Mamnick is the road that starts in the valley of Hope and ascends to Mam Tor, deep in the splendor of Peak District. What does this mean for you, Thom?
The Mam Nick climb was one of the first places I rode to in the Peak when I got into the bike just under a decade ago. I was surprised to find such a beautiful and remote place only an hour away from Sheffield city centre. It’s still a place I like to go now either on the bike or on foot as the network of roads there means you can ride all-day without seeing many (if any cars). It felt important to build an authentic brand, so naming my brand after a real place was important. The Mamnick logo is two triangles of the hills either side of climb – Rushup Edge and Mam Tor.
Years ago you were the drummer for the Sheffield band, Heebie Jeebies, and you worked at the vintage Freshman store on Carver Street. How was your life from that moment and why did you create Mamnick?
I was looking to get away from the vintage scene, looking for a fresh creative challenge. The band was a lot of fun, especially going around Europe with two of my best friends, but as I got older I wanted to channel my energy and time into something more sustainable. Starting a brand seemed like a good way of putting my other creative interests into a project that I could potentially make a living from, as well as tying this in with my love for the bike. I have somehow managed to find the perfect work/life balance, where I am practically marketing my lifestyle of riding the walk, going on long walks and designing products.
Most of your products are made in your area of South Yorkshire, where your roots are. In what other places do you manufacture and what do you look for?
I try and find the best people to do the job first and foremost, I’ve been lucky to have found a lot of good people right on my doorstep. We do make a small collection every year in Japan, though and this is our Black Label. Everything is sold exclusively via our websites, Sheffield showroom and flagship store in Tokyo. This was we can keep total control over our prices and build a proper relationship with our customers, which is vitally important to me.
Many people when listens Mamnick apart from other products comes to mind your knifes, knives. In which, to be honest, we are inspired and also manufacture in Sheffield. I imagine that this love for steel comes from your grandfather Eric Barnett, who worked all his life with this metal. What influence does your grandfather have on Mamnick?
My grandad worked in the steel industry in Sheffield for over 45 years, man and boy. He’d tell us tales about work when he was alive and when he passed away, using the material that he spent years working around felt right to me. It’s a shame he’s not here now, I never really got a chance to show him the influence he’s had on the Mamnick brand and my life generally.
In 2014 you opened a store in Tokyo, why do you choose Japan to open a store and not another place in the world?
The Japanese market has always found the Mamnick story and the ‘Made in England’ tag desirable, ever since we released our first product in 2013 we’ve crafted a small place in the market over there. Opening a store seemed like the next step. The Japanese culture of striving for total excellence in everything you do is something I greatly admire and it’s nice to folk appreciate the Mamnick ethos of “doing one thing at a time, as beautiful as possible”.
Cycling and to what around it is a very important part of the brand, with different maillots and accessories for the cyclist. Where does this love for cycling come from?
I used to play a lot of football when i was younger but trying to get people together and organise games when you get older it more difficult. The bike looked cool and more-so, something you can do on your own or with a group. I got my self an old steel bike and just went with it. I was shown the ropes by some friends and then I joined a club, got fitter and learnt the etiquette of riding in a group. I know large parts of the Peak District like the back of my hand now, it’s one of the best places in the world to ride the bike.
One of my favourite clothes of your brand is the Edale smock, a garment with a clear military inspiration. What did you get inspired to create this garment?
It’s based on the rambling jackets / smocks of the 1950s rather than military to be honest. Our Pindale smock is based one on the WW2 smocks though. I just wanted to design and make a jacket that was the opposite of all the technical walking jackets, so I took reference to the early British made ones manufactured by the likes of Blacks and Belstaff, but made with more luxurious fabrics like Italian wool and cashmere.
Can you explain to our readers what the black label consists of?
The Mamick Black Label is the product we manufacture over in Japan, much of it is design with my friend Osamu Aizawa. Some of the more less-conservative items are sold exclusively over in Japan in our Flagship store too.
Your slogan says One thing at a time, as beautiful as possible. What does this mean for you?
It’s a buddhist proverb, and it’s the most eloquent expression of the idea of living life in the moment that I know of; the idea that one of the keys to happiness, fulfilment and enjoyment is to commit yourself to whatever you are doing without distraction.