This Camera Gear & Accessories Brand is Giving Back to the Planet and the People With a Holistic Business Model That Prioritizes Environmental Sustainability and Social Justice.
Peak Design has the start-up quality of going for it, doing it, and getting it done. No lame excuses, no dawdling, only results. Just raise multi-millions (over $30M to be exact) on Kickstarter multiple times, just make sure the business offsets its environmental impact and takes a stand on social justice issues, just keep designing and making the best accessories and gear for cameras and phones, but above all, just make sure that both customers and employees are happy with what it’s doing and how it’s doing it at the end of every day. This sums up the nature of Peak Design from start to finish, starting with founder Peter Dering quitting his construction job to launch his new idea for a “Capture Camera Clip” on Kickstarter and ending with a wildly successful range of products designed to help people carry their gear on their adventures with ease.
A Simple Approach to Design – Make What People Want
Peak Design’s is a fairy-tale story of the modern entrepreneur who has an idea, takes it to market, and ends up creating an empire built on a philosophy of making great things for great people while having fun doing it. The company could write a textbook on how, time and time again, it went to Kickstarter to fund its products directly from consumers who knew that what they were making would change their lives.
Despite the company’s rise to success, it retains an unparalleled transparency in everything it does, with an approach to listen and to serve. Peak Design is truly a company for the people built by the people.
It all started back in 2010 when company founder Peter Dering embarked on a trip around the world where he noticed something strange – carrying around his camera and gear to document his adventures was a nuisance. The existing bags and neck straps did not seem to have evolved with the dynamic needs of the traveling creative or outdoor adventurer, leaving photographers and amateur tourists wanting, and ultimately, with sore necks from their camera neck straps.
Confirming his own unsatisfactory experience with some informal surveying (asking people he saw along his trip), Dering quit his job and designed his first product – The Capture Camera Clip – a clip that hooks your camera to your strap or bag so that its ready to go when you’re ready to start snapping. Using Google Sketch to draw up the clip’s design, and Microsoft Movie Maker to film a basic informational video, Dering took his idea to Kickstarter in 2011 where he received overwhelming support in the amount of $350K in funding. Peak Design was born, and, true to their humble beginnings, they continue to design products intended to as they say “do the schlepping for you.”
Power to The People & The Environment
After taking off on Kickstarter, one might expect any other company to leverage its success to start doing and creating whatever it wants. Peak Design, on the other hand, continues to launch each of its product lines just as it did from the beginning – raising funds on Kickstarter (their latest fundraiser is an ingenious line of phone mount accessories).
The company has opted to follow a unique business model that builds on its ideas from the ground up, inviting their customers to participate in their design process, and ultimately making products that are pre-screened and pre-approved by real people. It’s this approach that also allows the company to channel its adventurous roots to take risks, innovate faster, and get right to the chase of designing fantastic user-friendly gear that prioritizes functionality. From their popular everyday bag line to the Travel Tripod, which raised a whopping $12 million via its 2019 Kickstarter, Peak Design’s products help you keep your gear organized, protected, and accessible wherever you’re out there commuting, adventuring, or creating.
The company, known for its design, has also designed a comprehensive socially and environmentally responsible approach to everything it does. Led first and foremost by a desire to make lives meaningful, especially for the people who work there, Peak Design has a holistic 6-fold mission. The company believes it is only successful if its able to succeed at the expense of nobody, treat their customers as peers, offset their environmental impact, use their voice to inspire positive change, and prioritize happiness over growth.
This model must be working because Peak Design seems like it’s always doing more. The company gives 1% of its profits to environmental causes, has offset its carbon emissions to zero, and is a certified member of the Outdoor Industry Association committed to reaching science-based targets to combat climate change. Their primary fabrics use 100% post-consumer recycled material, they’ve adopted bluesign® standards to improve their sustainable supply chain, and they’ve developed close working relationships with their manufacturers to ensure ethical labor practices.
The company also uses their platform to amplify other social and environmental champions. Its blog is a comprehensive source of information and inspiration that features photographers and filmmakers who are creatively advancing social and environmental responsibility narratives.
Just as Peak Design has created a unique community and camaraderie with its customers, the company is striving to build a community within the industry. By sharing its knowledge and resources, Peak Design hopes to educate and uplift other companies to incorporate values and processes similar to those it has created for itself as we all work to create a better world.
As Featured In
Peak Designs Every Day Backpack was featured in The Verge.
Where to Find
Peak Design has a Flagship store in San Francisco and can be found at many local camera shops and major tech accessories retailers.