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SNEWS Qs: Peter Dering Founder Peak Design

Peter Dering, founder of Peak Design, tells us what inspired him to create his line of camera carrying solutions for outdoor photographers in this week's SNEWS Qs.

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Peter Dering


Peak Design

Tell our readers about the history of your company:

Throughout my travels and outdoor adventures, I found myself continuously frustrated with the camera carrying options available. I wanted my SLR to be both accessible and secure by means of a minimalist piece of gear. Neither traditional straps nor camera bags allow for that. I designed the Capture Camera Clip and launched a Kickstarter campaign with just a prototype, hoping that there would be some interest in the concept. It turns out there were a lot of people with the same exact frustration, and with the success of that campaign, my company was born.

What inspired the designs of your products?

My products are driven by the goal to keep gear at a minimum, and functionality at a maximum. Camera gear doesn’t have to be complicated or bulky. I wanted to create something that was easy to use and highly versatile.

What makes your products different from others on the market?

First, it’s versatility. Capture works with the gear that you already own in that you can secure your camera to any belt or strap. The pro-quality plates we recently released extend Capture’s compatibility with a variety of tripod ball heads and camera sizes. Capture is now compatible with both Manfrotto RC2 and Arca tripod heads, and we have a plate for the smaller Micro 4:3 body. Second, it’s size. Capture is a small mechanism comprised of a clamp and a quick release plate. It can be left on your backpack for when you need it, and it doesn’t get in the way for the times you don’t.

Who is the target end user of your products?

Anyone who owns an SLR. It works particularly well for outdoor enthusiasts who are often handling other gear and need their hands free. For the same reason, it works for parents, studio photographers, tourists, and basically anyone who doesn’t want a camera swinging around their neck or tucked away in their bag. My team at Peak Design brings a lot of different perspectives to the table. We are a combination of photographers, urban cyclists, designers, mountaineers, and parents. We have the needs of a variety of SLR users in mind.

What is the most unique feature of your products?

Again, the versatility. With Capture your camera can clip onto your belt while you walk about town; onto your backpack strap when you go on a hike, and straight onto your tripod.

What were some of the challenges in getting your business up and running and how did you overcome them?

Kickstarter made it easy for me to get my business up and running. Right off the bat it gave me access to a community that is actively looking for innovative products and solutions. Since introducing the Capture Camera Clip, everything we do at Peak Design is based on customer feedback. Our customers are smart people and they know what they need — we want to give them that.

What is the best piece of business advice you’ve received?

Collaborate. The entrepreneurial spirit in the Bay Area is all about the sharing of ideas. I’ve had access to many great innovators and I’m grateful for their dialogue and advice. I also feel lucky to have put out a product that gives me such incredible customers to collaborate with. Last month alone Capture was used on Mt. Fuji, on a 190 mile mountain bike ride in Utah, at a street festival in Spain, on a dune buggy in Dubai, and on a glacial trek in the Karakoram mountains in Pakistan. These are the folks that I design for, how cool is that?

Who do you look up to in the industry (could be either a person or company) and why?

I’m a big fan of Mark Dwight, CEO and founder of Rickshaw Bagworks. They manufacture messenger, commuter, laptop and iPad bags. Mark is committed to environmentally conscious design, he is fully engaged in our local community, and his product looks and feels good. Mark is also the founder of SFMade, an association for local manufacturers, and he’s a passionate philanthropist. Best of all he’s approachable and makes himself available to talk with new business owners like me.

Who do you want to compete against in the industry?

There are many great products that offer solutions to carrying an SLR; each one goes about it in a slightly different way and each has their following. I don’t focus on competitors because I’m consumed with how to make our product better based on the experiences of our customers.

What is the biggest challenge facing the outdoor industry and how can we overcome it?

Bells and whistles. I think a lot of gear has unnecessary add-ons that serves more for aesthetic than function. I find that this confuses consumers, wastes materials, and creates a perception of need that isn’t necessary. If every company starts with a baseline assumption that their customers were smart, maybe we can overcome it.

–Compiled by Ana Trujillo