This is the story of how Douchebags became Db…
In 2009, Norwegian engineering student Truls Brataas and Swedish freeski legend Jon Olsson met while surfing in the village of Hoddevik, Norway. Both were passionate about action sports. Both were travelers. Both thought that the luggage available on the market — to carry their surfboards, snowboards and skis — needed a lot of work. Together, they felt they could solve this problem.
After a lot of tinkering, Truls and Jon developed a ski bag that was unlike anything the world had ever seen. It was length adjustable, collapsable, lightweight and strong. Perfect, but they needed a name. One night, after a few drinks, one of them mentioned the name “Douchebags.” They laughed it off and kept brainstorming. But they were having trouble thinking of a name that was edgy and irreverent. This was their one shot at launching a truly revolutionary product, and they had to have something memorable
Then Jon Olsson realized he had something that could help them — an audience. Jon asked his fans on Youtube, “What should we call our new bag company?” They received scores of responses, but one name kept coming up...Douchebags.
It was irreverent. It was memorable. They knew they only had one shot at making this company work, and had to be bold. So, the name of Truls Brataas and Jon Olsson’s new bag company was decided — Douchebags.
The ski bag they made assumed the namesake of the company, and The Douchebag (now called The Djärv Snowroller) became the most celebrated ski luggage in modern history. They then began developing other innovative, celebrated products.
Douchebags created The Strøm Backpack, a sleek and functional backpack that took design inspiration from the Dreamliner airplane.
Douchebags created The Ramverk 21L and The CIA Camera Insert, a backpack and camera insert to keep the gear of adventurous creators safe.
Douchebags even created The Strøm 90L Roller Bag, roller bag that was protected with their patented Rib Cage construction and its little brother, The Strøm 60L Roller Bag.
Over nearly a decade, Douchebags created dozens of bag styles — backpacks, luggage, duffels, sleeves, etc. — that resonated with athletes, adventurers, photographers and cinematographers. They won awards and press, too. The general theme was: Incredible bags, weird brand name.
Douchebags also became wildly popular with athletes and creators from various disciplines, and collaborations with people like Benjamin “Benni” Ortega, Jay Alvarrez, Olav Stubberud, Marcelo Vieira and more drove the brand’s awareness.
The products were especially popular in Scandinavian countries, where Jon Olsson had most of his audience and where Douchebags was headquartered (Oslo). It also helped that the word douchebag didn’t have the same connotation with Norwegians and Swedes as it did with native English speakers, who liked the bags but not the name.
As Douchebags grew from side-project to a truly global brand, the name became the elephant in the room, and communications increasingly used the shortened version of “Db” instead of the full name, Douchebags. It was clear that if the company wanted to reach more people, particularly in native English speaking countries like the United States, UK and Australia, they’d have to change the name.
Db was the obvious choice, since it had already been introduced to the consumer and had the requisite branding. But what did Db mean? They considered having the letters stand alone, and not mean anything. They considered finding some Norwegian or Swedish words that started with D and B and putting them together, a nod to their Scandinavian roots. But as they were exploring other combinations with Db — Dreambig, Dobetter, Dangerousbacon — they realized, “this is kinda fun.”
They created a meme generator and threw it in the company’s Slack channel. “What does Db mean to you?” The results were hilarious, and the engagement from the staff was incredible. And that’s when the team realized…
Db could mean anything. And everything. And something different everyday. And just like Jon’s audience decided on Douchebags back in the day, they could put the power back in the community’s hands and let them decide what Db means to them.
Today, Db changes with the whims of every passionate traveler that books a ticket, packs their bags and chooses to Departboldly... Desertboredom… no wait, Discoverbali… Disappearblissfully...