A journey of a
I’m Anthony, and Winterfold represents my vision of what a rucksack should be. I designed my first bag without compromise. I wanted to make a backpack that is at home on the hills, not on the commuter train. This first manufacturing run represents a journey some twelve years in the making – and a journey that is only just beginning.
It’s 2011 and I was sitting around a table with people introducing themselves, saying why they were here, what they do, etc. Eventually, it was my turn. I hate this kind of thing. “Hi, I’m Anthony,” I nervously started, “I’m a graphic designer and I want to launch a bag brand.” It was the first ever Do Lectures day course: ‘How to build a great brand with very little money’. I had an idea, and I had very little money. I was halfway there already. So what took me so long?
Well, when it comes to the second half, life gets in the way sometimes doesn’t it? My graphic design business is busy and I started selling prints and t-shirts as side projects, but the idea of creating a bag still persisted.
A few years later, in 2014, a friend introduced me to a bag manufacturer less than two miles from my house. BINGO. Now was the time. I rolled up with a sketchbook full of hopes and dreams. The manufacturer was very polite, but explained they needed a little more than sketches and vague ideas. I had been naive. That meeting extinguished the flame for a little while. Maybe I wasn’t destined to make this happen.
Not one to sit still, over the following years I started, ran and sold a successful coffee business, and my other projects went from strength-to-strength. Thoughts of the bag were put on hold once more.
Have you ever woken up one day and just known that you have to do something? I did. Last year. I can’t tell you why now, because I don’t really know. I do know that in all likeness I have more time behind me on this earth than in front of me. I know that I work for myself, so I can do this kind of thing. I know I don’t want to look back and regret that I didn’t do something just because I couldn’t make time.
So, I reached out to my network and found Rob at Freeheel, a bag designer to help me develop my ideas and produce technical drawings and a tech pack. We delved deep into toggles and clips, webbing and fabric samples. I went back to that manufacturer down the road, and we’ve worked together producing prototypes, honing in on my vision of the perfect bag.
Now it is time to share that with you. Winterfold is born, and with it so too is my first bag; the Brocken Spectre.
There is perhaps no better symbol of the freedom to roam and adventure than the humble rucksack. It represents the ability to travel indefinitely; to carry what we need to sustain ourselves, keep ourselves warm and fed.
I had a vision to create the perfect rucksack for what I needed; a daypack that is made for the hills. A bag that feels like an extension of me. A bag that has the features that I want and need, but nothing superfluous. A bag that isn’t trying to be everything. A bag that looks great, but has the performance chops to back up the aesthetics. You won’t find a laptop sleeve or a thousand pockets. But you will find attachment points for trekking poles and robust, waterproof fabric for example.
Finally; I wanted a bag that would last a lifetime of adventures. To me, it is the only morally responsible way to manufacture.
This is my design philosophy. This is Winterfold.
Why did I choose a local manufacturer? It was a simple decision for me. I have developed products for manufacture abroad in the past and did not enjoy the process. I hate the delays and the disconnect. Working with a company just down the road isn’t just about my convenience; although being able to pop in for a brew and chat has absolutely allowed me to create a better product. I’ve seen the manufacturing process; seen the care put into every stitch; seen the quality of the product that results; spoken to the people making them. I can design and manufacture in small, sustainable batches, adding new designs when it feels right to do so. Finally, it’s important to me to keep jobs in the local economy and minimise transport miles.
Why Winterfold? Well, I have always taken inspiration from the places that bring me joy; the mountains and woods, coastlines and moors. Winterfold is the name of a forest in Surrey that I used to mountain bike in many years ago. I always loved the name, and it just feels fitting for the brand.