Glasgow’s outdoor lifestyle company is back on Trakke

After a difficult two-and-a-half years, Glasgow-based outdoor lifestyle brand Trakke is “busier and stronger than ever”, according to founder Alec Farmer.

“It’s amazing,” he said. “The lockdown was tough – we’re making bags for people on the go and nobody was going anywhere. It was pretty scary.

“However, after being closed for six weeks, we reopened and started making face masks. For every pair we sold, we donated one to someone in need, which was great. We could offer a product that was useful to people and support different charities and organizations at the same time. »

Alec adds: “Now we’re busier and stronger than ever, with lots of exciting things happening.”

Alec started Trakke from a stall in Barras market in 2010, selling bags he designed and made himself from scrap material salvaged from dumpsters across town.

Realizing very quickly that if you live in Glasgow a waterproof backpack is a smart move, Alec sourced oilcloth – a Scottish invention with roots in the fishing industry – from Halley Stevensons in Dundee to create a range of durable and stylish bags that are also naturally waterproof.

The company is based at SWG3 in Finnieston – a new showroom will open there next month – and it employs 17 people who work a four-day week. Trakke works closely with local colleges to provide jobs for new graduates in apparel production and design, and has a significant overseas market – 50% of sales are export, with 25% to the United States .

“This year, we focused on new products and collaborations,” says Alec.

“Collaboration has always been important to us. We are a small UK manufacturer so we want to work with other small UK manufacturers, supporting the wider economy.

“We are working with a sunglasses company in Kilsyth – one of the few still making sunglasses in the UK – on a range of premium plant-based frames, and Port-based Vango. Glasgow, which supplies us with scrap tent material, which we turn into bespoke pieces, is due to launch in July and we call it Past Tents.

He adds, with a smile: “I love good puns. ”

“The key to collaboration, I think, is that we should produce something neither of us could do without the other – better than the sum of its parts, in other words.”

Sustainability is at the heart of Trakke’s operations. Since its inception, the company has run a repair service, which means that customers can bring damaged bags back to the workshop for repair. Last year, it launched a “buy-back” initiative: Remade by Trakke, where customers can trade in an old Trakke bag, no matter its age or condition, and receive a gift card for their next purchase.

“We restore the old bags or, if they’re unrecoverable, we turn them into something else,” says Alec. “I’ve always wanted to keep products alive for as long as possible. There’s nothing worse than thinking they might end up in the dump.

Almost all returned bags come with stories. “I love that people tell us all about their backpacks, where they’ve been, what happened to them, when they bring them back for repair,” smiles Alec.

New lines for this year include the Canna, a small backpack for everyone, and a micro backpack they called the Wee Yin.

“It’s pretty, very trendy, but also perfect for children,” says Alec. “We see that more and more of our customers have children and want the whole family to be equipped with Trakke. Our community is changing, our customers are changing – we’ve been in Glasgow for 12 years now and while I was 20 when I started, I’m now 33, and my outlook on life has changed too. The company evolves around its customers.

Trakke is also working on a range of waterproof bags made from wool woven on the Isle of Bute and bonded with waxed cotton, and is planning a clothing collection next year.

“We introduced a jacket in 2020, which was a huge success – we had a limited run of 120 and they sold out very quickly,” says Alec. “So there are a lot of little stories going on, a lot of adventures in fabric and design.

“The bottom line is that we’re still here, still pushing, still developing our sustainability ethos and growing our business.”

trakke.co.uk

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