Pete O'Donovan (49) of Sheffield, with his Catalan wife, Angels, have been designing, cutting and stitching outdoor equipment: rucksacks, chalkbags and recently bouldering mats since 1983, but now they want to get out climbing more and they have sold POD to Equip Outdoor Technologies (website) who own RAB, Outdoor Designs and other outdoor brands.
We asked Pete, why he went with Equip, as several outdoor companies in the UK have been interested in acquiring POD?
" I wanted a company that had a good grounding in sourcing and manufacturing overseas - where most outdoor stuff is now made. Equip have much experience in this field and have done great things with RAB and during our early negotiations I was very impressed by their commitment to maintaining quality."
Pete is staying on with POD at Equip as designer, consultant, adviser and overseer of quality control. He'd just inspected the first samples from the factory in China and said,
"I was impressed. There's no way I could match the stitch quality. Whereas we have six sewing machines, they have 30 or so, set up to make the perfect stitch for each feature on the product."
Neil McAdie, Sales and Marketing Manager at Equip was very happy when we talked to him yesterday.
"We've been courting POD for about two years. It fits in with Equip's vision to supply the outdoor community with the best UK technical mountain heritage brands: like RAB, POD is perfect for us, with the same ethos behind the brand. Our priority is to maintain Pete's current high quality whilst building the range."
Will we be seeing POD in Millets? No, as has always been, distribution will be limited to specialist stores able to support the niche technical positioning of the product range.
Pete and Angels will now have a bit more time to go climbing, huddled over a sewing machine for the last twenty years has got old and they're not getting any younger. Like Rab Carrington who sold RAB to Equip, they will have more time for climbing. Rab Carrington (59) has just climbed his first 8a at Malham Cove, New Age Traveler see this thread at UKClimbing.com. Time for Pete and Angels to do the same, although Pete has climbed 8a before. Pete will be also be spending more time on his photography. You may have seen his poster prints in some climbing shops and several climbing magazines like Desnival (this month's front cover) and the USA's Urban Climber magazine. You can see some of his excellent work at his UKClimbing.com photo gallery here.
I'm sure we all wish Pete and Angels, and Equip all the best for the future and look forward to the continuation of more great POD products, and Pete and Angels getting out climbing more.