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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Jansport Founder Visits Davao

Growing up, we always wanted to be stylish and “in” with the trends. For those of you who were born in the 70’s, I’m quite sure that meant wearing bell bottom pants or shoulder pads. For my generation, however, being cool meant going to school with a nifty back pack. The usual suspect was a Jansport pack that was either red, blue, or green. To have a Jansport bag in a different color (or a different material, like those that were made out of nets) was a special treat, back in the day, and it was reserved only for those who truly wanted to stand out. In fact, it is funny how, up to this day when almost every college and high school student owns a Jansport bag; they still evoke that sense of being “different”. They now have more designs, more options (like a compartment for laptops or music players), more innovations, and more reasons to embrace the bag as part of one’s lifestyle; so the Jansport user is may stand out with his bag. Why?

Because these bags were more than just a functional sack that held our school essentials like books, notebooks, cellphones, and our daily baon. They were there to make a statement. When I was in High School, my “essentials” were a piece of paper, a pen, and some cologne. That did not stop me from bringing my (almost empty) Jansport to school everyday, because, again, it was more for the “statement”, than for the functionality. A Jansport bag, like the latest “it” gadget, told people that I was trendy, and I was “up with the times”. Now, to my surprise, I still use that same pack up to this day (after 10 long years), whenever I travel. And although the pack holds much more than a piece of paper, a pen, and cologne, these days; it still holds up the way it did when I first brought it to school. That is the Jansport promise. They have a lifetime guarantee. That is probably how long I will be using my Jansport. So do not be surprised to see me fifty years down the road with a Jansport bag filled with either an oxygen tank or my trusty arinola. Because it seems like, with a Jansport bag, the relationship is always somewhat of a love affair; never ending, and always exciting.

Being the huge Jansport fan that I was, I got pretty excited to learn that one of the Co-Founders of Jansport, Mr. Skip Yowell, would be visiting our lovely Durian City for a Campus Tour. He dropped by the Ateneo de Davao University to give the students a little background on the brand, talk about his life and how he reached the top of the corporate ladder without sacrificing the hippie principles of “having fun while working”, “doing what you love”, and “taking your job, not yourself, seriously”; encourage them to go outdoors and take the road less-travelled; give away some really cool freebies (including planners, speakers, bobble heads, the book he penned, lanyards, USB drive, etc) for good measure; and of course, talk about beer, in true Skip Yowell fashion.

The AdDU visit was the second leg of a four-school tour around the Philippines which included De La Salle University (Manila), San Carlos University (Cebu), and Ateneo de Manila University dubbed “Skip in Class”. This campus tour gave a face to Jansport and further buffed up the image of Jansport bags as fun, fearless, and unbelievably sturdy. Skip Yowell, is the obvious choice to talk about his bags as he has used them in many occasions, in many countries, in many types of conditions (including one particularly difficult climb to the top of the world, otherwise known as Mt. Everest) ever since he founded the company with his cousin Murray and Murray’s then future-wife, Jan during the early seventies.

Today, Jansport is the leading back pack company, providing millions and millions of students, outdoor adventurers, space-age hippies, yuppies, and even one travel-hungry partyphile , with a functional, durable bag that speaks of one’s style, and works for one’s passions.

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