      Totally with you on the learnings/testing part. Adding new bags is indeed pretty easy, hopefully this will allow me to adapt quickly and see what works and what doesn鈥檛. I鈥檓 not sure if I could launch my own bag, but your comment did got me thinking about maybe co-creating one, or doing some other type of partnership. Pretty far off now, but food for thought nevertheless 馃憣

      Maybe put up a form somewhere so people can subscribe or request a particular colour to be added?

      Thanks for the suggestion, I should definitely do this. Going to try and add one over the next few days.

      I'm trying to think of times where I've needed a bag and it had been a little frustrating browsing through things that just didn't fit my criteria. So I think next it would be useful to have some filters that allow you to be very specific about the kind of bag you want.

      Absolutely agree, filters are going to be a must once the selection of bags grows. Will definitely be adding these in the (near) future.

      What was Gatsby like to work with? What were the benefits of using that versus just React?

      Gatsby has been great so far. The last three years I鈥檝e worked almost full time on React projects, so that probably helped with the speed as well. Pros I鈥檝e found for Gatsby so far:

      • Server side rendering out of the box. This was a must have for me, since my site relies on getting the best SEO.

      • CSS modules are supported out of the box as well which was nice.

      • You can create programmatic routes at build time, so there鈥檚 an API call to Airtable that gets the bags, and then Gatsby creates a page for each one.

      • Super extensive plugin ecosystem (https://www.gatsbyjs.org/plugins/). There was already one for getting data from Airtable which I could just use.

      • GraphQL comes with it out of the box, so there was no need for Redux and friends. Also not having to do tooling setup is 馃挴

      I hadn鈥檛 really worked with GaphQL before this, but everything is super well documented so it was easy to pick up.

      In the end Bag Curation was started as an MVP, and Gatsby allowed me to get it up to speed quickly. At the moment I鈥檓 using either Gatsby, Next.js, React, or Preact for most projects, depending on my needs and the scope.

      Once again thanks so much for commenting 馃檶