Coffee Break: Custom Business Tote

We recently heard from a reader who shared a recommendation for Glaser Designs, which is based in San Francisco and creates customized work and travel bags. She emailed to say, in part:

I was in desperate need for a great looking and great functioning briefcase for years. Finally I found the BEST company on the planet for this that first interviews you about how you use a briefcase — your needs — and then, with you on SKYPE designs one that fits for you.

We’re picturing the Business Tote — the example on their website measures 17″ x 3″ x 4″ and seems like a nice choice for a basic, classic tote for work. It has a dark green grosgrain lining, which is a nice touch, as well as bottom metal studs, two zip pockets at the top, and a key ring inside. To customize a bag, you can talk to Glaser Designs via Skype, FaceTime, or Google Hangouts (or visit their San Francisco studio), and discuss your preferred size, color (for hand-coloring with water-based dyes), lining, top stitching, and strap length. (The company also offers other leather items, such as duffel bags, padfolios, and passport holders, to name a few.) Business Tote


  1. Prenup Help :

    Can anyone recommend an attorney to help with a prenup in Louisiana?

  2. KISS -- it works :

    Weight has crept up on me (going back on the pill, aging metabolism, delicious food). What is working really well so far: subbing out every lunch where I am not going for a meeting in a restaurant during the week with my grad school standby: Honey Nut Cheerios (yes, I am basically Omar Little). It is a little bit of steady change and probably trading up vs my usual restaurant take-out at my desk. I don’t feel deprived. And I’m saving $! I feel like I can Do This.

    • That sounds awesome lol. I’ve been swapping an afternoon packet of vending machine cookies for a banana and peanut butter. It requires like, a minute of planning on my part but its a simple switch.

    • Anonymous :

      I need to do this for dinner! Lol

    • I have a similar issue. I love food, but it goes right to my tuchus. So I try and drink alot of water every day to fill my stomach. The onley probelem is that I have to go to the bathroom alot to pee, and that causes me to have to break up my thinking and billing when I go. Fortunateley, it does not take to long, and there is no wait, like there was in our old office, when Frank took up occupancy in the toilet often for over an hour. That was awful. Our new office has toilets in the hall, and there is never a line. YAY!!!!

  3. Glasses from Molly's Game :

    Watched Molly’s Game and fell in love with Jessica Chastain’s glasses. I found them online easily–they’re Prada model PR 04TV. The thing is, I’m so used to Warby Parker’s ability to try on that I’m scared to order them without seeing if they look good on me. Does anyone know of a way to try them on? I am not sure if there’s a way to figure out whether eyeglass chains near me carry a particular model. TIA!

    • Eyeglass chains carry a surprisingly large amount of glasses. You could call ahead and ask if they have them?

    • Never too many shoes... :

      Amazon is almost always the answer!

      • OMG how did it not occur to me to look on Amazon for new frames?? SO is the. pickiest. person. ever. about his glasses and refuses to get new ones even though he can’t freaking see. This is brilliant!

      • Anonymous :

        Or you can go to your local store and try stuff on, instead of buying and returning. That way you can be sure to get the sizing right (not to wide/narrow for your face, temples are the right length, bridge is the right size, your eye is actually placed where you want it in the frame).

        And then, if this particular model doesn’t look good on you, you’ll have similar options that might be better for your particular face shape. Rather than living with frames (because the lenses are too expensive to redo) that you like better on someone else vs your face.

        • In-House in Houston :

          Dumb question, but would you then take these glasses to have your own prescription lenses inserted, or are these just for show?

          • Anonymous :

            +1! I always thought it was crazy expensive to get yuor own lenses inserted.

            Why not just order from an online store like $10 says they have your prada frames and has “free returns” or whatever minus shipping.

          • It’s not expensive to get your lenses inserted! Same price, you just don’t buy the frames. I do this a lot and give them to my eye doctor to send out, which is cheapest, but you could take them to Costco or Walmart or whatever floats your boat..

    • KISS -- it works :

      Wow — I was scared to click and see how expensive. And not that expensive at all! I figured that there would probably be a comma in the price, but not so!

    • Anonymous :

      In addition to Amazon, Bluefly also carries a huge selection of returnable designer frames now.

  4. science undergrad degrees :

    We have a HBCU in my city (and several in my state) and they frequently talk up to high school students that they do a much better job at graduating people with science and math degrees than do other colleges and universities. [I believe that this is accurate and if I were black, I would seriously consider sending a child to a HBCU if they had a serious interest in science or math for this reason.] I’m wondering, is the same true for women at women’s colleges? I have two daughters who just adore science (more so than math, but are good at math). I hear so often how really sexist the hard sciences are and wonder if exploring them at women’s colleges makes sense (I’ve also heard that Ivies are good for women in science, which I wouldn’t have thought of before).


    • not a scientist :

      Women’s college alumna here. This is anecdotal but tons of women from my class went on to get PhDs/MDs. Not sure what the actual stats are but I read women’s college alumnae are twice as likely to go on to get a PhD. Might just be correlation – if you want to attend/are accepted to a seven sisters college or Spelman you’re already a huge nerd who would probably go on to grad school even if you went to a coed undergrad.

