search

Dereks, Customer Spotlight #7

Dereks, Customer Spotlight #7
30/03/2015

Katy Parks is proprietor of Dereks, a London based brand handcrafting stylish yet durable backpacks to accompany you on your adventures. A Dereks backpack is the perfect functional accessory; ideal for bike rides, walks and trips to the beach, it will hold all your necessary equipment whilst keeping it safe and dry. We met Katy last year during the Meet the Manufacture trade show down in London’s Old Truman Brewery and have valued her custom ever since. Since the show it has been a great pleasure to see Katy develop her brand and her collection of backpacks. Nine months later we caught up with Katy to learn more about Dereks Shop.

What were your reasons for starting Dereks? I wrote a list of all the things I enjoyed doing and near the top of the list were climbing mountains and sewing, the next logical step was to make something that could combine the two, hence hand making backpacks.

Where did you learn the skills to start your workshop? I have never had any formal training. I have watched people sew and made my own clothes and made better ones. Making a backpack is understanding how to go from a net shape to a 3D form and then how to manipulate that cuboid into a comfortable, practical object.

Who makes up the core of your customer base? This is what we are trying to work out. We have done no marketing and are relying on word of mouth at the moment so our customer base is primarily young Londoners with bikes.

How would you describe your style? Dereks is trying to challenge the idea that to be outdoors we need to have technical high spec equipment. We want to make backpacks that are elegant, functional and well made.

You have recently collaborated with East London Bicycle Company Kennedy City Bikes. What designs, if any, did you have to change in order to accommodate for the everyday cyclist? We added some reflective tape onto the bag so it could be bought on the cycle to work scheme but all the other changes were aesthetic, we wanted to make a bag that was half as good looking as the beautiful bikes that James builds.

What is your best seller? The all black Everyday Backpack.

What are your bags made from and how important are the quality of your materials? Increasingly where we source our materials and how we make the product are becoming key selling points and stand us out from other larger competitors. We use Halley Stevensons waxed cotton from Dundee, leather from East London and most of our hardware from you!

Over the past couple of years, there has been a real push for British manufacturing and British handmade products. It is quite clear that the Dereks brand carries a strong ethos for British made goods. How important is it for you to continue making your products here in the UK? We really believe in sourcing our materials as transparently as possible, it is hard for a small company with very little buying power. We will continue making our backpacks in the UK because we are a workshop that strongly believes in hand crafting bags. We are not trying to build a business that will scale up, instead, we are enjoying crafting a high quality and beautiful backpack.

What is the difference between a Dereks backpack and ones you can find on the high street? All our backpacks are built to last and not be disposable, to be functional and not be unnecessary, to look good and not be a fast trend. We fundamentally disagree with the fast disposable fashion that saturates our high streets.

What has been your biggest success so far? Every day I enjoy my job, my working hours are flexible and find running a business challenging.

Are you looking to develop any new ranges in the near future? We are working on a new range of colours and are looking to develop 2 new designs this year. We have just started offering a bespoke backpack service.

Where do you see Dereks in 5 years’ time? Very much the same but with a few more likeminded people, a few more bags being made and a few more bag sightings when I am cycling around London.

How did you hear about Abbey? I needed some brass buckles that were manufactured in the UK and Abbey appeared page one of google. I finally met some of the team at Meet the Manufacturer last May.

For more information on  Dereks, Customer Spotlight #7  talk to  Abbey England Ltd

Enquiry Form



More News

Equus Leather, Customer Spotlight #8

Equus Leather, Customer Spotlight #8

Equus Leather prides itself on keeping alive the traditions of the artisan craftsman. Run by husband and wife duo Charlie and Dawn Trevor, Equus Leath...

Read More
Why Cotton Tape is Great!

Why Cotton Tape is Great!

if you are looking to incorporate new and natural materials into your designs, why not try our heavy cotton webbing? Manufactured in the UK by Bowmer ...

Read More
Wedding bells are ringing for Abbey England!

Wedding bells are ringing for Abbey England!

For the first time ever, Abbey will be exhibiting at the Tatton Wedding Show this coming February. Abbey England's bespoke gifts are dedicated to mak...

Read More

Read More

Read More

List your business

Would you like to register your company on one of the UK's largest and most effective Trade websites?

Are you looking for a reliable and consistent source of enquiries from your industry sector? Would you like to see why Find the Needle clients come back year after year to use our service? If so then feel free to register using the link 'here'.

Register
Office Address: