IVINS — A backpack brand that represents the power of both Earth and the human body has risen in Southern Utah. And it’s packing a punch.
Jaxon Graham, 20, is the owner of Terrasoma Life, a company he started as a project while taking an entrepreneurship class at Utah Tech University.
“It’s been six months-ish, so it’s still fairly new,” Graham said. “I have a background in customizing clothes, so I like to do fashion-type stuff. I’m still learning the business side, but it’s going to get there because I know I can get there.”
During the class project, he created the business LLC, made a Shopify account, built a website and created business social media profiles. The original backpack designs came from his girlfriend’s father Jonathan Pocock, who ended up putting the idea on a shelf and moving on to other projects.
As for the name, Pocock said Terrasoma is loosely translated as “earth-body.” He grew up backpacking in the Sierra Nevadas as well as Utah, Nevada and Arizona and led horse and mule trains throughout Sequoia National Park for five years. He went on to work for Gregory Mountain Products, where he met a woman who completed lifetime repairs on the company’s backpacks. She taught him how to use heavier materials, and he was hooked.
“I found my niche in canvas,” Pocock said. “My inspiration was drawn from old canvas bags in army surplus stores, on treks throughout Europe and Africa. I honed my offering into a couple of different backpack styles and over-the-shoulder pouches.”
He rented a small room above a drug store in Southern California, put a few sheets of plywood on some sawhorses and went to work sewing his bags. Selling them at the Pomona Swap Meet and other local markets, he realized he had a lot to learn about running a business and decided to attend Pepperdine University.
Shortly after graduation, he married and moved to Utah, where he put his backpack business to the side.
“This takes us back to the name – Terrasoma – earth-body,” Pocock said. “We are all a part of this earth. As bodies on this earth, we can choose selfishness, contention, hatred and destruction, or we can choose to help each other where we can, seek sustainability to preserve and grow this earth, to be influences of progress.”
Pocock said he’s passed along his knowledge and experience to Graham, who exudes positivity and excitement. Graham is now the sole owner of Terrasoma Life and said he’s preparing brand-new backpack designs that will soon go to manufacturing. He plans to reach out to St. George business owners and national park gift shops in hopes of getting his new products on local shelves.
“I’m taking what we already have to deconstruct and reconstruct it with new add-ons,” Graham said. “Now I’m just trying to get enough traction to start manufacturing on a larger scale.”
The backpacks are made from cotton canvas, which Graham said is a durable, water-resistant and eco-friendly material, unlike nylon, which is commonly used to make backpacks and emits nitrous oxide into the environment. Paying attention to long-term use, specific parts of the backpack that typically take the most wear over time have extra reinforced stitching.
“These backpacks are built to last,” Graham said. “Like a backpack for life, almost.”
The ropes on the backpacks tie up different sections, and he said they can also be used for many outdoor purposes such as assistance in making makeshift shelters. Outside the new backpack designs, he also plans to create a Terrsoma line of clothing that will focus on positive, uplifting messages.
“Not only are these for your body — fitting your body, taking you outdoors and working out – but it’s also for the earth, and that’s where the material comes in, being environmentally friendly. So good for the body and good for the earth.”
Graham said he’s been making his own clothes since middle school and hopes to fulfill his dream of being a professional clothing designer with a separate grunge clothing line that matches his own personal style.
“I’ve always just had a unique style,” he said. “And I like to express myself differently. And one thing I realized is that if I make it, no one’s going to have it, and I really like that aspect of it.”
He loves spending time outdoors with his girlfriend and two dogs and hopes to have the businesses support their adventurous travels. He’s excited to see where the business goes and is thankful for the opportunity to use his own creativity to build something for himself.
“Regardless of the success of the venture, I have benefited from Jaxon’s enthusiasm and my life has grown a little bit more because of him,” Pocock said.
For more information on Terrasoma Life and to purchase available backpacks, visit their website or find @terrasoma.life on Instagram.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2023, all rights reserved.