Dynamic duo: The trailblazers bringing handcrafted hemp backpacks to the world


Co-founders Mickey Pascoe and Andy Sutton teamed up two years ago to bring Mountain Yak to life – sharing their hemp backpacks and bags at markets and festivals. They work tirelessly with communities in Nepal to cultivate strong relationships; founded on trust, mutual respect and understanding. Mickey and Andy are driven by the change they can facilitate by working with these communities to create opportunities that both sustain and help them grow.

Together they share their story of adventure, sustainability and business:

#1. It’s about serendipity…

We met at the popular West End markets in Brisbane. After some good conversations over coffee, we realised that individual beliefs and values regarding social justice, environmental, ethical, and sustainable business aligned.

#2. It’s about being sustainable…

Mountain Yak was built with a vision to bring the highest quality, sustainably sourced, socially responsible, handcrafted hemp backpacks to the world – designed for versatility, crafted by master tailors, sourced from nature.

We are driven by the positive change we believe we can facilitate by working with community collectives to create opportunities that both sustain and help them grow.

Hemp has been featured regularly in the media in recent years, particularly with regards to its unique versatility as a natural fibre; food, textiles, building, fuel source etc. As a result, we felt that the resurgence in the use of industrial hemp warranted consideration regarding its viability as textile in the fashion and accessory world. After some initial investigations we identified a potential market in backpacks existed and had yet to be filled. From previous travel experiences we had the connections in Nepal and knew that our venture should include and benefit their communities.

#3. It’s about outlandish ideas…

It could be said that the exact moment we decided to create Mountain Yak came about in the same way that most of our ideas have come into being – over a coffee, some quality banter and joking around until the realisation hits that what might be an outlandish idea may hold some merit! We both have a good sense of humour, are motivated and resilient. Neither of us “fit the mold” so to speak and were excited to utilise our individual talents to create our own pathway.

mountain-yak-trailblazers#4. it’s about the cause…

Our varied life experiences have shaped our shared Worldview. We are passionate about social justice, fair and ethical trade, equity, environmental sustainability and education. We want to enrich, and empower both individuals and communities alike
.  As a result, we work tirelessly with communities in Nepal to cultivate strong relationships; founded on trust, mutual respect and understanding.

#5. It’s about the journey…

Since working together with the Nepalese collectives we have witnessed first hand the positive impact our collaboration and partnership has had in the communities. It is extremely rewarding for us to have built a business from the ground up, and more importantly, for that business to challenge the prevailing business narrative/culture of profit before people.

#6. It’s about friendship…

We are naturally positive and self motivated individuals. We put our friendship ahead of business and by doing so empower ourselves to get through tough or challenging times.

#7. It’s about meeting each other half way…

Coming from different working backgrounds we both bring individual skills that complement each other with running Mountain Yak. Both have built the business from the ground up so understand all of the procedures and day to day operations of the company. Specific skills include Mickey with graphic and website design, Andy with communications, networking, and written content.

#8. It’s about challenging yourself…

Mountain Yak has provided us with a vehicle that both cultivates and nurtures our ideas and creative process, and has afforded us the opportunity to challenge ourselves to grow and evolve. Building a business from the ground up has taught us a great deal – both about business and ourselves. The responsibility, and accountability that comes with business, gives rise to a real sense of ownership and makes the process far more meaningful.

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