"— the Best Brand of All"
N w — the Best e Brand of All By Garrett Lai The most valuable part of attending The Travel Goods Show is the connections you’ll make, especially those first-time connections with new vendors. The most precious thing at The Show is time — you can’t possibly see it all, every- thing and everyone. It helps to pick out what you want to see and who you want to meet beforehand, so you can make the most of your time there. So, before you hit the floor, here’s our low-down on many of this year’s new exhibitors — the new names and faces you’ll meet on the show floor — so you can figure out who’s the best fit for your business and make time for them. BedVoyage foot of the bed makes bed-making so comes with a built-in media promotion- DIRTY SHEETS. WE’VE ALL SEEN simple,” Stuart explained, “and the al machine that will see her brand fea- them in our travels. Sharon Stuart invisible zippered pillowcases allow you tured on global TV, radio and a six-part decided to do something about them to ‘zip out’ any odors or bacteria on PBS television series on voluntourism. with the launch of BedVoyage (pro- hotel pillows.” Newell got started in the travel nounced like bon voyage). “We’ve seen travel sheets that resem- industry 17 years ago when she took her In a nutshell, BedVoyage bed sheets ble cocoons or sleeping bag liners, but love of travel and launched an agency, consist of a bamboo-fiber fitted sheet they’re more cumbersome to get in and Travel Best Bets. It’s a successful leisure out of, they’re not as roomy, breathable travel agency, but what’s really helped BedVoyage’s or anti-bacterial as our bamboo travel set it apart is her promotional mindset. bamboo-fiber sheets.” She started with media outreach her bed linens aren’t first year in business, and it turns out just a sensible she’s quite telegenic — she’s been fea- travel item – they’re Claire Newell Enterprises tured on the “Today Show” with Matt a luxury item people CLAIRE NEWELL ISN’T THE ONLY Lauer, did a stint as a spokesperson employ at home, and new exhibitor launching a luggage line for Disney Interactive, and is a fea- take with them on at The Travel Goods Show, but hers tured travel writer and intrepid traveler. the road. Newell’s endorsement of various travel items over the years resulted in sellouts. with an attached top sheet. It’s an ele- So, why not design her own custom gantly simple design, one that takes items? advantage of bamboo’s natural anti- Newell is launching two lines: the fungal and anti-bacterial properties. high-end CN Travel collection, and the It’s a well thought-out system, con- value-driven C. Newell line. She wanted sisting of the sheets, matching pillow- “classic designs with great durability,” cases and a housekeeping card to alert and leverages her personal expertise in staff so they don’t change your sheets the design: “I carry at least five curren- out. And it’s a luxury item, one Stuart cies in my travel wallet at any time; my claims people purchase for travel, but travel wallet lets you organize all that end up employing at home (she says the with a boarding pass on the outside. attached sheet system means it takes Claire Newell’s messenger briefcase It’s something you can use for leisure just seven minutes to change the bed — exemplifies namesake Founder Claire or business.” And every Claire Newell a big plus). Newell’s passion for functionally item includes a travel tip card of useful “The sewn-together design at the classic designs with great durability. info, which underscores her expertise 36 February 2010 Travel Goods SHOWCASE and helps build a meaningful customer “Our company was founded on this connection. idea of travel, but we’ve never gone after the travel market. We do have some lug- gage stores and travel stores that tell us Denco Sports Luggage they love our stuff, and this spring we’re SPORTS FANS — THEY’RE EVERY- launching Amelia, a travel-specific line where. It used to be a ball cap and — it seemed like a good time to bring matching license plate frame was all our product to more travel-oriented it took to express fan loyalty. Now you consumers. Exhibiting at The Travel find sports logos everywhere, including Goods Show’s been a long time coming, luggage. but it’s definitely a place where we’ll feel Denco Sports Luggage lets travelers at home.” show their spirit with officially licensed Ellington’s design philosophy says college and pro team logo’d luggage. Although whimsically colorful, life is an adventure, and a good hand- It helps make luggage easier to spot, DIFRwear’s passport wallet is claimed bag should carry whatever you need, plus it creates an additional purchas- to be the only one proven to block wherever your adventures take you, ing incentive for customers. Denco’s low- and high-frequency RFID tags. whether it’s travel or everyday. And two-piece sets include 20- and 28-inch they back their items with a lifetime bags. “DIFRwear’s products are the only guarantee. RFID-blocking products proven to block high- and low-frequency RFID tags,” said DIFRwear’s Joey Phelps, “and FAB/Starpoint they’ve been tested by the U.S. General UNTIL RECENTLY, FAB/STARPOINT’S Services Administration to meet U.S. principal business was as a major sup- Military data security standards.” plier of licensed kid’s accessories. “We’re Given the fact that all U.S. passports known for anything a kid takes back to issued since summer 2006 contain an school,” explained President and CEO RFID chip, an RFID-blocking passport Steve