An Inspired by the Peak District Case Study

Peak UK began life back in 1990 when Pete Astles, a keen kayaker and up and coming slalom racer, moved to Nottingham to be near the National Water Sports Centre.

During his time in Nottingham, Pete worked in a shop selling kayaking gear however what was available at that time was generally of low quality, badly designed and badly fitting.

A period off work due to illness provided Pete with the opportunity to think about how to design and make better clothing and life jackets so he learnt how to use a sewing machine, developed a prototype jacket and PFD (personal floatation device) and so began Peak UK.

Peak UK

Now, 25 years later, Peak UK is one of the world’s leading brands of kayaking gear. In 1995, the business moved to Cromford Mill where it continued to flourish until moving to a purpose built unit near the River Derwent at Darley Bridge, near Matlock.

The company now designs and manufactures over 60,000 garments per year with function and quality in mind and are proud to have been able to pioneer their production of custom kayaking gear for the 2012 Olympic team.

Peak UK are the only company in the world that uses a sublimation print process onto waterproof fabric. This is where the design doesn’t sit on top of the fabric, but rather the ink dyes the yarn so that the image will not run or fade with time.

Pete was introduced to the ‘Inspired by the Peak District’ brand through Jim Harrison, the Chair of Business Peak District and owner of Thornbridge Brewery; as Pete says, he was originally ‘inspired by Thornbridge beer’.

Peak UK

“I chose to live and base my business in the Peak District because of it’s great countryside for an outdoor and healthy lifestyle. Also, it’s central position and close links to major road systems and cities make it a great place for a global brand business such as Peak UK. The Peak District is the perfect business / outdoor lifestyle location. I love it!”

He saw the potential and benefit of using the brand to show his association with the area and other, like minded Peak District businesses.

The business is using the ‘Inspired by the Peak District’ logo on their 2016 catalogue and has added it as a hyperlink to the homepage of their website.

They have also added it to their International Trade Show Stand which is taken all over the world. Vinyls will soon be added to the windows at their premises at Darley Bridge and also their vehicles.