    • Also anecdotal, provided as a neutral point of evidence: I’m 20 years into a fairly successful career in a male-dominated hard science field. As I survey my female peers and colleagues who’ve made it past the training stages (grad school / post-doc or residency), I can’t think of anyone who went to a women’s college for undergrad. I’m in a northeast metro area, so I know lots of seven sisters grads with tremendously successful careers in the arts, law, government, etc., but not in my field. No idea why, it’s just what I observe.

    • am a physicist :

      I’d say that high ranking schools (Northwestern, Yale, etc) are disproportionately among women physicists. I would bet that more woman undergraduate science majors come out of women’s colleges, but I would also guess that they are less likely to go on to a career in the sciences. I’m relying on my own experience here so if someone has data I’d love to see it (and hopefully be corrected).

      • am a physicist :

        I’d also make sure your daughters go to schools with non-science options. Most high school students who are interested in the hard sciences change their focus during college. That’s good – people should follow their interests. But you also don’t want to go to a school with a strong chemistry program and nothing else.

    • Alanna of Trebond :

      I am a former engineer, so this may be less helpful, but the women’s colleges don’t have real engineering programs – or at least they did not when I was applied to college (now more than ten years ago!)

      • Seventh Sister :

        I knew a few people who transferred because they wanted an engineering degree. Being small colleges, most women’s colleges just don’t have the capacity to have some STEM programs. That said, there are some women’s colleges that allow cross-enrollment for things like engineering or architecture.

      • Anonymous :

        I doubt it’s changed much – my guess is that most women’s colleges are offering BA and not BS in science degrees (whatever that difference may be – I’ve got a BA in Chem myself) and I don’t see a BA-issuing college having engineering degrees.

      • Former Engineer :

        Smith does now and it looks awesome – I went to Swarthmore ages ago and did engineering there, so I am a big fan of mixing liberal arts and engineering, but I would probably have chosen Smith if it had existed when I was applying

    • Seventh Sister :

      I’m a Wellesley alum but wasn’t a science major. I graduated in the late 90s, and while quite a few of my fellow alums are researchers/academics in the sciences, there are WAY more physicians and other medical professionals in my cohort (nurse practitioners, audiologists, etc.). There were also a lot of math and econ people who went into finance or other quantitative stuff.

      Women’s colleges aren’t for every young woman (I think you either love it or hate it), but the thing that was so refreshing/inspiring to me as a young woman was that EVERY science major, math major, summer laboratory intern, Smithsonian intern, Rhodes scholar, student director, etc., I knew was a woman. It made it seem more “possible” to me that I could do neat stuff, and it was a fantastic way to get leadership and learning experience.

    • Pretty Primadonna :

      Came here to say that non-Black people do, and can, and should attend HBCUs! I am wondering why “being Black” would be in the equation for you to encourage your child to attend one.

  5. Space Camp :

    Did any of you ladies go to Space Camp (in Huntsville) or send children there? It looks really cool and I have a daughter who would love it (and one I’d send along for the ride b/c I think she’s like it even if she didn’t love it) if it is as cool as it looks.

    • Anonymous :

      I went twice as a kid. I loved it. It was absolutely incredible and even though my daughter is still an infant I am so excited to take her there some day (they have parent-child camps if you want to go too!).

      • Anonymous :

        re parent-child camp: WOW. you just blew me mind. husband’s next bday gift in 3, 2, 1…

    • I DID! I won a contest and went the summer before my freshman year in high school. I think I was one of the older kids there (Advanced Space Academy), but it was honestly amazing. I’ll check back to see if you have any more specific questions. But, I still have my flight suit and I still use my space camp bag as my gym bag (if you see me with it, say hi!). If your daughters are similar in age, I would encourage you to request they be on different teams/groups (whatever they call them). I’m in my 30s now and still beam when I get to talk about it.

      • Space Camp :

        That’s awesome! Is there a good / typical age of campers that you recall? Or even elementary vs middle schoolers?

        Some days, this is why mommy works.

        • I have vague recollections of there being many many more younger kids than the Advanced Academy (15-18) but I could not pin point for you which is the more popular age group. I also remember not caring at all that there was a smaller older kid contingent. In the older age group you got to do neutral buoyancy SCUBA diving in a water tank and all the younger kids were jealous. You could always do family camp… just saying….

      • Anonymous :

        I did! It was as a much younger child– maybe 9 or 10? I went with my Dad (who is an astronomer). It was sooooo fun.

    • My husband went with his dad and loved it and wasn’t/isn’t even a big science guy. If you think your daughter would like it, she probably will love it. (This was years ago, though, no idea as to the current experience.)

      • Space Camp :

        I saw that the parent + kid trip is an option. I would love to go (not sure how many parents try to do this and then wind up trying to do a lot of working remotely b/c jobs are crazy) but am not sure how work-friendly that would be for squeezing in things / constantly blackberry praying. Will check that out more (perhaps there is a weekend option or could be mis-remembering).

