Empowering our people to be their best is a deeply held value at Alpkit. And we're enabling a training culture to create an environment where people can flourish.
Beth Pearce, Alpkit HR Manager, explains: “At Alpkit, we’re on a journey, and it’s vital that we invest in our people through offering training and development opportunities. We couldn’t believe in our team more and know that the success of Alpkit this year and that of future years depends on the training culture that we are so passionately embedding now; our sessions on work specific learning, leadership development and life skills are just the start of what we want to deliver and getting to witness amazing people develop alongside Alpkit is a privilege.”
Here we share just some of our career stories and people that make us who we are.
I joined Alpkit just over two and a half years ago as the UK Factory Manager, responsible for managing production and looking at ways to develop the factory and products.
My job evolved massively when the pandemic hit. Initially most staff were furloughed or working from home.
As one of the lucky ones still at HQ, I became more involved with operations, working with our managing director Nick. We wanted to make major changes to the Alpkit site - lockdown was the perfect time.
At the end of the first lockdown, I was made Operations Manager, with responsibility for the warehouse, all Alpkit and Sonder stock, the UK Factory, and every building at the Alpkit Campus.
I’m also now part of the Alpkit Training Group. I’m excited to be looking at ways we can develop Alpkit staff.
When I started, we were in four buildings across two sites. Now we’re in seven buildings across three sites! Alpkit has changed massively in two years – we’ve grown a lot. But we’re still signing every order by hand!
I started working at the age of 12. Paper rounds filled the early mornings before school and my weekends spent working in the local co op.
At college, I studied art and design, again filling the weekends with graft at an outdoor clothing retailer and my evenings training for the Cumbrian Tennis Championships.
Outdoor retail turned full time after moving to Keswick back in 2010.
Since then I have worked my way up the management sector, realising, this was my calling. To be able to work in awesome stores, in the beautiful countryside, have as much fun as I could before and after work hours and all on my doorstep!
This path led me to become manager at Alpkit Keswick, a fantastic company, who have looked after me and supported me in making the Keswick's store my own.
They allow me to connect my hobbies to my work through artwork and adventures, like plunging myself into cold water, cycling and bikepacking, vanlife adventures, running, walking, climbing, paddleboarding or just loving life with my best canine friend.
Don't sit still too long.....life will pass you by!
I’m an Accounts Apprentice and started in October 2017 as my first proper job. I started doing book-keeping, then moved onto looking after management accounts and assisting senior members of the team.
After two years I’m now training people on how to the job that I used to do when I first started!
Alpkit has paid for my formal training as well as what I’m doing on-the-job. I’m in college one day a week, training for my AAT qualification, which will be finished this year.
The next step for me is to get the CIMA qualification, which will take three years and mean that I’ll be a qualified accountant, which is amazing.
I love working at Alpkit, it’s relaxed, positive and everyone here is supportive.
It’s also been interesting to go on Adventure Training with the team, which totally took me out of my comfort zone!
Hiking up hills, mountain-biking and running along trails in the dark learning about headtorches is very different to reconciliations and posting prepayments and accruals.
Apparently the mountain biking was a beginners route but seriously, I could barely walk some bits, let alone ride them – great fun!
I joined Alpkit 4 years ago as financial controller and became the finance director last summer and what an exciting 4 years it has been.
In this time period we’ve more than doubled our top line orders, opened 4 stores, implemented new IT systems, grown our international sales and expanded our finance and HR teams. It’s been a busy few years!
I’ve had the opportunity to build and develop the finance and HR functions as the business has grown and work closely with the other departments within the company.
The range of what we do from online retailing, our physical stores, to our UK manufacturing base, annual Big Shakeout Festival, and our Alpkit Foundation charity mean there are a huge range of finance skills required for my role.
One of the challenges is the ability to work at a high level of granularity, whilst also being able to step back and see the bigger picture, in order to contribute effectively to strategic decision making. As well as the on-the-job experience, which has included being involved in raising finance to fund our growth and being part of our hugely successful Crowdcube investment fundraise, I’ve also benefitted from our leadership development programme and worked closely with the directors, founders and leadership team, all of whom I have learnt a lot from over the years.
Also as the mother of two young children, the flexibility and support I have been given has allowed me to progress in my career whilst ensuring I have a work life balance that is sustainable.
Being part of the Alpkit family over the last 4 years has been truly special to me.
We’re building a company that we can be extremely proud of, which stays true to it’s founding principles, and has our sustainability values embedded in everything that we do day to day.
I started with Alpkit just as the Hathersage store was opening in 2017.
Since then I went from working in-store, to with our Customer Support team, to taking on a new role as Retail Operations (with a side of Training Co-Ordination). Part of this role has meant going from taking part in our Adventure Training to organising it! Adventure Training is an opportunity for our team to get hands-on with different gear, whilst also learning from our Product Team about the technology and development which goes into creating it.
As someone who enjoys just getting outside and doing good things in nice places (but specifically fell-running; dog in tow) Alpkit has been a fantastic environment to spend time with like-minded people, and get introduced to new ways of adventuring.
I’ve been involved at Alpkit since 2005 as a competition climber where I met Col, Nick, Jim & Kenny climbing and demoing product.
I landed a sponsorship deal with two others and embarked on many adventures.
Alpkit's aim is simple: make great kit, at great prices backed by great service. The why of Alpkit is summarised perfectly by Go Nice Places, Do Good Things.
Fast forward a few years, I landed a job and was so happy to be working in such a creative environment with an awesome bunch of people. I loved customers and the variety of the job. I’d be packing in the warehouse, writing content for the website, doing bank recs, modelling for photoshoots and cleaning the loos! We were growing exponentially and I was soon managing the Customer Support team.
The training and opportunities at Alpkit have carved a career that I simply couldn’t have imagined back in 2013. Our management team regularly take days out to discuss our progress and our longer term strategy. These are some of my favourite days: I watch my colleagues and I can see their passion; their faces light up like children at Christmas.
Sure, we sell kit. But it is more than that. We want to enable, inspire and grow a community that loves and connects with the world’s wild places - that is going to be one heck of a journey, and I find that very exciting.
[End note: Ashleigh left us in 2020 to return to study thermogerulation in e-textiles. It is wonderful for her to pursue her academic goals and she leaves a legacy at Alpkit which will stay with us for years.]
I joined Alpkit in December 2014 just as it began its growth trajectory to lead a buying team of 1, me.
My personal experience can only really be described as an expedition with opportunities around every corner. Learning, learning, learning.
As the team has expanded, my 5+ year run at Alpkit has seen me move through functional and management roles; recently culminating in a position on the company’s newly formed operating board.
I’ve been able to achieve this because of the support and opportunities that have been available to me. The balance of hands-on hands-off has meant I’ve learnt from some of the most experienced peers and leaders in the outdoor industry, whilst also being afforded the space to make my own mark on Alpkit’s history.
I’ve been able to develop professionally off the back of a supported MBA, the lessons from which I’ve been able to bring back to the broader team helping me to reinforce the learnings and apply them practically in an entrepreneurial and creative environment.
[End Note: Jack left in 2021 and landed an awesome job at Amazon. It's great to see careers take off even if this means a move from our team.]