Alistair Craft is finally pursuing his dream. Although he’s worked as marketing director for Arnette and Reef, and spent a number of years as O’Neill’s international sales VP, he wanted to launch a backpack company. Earlier this year he took the plunge with the launch of AllyContainmentCo. “The idea for a backpack company has been lingering in the back of my mind for more than seven years, but now I’ve had the opportunity to find the financing for it.”
Joining Craft is a roster of well-known industry vets, including former skate pro Doug Smith, skate-team manager Aaron Astorga, and snowboard-team manager Tina Basich. The newest addition is Cec Annett, former product manager of Airwalk and VP of sales and marketing at Generator. “He really rounds out the experience and skills of the company,” says Craft of Annett.
Surf-team members include Pat O’Connell, Mike Parsons, Brad Gerlach, Jesse Merle-Jones, Jeremy Scribner, Bud Fritas, and Shawn Barron.
Ally’s initial product launch will include two backpacks, The Stealth and The Locker. “We wanted to make it nice and easy — easy for the reps to sell and easy for the stores to test us out,” says Craft. “We want to prove to our accounts that we respect their needs, that we ship on time, and that we’re a good company to deal with.”
Although the backpack market has many new companies vying for shelf space, Craft says there’s still room for Ally: “The category is growing on many different levels. A lot of retailers just figured out that backpacks are a good moneymaker, and they’re starting to commit more space and energy towards them.”
Plus, Craft says Ally is bringing something new to the market. “We’re building our packs around what we’re calling Stealth Technology,” he says. “Functionality is key. You’ll see backpacks designed specifically for what kids are doing today. We’ll have the same functionality as all the super-teched-out backpacks out on the market, but put together in a more discreet, stylish way.”