In our Brand Story Hero series, we shine a regular spotlight on different brands that we think tell their story well. Here we take a look at Trakke, a company who sell bags and accessories for all adventurers.
Product: Outdoor bags and accessories
Founder: Alec Farmer
Year founded: 2010
Mission: “Right to roam – Our simple, understated designs use materials and components that are time tested and reliable to create bags that thrive out in the wild – wherever your wilderness may be.
“Trakke began while I was knee deep in the skips of Glasgow.”
Alec Farmer was, as he describes, a “broke” student living in Glasgow. Despite this, he was a craftsman and would stop at nothing to create new things. His weekends were spent cycling through the streets of Glasgow “liberating” materials from rubbish. Unwanted sofas and old suitcases were transformed into bags and other accessories, all in the workshop of Alec’s small Glasgow flat.
Alec didn’t mean to start a business, but he was making too many bags and quickly running out of space.
The first office store was a market stall at the Barras market, one of the East end of Glasgow’s most famous institutions.
As Alec recalls, the days were long and cold. Bags were sewn in his living room and sold on at the market stall. The first ever bag sold was made from a big yellow tarp bearing a plumbers phone number.
Although it was a small business, run on a student budget, it was a start. It was here Alec began to build his brand.
The stall let Alec build his business. With the bit of money he made, he began exploring different designs and materials. The hunt for the perfect material proved difficult. Cordura was used for a while but quickly disregarded, as Alec says “it’s boring”.
Following a year of searching Alec and his team finally found the perfect material for their bags. A desire to keep all production and manufacturing of their products in the UK and a need for a material that was strong, durable, timeless and had some heritage behind it led them to their discovery.
Designed by a Scottish fisherman in the 1800’s the material met their requirements. Coupled with the stainless steel buckles they found, forged from 70% recycled steel their new materials allowed them to paint a picture of their industrial past. It also allowed them to show how they were part of the brands future.
Their storytelling lessons
Lesson #1 Stay true to your roots
Trakke is a British brand and they strongly believe in keeping it that way.
Their roots in Glasgow and their belief in British products has formed how they built their brand.
In an effort to bring manufacturing back to Great Britain they built their workshop in the heart of Glasgow. They use materials from all over Scotland and England and work with some of the most talented crafts people out there.
They recognise that being a British brand is special. It is something they are proud of and happy to share. Every single Trakke bag is “proudly” emblazoned with the words ‘Handmade in Scotland’.
Lesson #2 Keep your message simple
Adventure everywhere. Handmade in Scotland. Built to Last.
These are just some of the taglines associated with Trakke.
Simple and to the point, Trakke recognise you don’t need to overcomplicate your message to get your point across.
It is not easy to condense your message into as few words as possible but Trakke has achieved this.
In three or four words they are able to convey who they are and what they do. This is a clever and impactful way to communicate.
Lesson #3 Stay social
This can be where many companies fall down.
Updating your social media accounts once a week or even once a month simply does not cut it. Companies need to be engaging and posting regularly on social media to build a narrative, engage with audiences and share their story.
Trakke are doing just this.
View this post on Instagram
Glasgow is home to one of the most vibrant street art scenes in the UK, and SWG3 (where our workshop is based) is right at the heart of it. Every year, the Yardworks festival brings together some of the best graffiti artists in the world. It's not just a chance to see amazing artwork, if you look closely you can also learn some of the tools of the trade – like using a Wee Lug Mk II to carry your cans! – #trakke #trakkebags #SWG3 #yardworks #streetart #art #graffitiart #urbanart #graffitiporn #instagraffiti #artist #graffiti #glasgow #graffiti #EDC #everydaycarry
This allows them to connect directly with their audience and maintain relationships before and after an individual has purchased a bag.
They also tell stories through their social media. Stories of people on adventures and using Trakke products to get them through.
Their storytelling tools
Stories of adventure
Thinking about visiting Edinburgh? Or hiking the Scottish highlands? Trakke has you covered.
In their Travelogue Trakke provides readers with a travel guide to Scotland. This is not your average guide but instead gives you insider knowledge you would struggle to find anywhere else.
The guide also details adventure further afield. Users of Trakke share photos with the brand of their adventures around the globe.
By using these stories and creating tips for budding adventurers Trakke is creating content for their target audience.
Creating customer loyalty
“Life on the road can be tough … We want our bags to live as long as you do.”
Trakke recognises that when material can get damaged. Wear and tear happens.
They are happy to provide some tender loving care to products which need it free of charge.
This shows how committed Trakke are to not only their products but also their customers. It helps them build a relationship with them. It also helps them build their name as a loyal and trustworthy brand.
Trakke have at times ventured outside their normal production run of bags and accessories. Over the years they have been part of numerous exciting projects including working on a yurt, working with BMW and the boy scouts.
These projects do not become forgotten once complete. The team is sure to remember all of their projects, and thus their successes, in their ‘Project Archive‘ section of their website.
Here you can see the story of each project and some of the products.
This sections shows Trakke is proud of their past work and is versatile in what they do. Their nod to the past not only shows the stories of success but also how they are a brand that is always evolving.