At Ethnotek, our mission is to keep culture alive by creating high quality laptop and travel bags that feature ethically sourced handmade textiles. Your purchase sustains employment for the art of hand printing, weaving and embroidery with our partnering artisan villages in Ghana, Guatemala, India, Indonesia and Vietnam. Ethnotek is so much more than just a bag! It's a celebration of culture, it's a community, it's a global movement! Come join the Tribe, together we can keep culture alive!
Keeping Culture Alive:
The one thing all of our weavers and artisans have in common is the fact that their craft is disappearing. Every year they see less and less local demand for their fabrics due to low yield and long lead times. Traditional techniques are quickly being replaced by machines and factory labor in major cities, drastically reducing the amount of jobs and industry in the regions where it is needed most. By creating new demand for these traditional handcraft practices, we are in a sense forging an effort to keep them alive and well and in the same villages from which they came.
Most Ethnotek bags can be customized via the removable front panel called a Thread™. Each Thread™ is created from handmade textiles that are sourced in person and purchased directly from the artisan or craft village in which they were created. We are continually scouring the globe to find textiles that embody the vibrancy and beauty of the people who create them and the traditions they represent. We release new Threads™ regularly, allowing you to update the look of your bag without having to buy a new one entirely. This puts a whole new meaning to changing your threads!
The stunning textiles seen in the Mayan Collection, were handmade on a treadle loom in the village of Paxtoca (pronounced pash toca) just outside of Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, where Mayan culture is still very much alive and well. Learn more and see the full collection in all it’s glory HERE.
The intricately embroidered textiles seen in the Hmong Collection, were created in the northern highlands of Vietnam in villages surrounding Sapa, Lai Chau and Ha Giang. Hmong are the largest of Vietnam's 54 ethnic groups, which has numerous subgroups with their own dialects and in terms of expression, embroidery is revered as one of the highest forms of creativity in the region. There are countless stitches in use by embroiders all over the world, though they are all variations of three basic kinds - flat, knotted, linked and looped. Learn more and see the full collection HERE.
The culturally rich textiles seen in the Vankar Collection, are created in villages surrounding Bhuj in Gujarat, India near the border of Pakistan. The pit looms of this region use a manual throw shuttle and hand warping, which in essence is embroidery on the loom that requires great skill, attention to detail and patience. The result is stunning works of art with dancing geometric patterns whose authentic look and feel are nearly impossible to recreate on a machine. Learn more and see the full collection HERE.
The vibrant Akan Collection of hand batik and tie-dyed fabrics are from the artisans of the Somanya village in Ghana, Africa. the motifs seen in these travel backpacks and bags are modern block printed interpretations from ancient Akan symbols. Akan iconography originated under the Ashanti tribe. Learn more and see the full colorful collection HERE.
The handmade fabric featured in the Garuda Collection come from the artisan's hands of Surakarta, Indonesia. In the form of batik dyed cotton, these cool-colored works of art are a modern take on some very traditional techniques, both in batik fabric design and classic East Asian architecture. Learn more and see the full collection HERE.
Gear Under $50
Wanna join the Tribe and pick up some new travel gear without breaking the bank? Then look no further! Here's a collection of all Ethnotek gear under $50. Whether it's a gift for someone you're close to or you're just treating yourself (as you should), this batch of useful, high-quality and stylish gear is great for either!
Meet the team!
What’s up Tribe! I’m Jake, the dude that invented Ethnotek. I have a background in Industrial Design and used to design products like stethoscopes, cleaning tools, tape dispensers and library book scanners for 3M. Now bags, haha! I love anything active and outdoors, especially, skateboarding, snowboarding, hiking, rock climbing and I’m now learning to surf. I’m originally from Minnesota and have lived with my wife Cori in Vietnam, Switzerland, Los Angeles and now we’re in Bali, Indonesia. I can’t even begin to tell you how proud and honored I am that you and the ETK Tribe love our bags and shared mission so much. This global movement we’re building together has really become something powerful and beautiful. Lets keep it rocking!
Hey, there! After spending the past 10 years teaching preschool abroad, I decided to shift gears and join my husband, turning Ethnotek into a family business! I’ve watched it grow from the basic ideation to what it is today and am honored to be a part of it! My role is to basically have a hand in everything. I’m an organization nerd and now known as the ETK Mama! In my downtime, I love to read, play games and explore new places :)
Our bags are proudly and responsibly made in Vietnam! Our workshop is based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and is powered by thirty awesome and highly skilled humans. We do all design, prototyping, material management, molding, stamping, cutting, sewing and fulfillment under one roof.
We work hard together and play hard together! Often times on weekends and holidays, we're goofing around, exploring the outdoors, sharings drinks and food and getting into all sorts of mischief together.
Jake & Cori have lived in Vietnam for 8 years, 5 of which, were spent launching and nurturing the Ethnotek brand. They are originally from Minnesota, USA, but definitely, consider Vietnam their 2nd home. They now live and work in Bali, Indonesia, with trips back to visit the VN crew every 2-4 months. We're so proud of our tightly-knit design and manufacturing crew. These are the smiling faces behind your bag.