Traveling Smart with Will Ford
As a seasoned traveler and digital nomad, Will Ford has had lots of experience with what works - and what doesn’t - while I’ll on the go. One observed pain point: the luggage used when traveling.
With a foundation of practicality and a promotion of minimalist living, Will created Arcido, a travel backpack that helps keep you efficient on the move. We were able to chat with Will and learned about his passion for travel, what’s next for his company, and his love for Cher.
So, let’s jump in. What motivated you to tackle the travel backpack?
A trip to Croatia with my sister converted me to travel backpacks. Even if you’re staying in nice hotels, having your hands free to navigate ferries, cobbled town squares and pebble beaches is a whole lot easier with something on your back. The challenge was to create really practical gear that people loved the look of. We also felt like a lot of backpacks weren’t designed to alleviate the anxiety you feel when you go through airport security. So, our products are a response to that, by making you feel more confident in knowing exactly where your stuff is.
As a co-founder, what has been one of your biggest lessons on your company’s journey?
The biggest lesson was to learn to delegate. I have to trust that other people are better at some things than I am; and so I let them do their thing and try not to intervene, even if I think it’s not always the right decision. For our first Kickstarter, we worked with an amazing videographer and the experience of that made me think that I will always aspire to work with really good people.
Did you always consider yourself entrepreneurial?
I’m afraid I was the kid in the playground selling you sweets at vastly inflated prices. The only ‘proper’ job I had was a summer as a barman, and at that time I had to dash out on my lunch break to the post office to send the stuff I’d sold on eBay. South London where I grew up has a reputation for wheeler-dealer types and I think my parents thought I was destined to become one of those!
Which is your favorite backpack you like traveling with?
I recently started traveling with Saxon, which is our smallest travel. Although it forces me to pack very light, the freedom is worth the sacrifice; I can take it absolutely everywhere! I've managed to cut down the volume of clothes to the point where all of my stuff fits in this one small pack.
What’s next for Arcido?
We’re working on a 28L backpack which is aimed at minimalist travelers. I’ve rarely thought to myself “I wish I’d brought more with me” - usually the reverse is true. Travelling with less is part of the Arcido philosophy, so we try to create products to enable that. We’re also continuing to use customer feedback to tweak our existing designs - talking to more customers is another thing we want to do more of in 2019!
Do you travel and work? What’s your best advice for someone starting out as a digital nomad?
Yes, indeed - I was travelling for 8 months last year in total. Starting out? I think creating structure in the day can be difficult, especially when you face the additional challenges of wanting to move around a lot. I’m still not great at creating structure for myself and end up doing spreadsheets on the floors of Indian railway stations. If you can find a good co-working space, that’s a good way to create structure in your day, and avoid loneliness. Of course I’m also going to recommend buying an Arcido bag ;-)
What’s been your favorite place to travel?
Recently Tibet was a fascinating place to visit; driving through the vast Tibetan plateau at 4500m above sea level is pretty incredible. Trying to determine the relationship between China and Tibet, how it’s controlled and what freedoms are afforded there are all interesting questions.
So….Cher? We saw on your Press page that you’re a fan and wanted to ask. (P.S. we were really excited she was in Mamma Mia 2.)
It’s hard to Believe anyone wouldn't be a Cher fan. I’d love to have seen her perform in the 1970s with Sonny; if only I could turn back time!