        • I think there is a weekend option.
          I’m doing a parent+child outdoor science at my college alma mater over the summer and I am beyond pumped for it. It’s partially over the weekend so I think it will be okay from a work standpoint.

        • Anonymous :

          The parent child camps are mostly over a weekend as I recall – maybe Fri to Mon or something like that. Not sure about wifi. I went with my parents in the early to mid 90s back when people didn’t need Internet connectivity.

          I went in first or second grade with my dad and in fourth or fifth grade with my mom. I got a lot more out of it the second time, but I was an unusually shy/timid kid and was scared to do a lot of the simulators the first time. I do think it’s a much more educational experience for older kids. At a younger age it’s mostly just playing dress up and rides. But older kids can really learn some science and engineering stuff.

    • Anonymous :

      I went there on a 3-day field trip in 5th grade and loved it so much I saved enough money to send myself back there for the full Space Academy experience when I was in 7th grade. It was amazing and a really cool experience. I didn’t end up in a science field but it is really one of my favorite childhood memories.

    • Pretty Primadonna :

      I went in 6th grade. It was amazing, and I would encourage you to send your daughter. Of course, it was a decade-plus when I went, so I guess take my opinion with a grain of salt?

  6. Clementine :

    I asked for recs for a tote bag for my mom recently and at your suggestion she ended up going with the baggalini tote. It’s AMAZING and she’s so happy with it. It’s nylon, lightweight, the perfect size, AND the bright lining is easy for her to find stuff against.

    Would recommend to a friend.

    • Anonymous :

      Which one?

      • Clementine :

        It’s the Baggalini Avenue tote. It’s really nice – the backstory is that my mom was griping that her $30 Marshalls bags never lasted more than a year or two and she needed something that looked reasonably professional that she could carry around that would hopefully last more than a year.

  7. Pretty pick, but, I feel like the fact that this brand’s website lists no prices does not bode well for its affordability.

    • If you click on the Archives links it provides blog-type posts of, I presume, their custom work with the prices. For example,

      • Similar, not same, bag for ~$1k

  8. brokentoe :

    Any idea of the price of this bag??

    • You need to click through. The prices vary, but the one I like, is the City Tote, which goes for between 950 and 1950 dollars, which is NOT cheap. I think the leather one is the way to go, but personaly I perfer a good bag from Aigner, which I have had since Law School. I think that men respect a woman with a nice tote, and will not take any kind of s-xeual liberties with us if they know we have style. I therefore recommend goeing to Lord & Taylor or another reputable store and checking all of these out in PERSON to see how you look carrying them in front of the mirror. At the same time you can color coordinate with pumps and a nice belt. Good luck to you as you shop, but do go in person to make sure you have the right tote! YAY!!!!!

  9. This gripe is pointless– and I think the behavior is ultimately harmless– but it grates on me. Men who email other men and use just the word “Men” as the salutation on said email. A) why ? and B) feels icky when that emails gets forwarded to the female associate who will actually do the work you requested the “Men” should do. /vent

    • This is a thing people do? I’ve seen “Gentlemen”, which I agree is weird and always makes me roll my eyes. I’ve never seen just, “Men” and it reads really weird to me as a salutation.

      • Anonymous :

        Yeah, in Big Law I occasionally got emails that read “Gentlemen…” which is still eyeroll-worthy. But just “men”?? that seems so weird and casual.

    • Anonymous :

      “Men” is oddly casual, but I don’t get what is eyeroll-worthy about “Gentlemen” as a salutation, unless the concern is that it is presumptuous about someone’s gender identity. But assuming sender and recipients know each other sufficiently well, what is the beef?

    • What would you suggest as an alternative? “Hi all”? “All,”? “Folks”?

      I admit to having on occasion used “ladies,” but not been totally happy about it.

  10. Thanks for all the emails about a nyc meet up! I’ll send out a group email tonight or tomorrow to coordinate.

  11. How much would that tote cost? I’d like to know range.

  12. Metallica :

    Can we talk about Aaron Schlossberg? It says on his website that he’s fluent in Spanish.

    I hope he loses alllllll the business.

  13. So I lost my mind in a meeting! Let it all out about the way someone was treated. Room fell silent, I was literally shaking.
    After, everyone but the 2 people I singled out came up to me and said thank you! These 2 women are awful, treating everyone like crap and I had finally had enough.
    So what to do now? Management was there. But nothing will change, since you can’t changw behavior. I’m thinking of leaving. But I have so many years in. I don’t care about seeing them, i just can’t stand the environment. So what to do? And If I’m the only person saying anything then it’s irrelevant.

    • Um…I’m expecting that you will probably get edged out for this soon. This is why no one does what you did. Craft your exit plans immediately.

  14. um, woman? :

    document everything right now and exit asap.
    I also like to keep a running list of keywords that come to mind in case discovery is needed.

  15. So then this happens, received email from management and HR today….apologies for the way employees have been treated and we are looking further into this matter after several people have brought this to our attention.
    This can not be real…I’m so confused.
    But still have first interview next week. Thanks ladies!

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