...is the innovative founder of Viska, a Minneapolis-based company that makes backpacks and accessories. With care and respect for time-tested and durable design, Ashley also values innovation and creativity, and looks for practical ways to make a mark on each item she produces. Ashley has over six years experience working with textiles, and has designed and produced purses, coats, backpacks and many other items. She has a passion for adapting functional, clean designs to suit a new era of young adventurers. Her inspiration to make backpacks comes from many bike rides and evenings of wandering.
How has living in Minnesota impacted your work?
Minneapolis has an incredible community that revolves around commuting by bicycle. Having a pack that is versatile in all kinds of weather is a must-have for people here. We live in a state that has over 60 state parks. It's key to have a comfortable, reliable pack for hikes and camping.
What do you hope your products add to the ‘Made in MN’ community?
We hope to continue the tradition of simple, well made goods that Minnesota is known for.
Why do you shop local?
We think it's important to put a face to who grows your food and makes your things. There is value in creating a relationship with your community, and we like to be intentional about where our money is going.
Talk about the fulfillment that comes from being a maker.
The most fulfilling part about being a maker is building something that is time-tested, something that will be going strong 100+ years from now. Knowing that I am choosing materials that will withstand hard use and weather. The detail of design and construct
ion is my favorite part of the process. I get a kick out of talking with people about experiences they've had with their packs and how they use them.
What has this path given you?
Freedom, versatility. Challenges help build my character, encouraging me to try new things and ask questions. This path has given me a drive to study and learn more about something than I ever thought I'd know. I have become more in tune with my community and met some really great people.