We're incredibly proud of the products we make right here in Nottingham. We’re always chuffed to bits when we see the fabric go into the factory and the finished products come out. Our team of expert makers scrutinise over design detail, prototype, test and create products to the highest standards.
The Alpkit factory’s home to a group of incredibly skilled, highly passionate individuals that make our dreams come true. Here’s a snippet of our wonderful team and what they do.
Emma’s our Factory Manager, who’s just come back to work on Monday after a weekend wassail (if you’re wondering what that it is, don’t worry! So were we. It’s an ancient pagan ritual where you bless cider trees, although Emma promises us it’s not as bohemian as it sounds).
What is the factory working on at the moment? We’re updating our range of Koala saddle bags. We’re bringing out two new products – 0.5L and 2L options, as well as modifying and upgrading our pre-existing 7L and 13L bags. We’re producing bouldering mats and our UK Product Developer Gemma is developing a new range of wax packs to streamline our factory efficiency.
What’s your favourite thing to make? When I was a machinist, my favourite thing to make was a stem cell hood. It’s just so satisfying – it looks like a snake! But my favourite thing about my role as Factory Manager is developing products and seeing them from made from start to finish.
How did you get into this role? I used to work in the theatre industry as a wardrobe supervisor. But then Covid came along and all my contracts got cancelled. I found a part-time job as a sewing machinist at Alpkit. Not long later, a job came along for a Factory Manager and I went for it! It’s a great way to mix my two worlds.
Lily’s been at Alpkit five years. She’s our factory supervisor, and she works on our range of custom gear.
What are you working on now? I’m doing custom Stingray frame bags They take a bit longer than our other stuff but they’re way more interesting. Every customer wants something slightly different – so you really have to change how you think for every product. We’ve seen all sorts of requests come in!
What’s your favourite thing to make? I love making the Fuel Pod because I don’t even have to think about it. I can just go. You’ve got a lot more going on when you’re making something like the backpacks.
How did you get into this role?
I’ve been here five years now! I started off doing a fashion degree in Northampton. I graduated into an office job which didn’t suit me but starting here back in 2018 suited my background much better.
Sarah’s one of our cutters. The cutters are the first step in getting our UK-made products to the shelves. She loves running, and riding on the bike Santa got her this Christmas.
What’s your role? As the cutter, I lie the fabric out and lay the patterns over it. I use a circular knife to cut it out. Once I’ve done a certain product a few times, I can draw myself a plan in my notebook to make it easier the next time. It’s all about efficiency.
What are you working on at the moment? Possum 52s.
What’s your favourite thing to make? I think some of the faffiest things to cut are also the most interesting! Like the Big Papa Harness. It’s an intricate shape so it’s hard to do, but once you’re finished it’s so satisfying to look at all the little curves. It’s definitely one of the trickiest ones to sew for the machinists. Our bouldering mats are fun in their own way, as they’re just big rectangles!
How did you get into this role? I’ve been here nearly two years now. I had years of experience working in bridalwear, but during lockdown that work dried up. Afterwards, I found somewhere local to work that was right on my doorstep.