Swift Industries is a two-person bicycle pannier company in Seattle, Washington. We design and hand-make bicycle panniers and accessories from the very first snip to the very last bolt. We love bicycles, relish adventure, and have deep admiration for high quality handcrafts. Swift Industries is the perfect project for us to fuse all three.
In 2008 Swift Industries was born. Fueled by a love for creating and building, and longing to participate in an economy founded in local handcraft, we embarked. Bicycle touring is a large part of our lives. We delight in the notion of self-propelled travel, and have spent months over the years taking to the open road. Before a tour around the Olympic Peninsula we started mulling over new bag designs, and within months found ourselves drafting and redrafting the first patterns. With our basement as our workshop and Cascadia as our playground, Swift Industries was born. We strive to make really amazing bags, keep things small, and grow ever so slowly. Ultimately, our company is imbued by the sensibilities of bicycle touring:
Trust that you’re capable of going the distance
Let the experience fuel your creativity
Have a plan, and plan not to stick with it
Enjoy your encounters with the people you meet along the way
Move steadily and with purpose
Heighten your sense of place
Find inspiration in the little things
Get lost every once in a while
Be aware of the impact that you make
We see our company as a celebration of culture and an ode to the bicycle itself. We gain endless inspiration from the people deliberately welding their own steel tubing, or hand fabricating headset badges; the kind who rise at 5:20am on a winter’s day to ride with friends, and those who make the open road their temporary homes.
Meet the Makers
Martina built up her first bike in 2003, and has been committed to bicycling ever since. A cycling tour down the California Coast introduced her to a completely new way to travel—one that pushed her physical boundaries, sparked her interest in the local communities she passed through, and tied perfectly to larger social and environmental questions she wrangled with. She has used bicycles for pleasure, education, transportation, and inspiration ever since.
Working for a local messenger bag company refined Martina’s designing and stitching abilities. She found herself combining two passions: sewing and bikes. It was a natural transition to begin a bicycle pannier company.
A jack-of-most-trades: when she’s not stitching your custom bicycle panniers, you can find Martina knitting at the brewery by her house, helping deliver babies, teaching in a local high school, and cycling the San Juan Islands with her students.
Jason ‘Goods’ has been working on and with bicycles for over 12 years. The outdoors is where he feels most at home: biking, hiking, and climbing. You need a knot tied or a bird identified? No problem. As a cyclist and educator Jason strives to blend environmental and social issues, looking at how human communities are tied to the larger ecosystem, and how we humans can live more compassionately with one another and the environment at large.
Jason is always interested in building things and learning. Years ago he began dabbling with an old sewing machine that belonged to his great grandma. Although he’s not the fastest stitcher in the West, he is always eager to make things that function well, last a long time, and that look sharp.
When Jason’s not looming over the “electric warrior” (sewing machine) you can probably find him mountain biking, teaching environmental sciences to Seattle’s kids or trying to figure out how to make leather shoes.
Ilana left NYC for Seattle in Sept of ’08. With a background in museum and gallery work, she was looking for a new career path and greener, more mountainous surroundings. Soon after moving she bought her first sewing machine, her first road bike, and had the good fortune to land in a house next door to the owners and founders of Swift Industries, Martina & Jason. After years of bonding with both machine and bicycle, and some introductory classes at the New York Fashion Academy in Ballard, she approached Swift for a job and was ecstatic to land one. Ilana also works bookkeeping at the Northwest Film Forum, and spends much of her free time watching and studying film, riding her bike, sewing things for her nieces and nephews, and generally enjoying the city she lives in and the company she keeps.