With the year we’ve all had, it’s fair to say that the nation’s mental health is at a real low. Even at the best of times, of course, the early nights of winter makes it a challenging time for many. Combine that with the lockdown, brought on by a global pandemic, and there’s nothing surprising about this downturn in mood across the population.
Hey Oscar… tell us about how Bear came about?
Although we now cater to a more general outdoors market, when the idea for Bear first started to form back in 2018 we were more focused on fly fishing. It all started shortly after I met my wife and co-founder of Bear, Nell. We both love the outdoors and nature.
I have a background in competitive in fly fishing, and Nell is a veterinarian who has worked on conservation projects around the world. However, at that point in time were focused on trying to increase participation in fly fishing.
We came up with this idea for a small fishing bag that would just take the bare essentials. The idea being that it would help us promote the more simple, and adventurous side of fly fishing that we enjoy, and also allow us to get some funds together to run workshops to introduce people to the sport.
“Without her, Bear probably wouldn’t exist”
We taught ourselves to sew, very badly, and started making prototypes. Fortunately, it didn’t take us too long to find our master bag maker Amy. She took our prototypes and made them into something that looked great and worked really well. Without her, Bear probably wouldn’t exist.
We didn’t want to add more to the throwaway culture, didn’t have the money to place large orders with bag factories in the UK, and we didn’t want to make them anywhere else. We were super lucky to find her!
Another important thing to know is we both suffer from mental health difficulties. Whilst we were starting Bear, I was actually having a particularly hard time. I was having a bit of a breakdown really.
“We both found that being in nature… is extremely good for our mental wellbeing”
We both found that being in nature, with purpose, is extremely good for our mental wellbeing. So we decided that this was something we wanted to incorporate into our mission with Bear and share it with others. We finally launched Bear to the world in February 2019.
Very long story sort of short, it didn’t take us long to realise that there wasn’t just a lack of participation and inclusivity in fly fishing, but more generally a lack of access to the outdoors. So we changed tack, and started making bags for people who love the outdoors, and can use our resources to help people access nature.