I first met Jeremy Holmstead atop Mary’s Nipple, a hikeable area at Grand Targhee Resort, in Alta, WY, where we were both employed by the mountain. As I was huffing and puffing to the top, he was taking off, charging down the steep, lightly wooded powder field. He was introduced to me as a “nasty skier” who had an unfortunate incident and fractured his femur the year before (he kept a copy of the X-ray on his fridge, I later discovered. Needless to say, it was gruesome). He outdid his reputation – as the Terrain Park Supervisor at Targhee he was a staple throwing huge tricks off of our tiny features, making chairlift rides a lot more enjoyable. As the winter went on, stylish retro roll-top bags started popping up among a lot of the staff and their kids. These Anicca bags, I learned separately, were the product of Jeremy’s significant sewing talent. Not only is he an impressive skier (and snowboarder), but his custom bags are unique, retro, durable, and very well made. Best of all, you are using the highest quality materials and they are made in the USA! We took some time to ask Jeremy about his expanding company. You can purchase his two most popular designs, the Roll-Top and the Classic on our website. You can also find them at www.aniccabags.com.
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RailRiders: How did you get into hiking, skiing, snowboarding, and the outdoors?
Jeremy Holmstead: Growning up in Idaho, my parents spent a lot of time with us in the outdoors. Wether it be camping, sking or walking around the Sawtooths, I grew up with a great appreciation for being outside and in motion.
RR: Did that lead you to discovering your love for backpack construction? When did you first start making bags and how did you get into it?
JH: Not necessarily. I had an intense ski accident several years ago where I compound fractured my femur. While all my friends were skiing I found myself bored at home, so I tried to be creative with my time. My Grandmother gave me a sewing machine and I made a backpack with the materials I had on hand. I enjoy making things with my hands and found myself buying better matierials and teaching myself how to sew. It started out as a hobbie and now has turned into a growing business.
RR: What do you like about sewing your own bags? What is your goal for every product?
JH: There are many things I enjoy while making a bag. I like the idea that you can manipulate and fold a flat piece of fabric into a usable shape which helps you carry items for your day to day needs. I also enjoy the problem solving aspect of making a bag. I find there is something to be learned with every bag I make. My goal would be that I hope folks can use their Anicca Bag with the sense it was made by a friend specifically for them. I want people to feel great on the appearance and the performance of their bag.
RR: What materials do you use and how did you choose them?
JH: I mainly used 1000D Cordura and 18 oz Vinyl. Cordura is great because it is tough against the elements and has a polyurathane coating to repell water. I also use Genuine Pendleton Wool and other lighter nylon fabrics depending on the application.
RR: Do you do everything yourself? How many people do you have helping you?
JH: From start to finish each bag is all made from scratch. It has mainly been myself fabricating everything but I do have some friends who help me out from time to time.
RR: How long does it take to make a bag. Can you share some of the process?
JH: Depending on the bag it usually takes about a day for me to make one. Larger bags, such as the Roll Top, take me about 10 hours to make while smaller bags, such as a purse, only take a couple of hours. When constructing a new custom bag it takes significantly longer. At first the process of making a bag seemed daunting. But if you can separate a bag with a front, side and back panels (depending on the bag) you can understand how a bag is made.
RR: Can you tell us about how Anicca Bags started and the journey you have come on so far?
JH: After I had the ski accident and started making bags as a hobby, more and more friends were interested in buying bags. I quickly saw an opportunity in sewing. It was slow in the beginning because I had to learn a new skill. I had sewed a few things prior but nothing on this scale. It wasn’t until a few years later until I had learned enough about sewing and felt a desire to start my own business that Anicca was born. Anicca (Ah-Knee-Cha) is a word I learned at a meditation retret, which means always changing. It coincides with the way I want the company and it’s products to constantly grow and change. I am very excited to see the new products and collaborations Anicca Bags with have in the near future.
RR: How did you end up settling in Teton Valley? What do you like about the area?
JH: My wife Marinna and I moved here in the winter of 2011 with some friends in search of snow! We came from Mt. Hood and wanted to try something new. We usually split our seasons, spending the winters in Driggs and Summers in Portland Oregon but we are excited to spend the summer here in Driggs to see what it has to offer. Teton Valley is very fitting with our lifestyle with all the outdoor recreations available year round.
RR: Has making bags become a full time job yet?
JH: Indeed! It has been an interesting road for me not only learning how to sew but the business side of things. I never wanted to be a business man, just want to do my craft and live my life in the outdoors. I am excited for the day when I am able to pay someone else to do the business end of things and you’ll probably find me in the shop happily sewing.
RR: What do you view as the future for Anicca Bags?
JH: I am excited to do collaborations with other artists and people who share the same interests as we do. To bring awareness to people that we are all connected and always changing from moment to moment.