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Graduates plan expansion

Travel bag carries crowdfund support

In the bag: Felix Kenchington and William Ford (photo by Terry Murden)

In the bag: Felix Kenchington and William Ford (photo by Terry Murden)

Money for bag enterprise raised within hours

Two graduates, who have developed a bag for those who travel light, have raised more than four times their initial target in a crowdfunding campaign.

William Ford and Felix Kenchington hit the £6,000 they hoped to raise in just three hours and they are close to hitting £28,000 seven days ahead of its close.

Both graduates of Edinburgh University they were pursuing bag projects independently and decided to work together to design a product aimed at travellers who want to avoid luggage check-in.

The result is a backpack made from a traditional cotton canvas that’s lined with PVC to make it waterproof. It can also be hand-carried.

The pair admitted that they could not find anyone to manufacture it in the UK at a competitive price so it is made in Guangzhou in China where they spent several months developing it.

William is part of a recent intake at Entrepreneurial Spark, the business accelerator based at Gogarburn. After developing a similar business making soft cases and bags, he sold it last year and used the proceeds to set up Arcido in Leith.

They have sold 600 online so far and will use the money, raised on the Kickstarter platform, to expand distribution, particularly in the US where many of their backers are based.

William said: “Within minutes of launching, we had people pledging towards the campaign and it wasn’t long before we’d hit the goal. Exceeding it has only strengthened our belief in the product and concept, and makes the last six months of work worthwhile. Kickstarter has turned out to be a really good way to validate our idea.”

“Going through the ESpark programme helped me to focus on what I was doing wrong with my business, and gave me the confidence to start again from scratch. I’ve learned to be a better delegator, as well as tap into a lot of business resources in Edinburgh,” he said.

Aside from the crowdfund money, they also received a Scottish Enterprise ByDesign grant that was put towards making a promotional video and some product design costs.

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