The Essentials is a series where we ask creators to open up their bags and tell us about their everyday necessities that help them with their day. This week, we’re featuring Mark Chou, marketing director of ONA Bags.
New York-based marketing director Mark Chou never leaves home without a camera.
“Photography has been an interest of mine for as long as I can remember, but it wasn’t until college that it really became a passion,” says the University of Pennsylvania graduate, who spent his college years photographing for his school’s newspaper The Daily Pennsylvanian.
Chou has had several careers, starting as an investment banking analyst in Manhattan. He went on to join a venture capital firm, working closely with startups and managing the FinTech Innovation Lab accelerator. But that didn’t necessarily nurture his creative side.
“I felt that moving out of finance into an operating role would provide me valuable experience in areas I was interested in, like fashion and e-commerce,” he says.
Eventually, he found himself at Ralph Lauren, working in the e-commerce strategy team, and now he’s at ONA Bags, leading marketing and strategic partnerships. Chou is finally integrating his passion for lifestyle photography with his day job.
As marketing director of ONA Bags, it’s pretty clear that Chou specifically picks high-quality, functional products to keep him entertained on his commutes to important client meetings. From his handy MacBook Air, to a KIND bar to keep him energized throughout the day, all of the items are fully loaded in his Kingston briefcase, a stylish new collection of leather bags released to mark the company’s five-year anniversary.
Below are some of the essentials that this WeWork SoHo West member keeps in his briefcase:
MacBook Air: “A good laptop is crucial for my day-to-day!”
Ray-Ban sunglasses: “This pair was discontinued a few years back. I love the fit, and they’re polarized to boot.”
iPhone 5S: “As they say, ‘The best camera is the one you have with you,’ and the iPhone’s camera rarely disappoints.”
Nikon FG: “That said, there’s something about shooting film on an old manual camera that just can’t be replicated with digital. My Kingston briefcase is spacious enough that this old SLR will actually fit!”
Field Notes: “Since the big legal pads I love aren’t great for being on-the-go, these notebooks fit nicely. “
Cross Pen: “It’s nice to have a beautiful, quality pen to use for more important meetings and events.”
New Yorker magazine: My wife and I recently received a subscription to The New Yorker, and it’s become my go-to reading material on my commute to and from work every day. I love the magazine’s focus on long-form journalism, and their weekly issue format means that as soon as I finish one, another has just arrived in the mail.
KIND Bar: A legacy of having previously worked on Wall Street is that I sometimes forget to eat lunch. KIND Bars help get me through a busy day. Peanut Butter & Strawberry is my favorite!
Eastern Collective iPhone charging cord: I actually received this from one of my Birchbox Man boxes, and it helps keep my phone charged during the workday.
JBuds earbuds: I have a few nicer headphones at home, including a great pair from Grado Labs, but this pair, which I picked up from Amazon several years ago, keeps me entertained while taking up very little space in my bag.
Photographs by Lauren Kallen