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Mission Workshop :: Carry Awards Interview

Mission Workshop :: Carry Awards Interview

by , January 31, 2014
While the Carry Awards are slowly building to a carry-induced climax, we decided to get nostalgic. Well, not that nostalgic. We peered back to the year just gone and decided to hunt down Mission Workshop to chat about their double win in last year’s awards. This is how it played out…

Hey Evan, thanks for having a chat. You guys took out the award for Best Active Messenger and Best Active Backpack last year, so kudos to you.

How did it feel to walk away with not one, but two Carry Awards?

Pretty stoked. We put a great deal of time into every design, not only in creating a specific bag, but also in terms of our collected experiences: traveling, cycling, and generally living a rad life that our products are made to suit.

What do you think it takes to win a Carry Award?

Votes, right? I think we could simply state if we make a good product, get it out there, and people tell others about it and why it works so well for them we’ll get more votes. Our brand runs mostly on word of mouth and people telling stories about their adventures, so I assume this winning ingredient works well for the Carry Awards, too.

You won the Best Active Backpack with the Arkiv Field Pack. How long did it take to go from initial concept to hitting the public with the Arkiv system?

It felt like forever, we can say that at least. Each part of the project took years of development, starting with the hardware system (which we patented), then the application to bags, and then the starting accessory kit. So to define how long it took from concept is a bit fuzzy. Let’s just say it’s a project we are really proud of and that we’ve only started with this initial launch and have a lot more in store for the years to come.


What were the main challenges in producing such a new system and pack?

Well, like most things, keeping it all in stock. We produce everything in small batches so we can make design tweaks when necessary and keep a tight control over quality. So we run out of one accessory or another and there’s that short downtime between restock.

Looking back, what have you learnt in the process that would lead you to create the Arkiv differently now?

When we release the next set of Arkiv accessories, I think our answer will be clear. So we’ll leave it to the product to answer that one.

You guys have had a busy 12 months, introducing a new brand (Acre Supply) and also releasing a range of apparel. What are the biggest challenges and learnings from juggling so many balls?

Let’s start with the best part about this instead. We love that we now have a professional excuse to be out riding the trails. It’s also helped us divide up our approach to each new design as we have these two distinct places to deliver product to. The downside is that we have so much going on that if we didn’t have a work-related reason to ride we would barely get out there.

How are you looking to up the ante this year? Any projects in the works?

Yes, there are projects in the works. No, we can’t tell you about them, ha ha ha!

Are there any awesome carry pieces you’re worried about losing to this year?

A lot actually!  Our bags cover a lot of scenarios, but you can’t get them all and there are a ton of great brands and designs out there.

What areas of carry are you excited about at the moment? Where is the rad happening?

Hydration packs. Since launching ACRE, we’re totally wound up on figuring out the best way to carry water, gear and tools in situations of high activity. The category has been commanded by CamelBak and a couple of others for like forever and seems kind of stagnant. We’re excited about implementing some ideas in an area that has been left out of innovation’s eye for quite some time.

Are you taking bets for anyone who might get drunk and make a fool of themselves in the comments section of this year’s awards?

CUI is considered forbidden by the company rule book. IF anyone is found Commenting Under the Influence it’s an automatic boot…if only it were true. Actually, we just don’t get involved in forums. We rather people talk it out without feeling like we are going to get in there and derail a conversation.

We never really gave you the chance to get up on the lectern and blow your own trumpet last year. So, this is your chance to give your long-overdue acceptance speech (but please refrain from any Kanye West-type antics).

Well, in short, we’re stoked and we look forward to running into fellow travelers and cyclists out there using our gear and hearing their stories. Nothing is more rewarding than sitting down to a beer with someone who has had a truly positive experience with your gear and hearing how it all went down.


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