Peak Design & Propel: Better Products through Cloud Collaboration

By Miguel Tam

One of my favorite Propel customers is Peak Design, a travel gear and backpack manufacturer based in San Francisco. There are two reasons why I love Peak. First, they’re just a few blocks away from Hard Knox Cafe, which makes an amazing chicken and waffle dish. The second – and most important – reason is Krista Hunter, head of Engineering Operations at Peak Design and enthusiastic fan of Propel.

While Peak Design is pretty awesome, what sets them apart is how they design and make their products. I had the privilege of interviewing Krista, and how they engage with their customers and suppliers is pretty awesome. You can check out the webinar recording below:


Peak Design Webinar Highlights

  • Peak Design is a great Kickstarter success story. They’ve launched 6 projects solely through the Kickstarter platform, raising over $15M in crowdfunding.
  • Kickstarter is Peak’s primary way of engaging with customers – not only for buying products – but also for capturing product feedback. This whole model of directly engaging customers is something we’re seeing more and more at Propel – not just for B2C companies like Peak Design, but also for B2B companies as well. You can read a similar case study with another Propel customer called AMS Technologies.
  • Propel is Peak Design’s latest cloud app that they’ve embraced. They used to have all their product information scattered in Google Drives, employee laptops and network drives. Now it’s all in Propel, so everyone has one source of the truth. Because she used another cloud Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solution at a previous company, Krista realized that she needed something way more modern and easier to use. Her previous PLM solution (rhymes with “Serena”) had been around for years, so people were familiar with it. But it was very cumbersome, difficult to configure, and took a lot of effort and clicks to do anything.
  • There are three things Krista really likes about Propel. First, Propel is visually appealing and super simple to use. Two, importing documents is a dramatic improvement from her last experience with cloud PLM. And finally, the Propel implementation and support team were great to work with.
  • Besides getting engineers all on the same page, Peak Design also set up a custom solution for their suppliers to track their tooling runs. Since their products are made of a variety of plastic, fabric and metal parts, Peak needed an easier way to determine the different lifetimes of their tools. Thanks to Propel, suppliers can just log in and update the data themselves – and then everyone on Peak can see what’s going on.

If you want to find out more about Propel and Peak Design, check out the webinar recording or see their story on

Tags: Cloud Computing, Manufacturing, peak design, PLM, Blog, Engineering, Startup