Occasional ramblings: Work, leisure, heart and lungs.

29 August 2014

Posted by Mark 9 years ago


Reinventing manufacturing

Reinventing manufacturing

This is Alec Farmer. He runs a company called Trakke. They make outdoor bags. Or adventure-carry as they describe it. Alec’s story is amazing. He grew up in the midlands. Not known for its outdoor life but Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire all have great places to play outside. Alec grew up on the join of these counties and rode his bike through woods and down hills like his life depended on it. Which in a way it did. He left England to go to art college in Glasgow. He fell in love with the city and it’s growing bike-culture. He spent ages trying to find the right bike bag. And couldn’t. You or I would have given up. Alec made his own. Then he made them for friends. He made them out of old vinyl signs, the backs of sofas, tarpaulins. All left out for Glasgow’s Tuesday night bulky waste collection.

He left Uni and carried on making bags. He did this on a shoe-string. The only investment they had in the early days was a £10k family loan. Two full years on and Trakke make some of the best bags I’ve seen. But that’s not what makes them special. It’s the way they make bags. By hand. To order. Every one customisable. With Scottish materials (mainly). The way the zippers lie is as important as the fabric choice. They are growing. Fast. Not too fast as they want to retain manufacturing. Want to make every bag by hand for each customer. Want to make it better (in all ways). Alec is the face of new British manufacturing and sits amid a wave of makers that believe in better. That believe in saving these skills before that retire (or die), that believe made once is enough, that believe in the stories you collect in your kit, that believe in themselves. Great bags. Great man. Great Britain (for now).

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