Russo. “Backpacks, lunchbags, wallet sounds like an easy sell. Ellington Handbags THEY MIGHT BE A NEW EXHIBITOR, but for well-established Ellington Handbags, The Travel Goods Show is like a trip back to its roots. “In 1986 our founder was studying abroad on a Show your colors with officially Semester at Sea,” explained Ellington licensed college and pro team travel Marketing Manager Amanda Carter. “In bags from Denco Sports Luggage. Sri Lanka she found a handcrafted leather rucksack that was rugged and refined, it was exactly the kind of bag Isabella Fiore’s fashion-forward DIFRwear she’d always wanted, and it inspired her luggage is just part of the game plan RFID — RADIO FREQUENCY IDEN- to start Ellington when she returned to for FAB/Starpoint, which is branching tification — isn’t new technology, but the States. out from its core business of licensed it’s reaching critical mass, increasingly children’s products to include stuff employed in passports, credit cards, for grownups like Carlos Falchi and driver’s licenses and other information- Sharper Image luggage. sensitive documents. But while RFID’s non-contact information transfer can school supplies — that’s our largest be a boon for travel, it’s also a ter- business. We do all the major licenses rific theft opportunity, which is where of boys’ and girls’ properties, along with DIFRwear comes in. Ellington’s private labels for companies like Target DIFRwear’s signature product is Amelia Airport Express and JC Penney.” wallets, passport cases and badge hold- embodies the company’s philosophy But in 2008, FAB/Starpoint acquired ers that protect RFID-enabled items of versatility in design — it can be high-end handbag maker Isabella Fiore from unauthorized electronic snooping, carried horizontally or vertically as — commonly seen at Bloomingdale’s and they’ve been featured in The Wall a cross-body bag, as a belt bag, or and Neiman Marcus — and they were Street Journal, The Washington Post, remove the strap and use it as a no longer kid’s stuff. Since then it added CNN Business 2.0, Wired and other travel wallet. That’s a lot of uses for Carlos Falchi to its stable, and took over media outlets. $39 MSRP. C o n tin u e d o n n e x t p a g e Travel Goods SHOWCASE February 2010 37 Con t in u e d f r o m p r e v ious page have been so easy to use as Intelligent that was the genesis of LAT56®’s Urban the license for Sharper Image luggage, Luggage’s line of self-weighing luggage. Warrior line, built around what the which it’s bringing to The Show. While other self-weighing bags company calls its TPS Torso Protection “The Sharper Image brand has tre- require you to lift the bag to weigh it, System. “When we started this project mendous brand equity centered around Intelligent Luggage’s bags weigh them- we spoke with a number of tailors, and quality and innovation,” said Russo, selves at the push of a button, just sit- they said the most fragile part of a suit “and every year we promise to show you ting on the ground — you don’t need to is the shoulder region. We started out something you’ve not seen before. They lift the bags at all. building something to protect that, and have a fashion twist and a design twist Intelligent Luggage was founded in it evolved into a system.” to them, at prices that are competitive.” 2007, and while it’s already a success in The Rat Pak carry-on and its over- the UK, The Travel Goods Show is its night-size companion, the Red-Eye, first foray into the U.S. and the global look like something out of a “Batman” Guess Travel market. And with the addition of TSA- movie, which may account for their WITH THE SUCCESSFUL LAUNCH friendly locks built into its bags, they’re appeal and positive reception among and extension of the Guess brand from weight-friendly and security-friendly, retailers. But we’re betting it’s the ultra jeans to handbags, the next logical step too. compact form factor, and the way it was to carry that Guess license over coddles suits without crushing those to luggage. “Our customers have been delicate shoulder pads. traveling with bigger handbags, so lug- Kobold International gage has become a natural progression. KOBOLD MIGHT BE NEW TO THE “Guess Travel offers customers fash- Travel Goods Show, but it’s hardly a Naftali ion luggage with a brand they trust,” new company, having gotten its start MOST OF THE TIME, THE BAGGAGE explained Terry Thomas, sales manager in Solingen, Germany, in 1855. Kobold carousel is too much of a scavenger for Signal Products, which licenses the is still very much in the umbrella busi- hunt — or resembles a rugby game, as Guess brand. “This is a brand that’s been ness — CEO and owner Max Wang you push through the scrum to try spot- around for 25 years, and customers (who acquired Kobold in 2006) is quick ting your bag. We’re adults, after all, know they’ll get trendy pieces, where the to point out “Kobold owns the most and outgrew these types of games long rest of the luggage market offers more umbrella patents in the world.” ago. Which is why Naftali’s Easy 2 Pick conservative styling. Ours are versatile For The Show, Kobold will intro- wireless luggage finder is so slick. and practical, yet still playful.” duce its Zenith line of umbrellas, as The Easy 2 Pick consists of a lug- Guess Travel’s lineup runs the gamut well as its Zendo collection of com- gage tag transmitter and matching key from cosmetic travel cases puter briefs, casual bags and luggage fob-like receiver. When you activate the to large rolling gar- — a natural extension of the Kobold receiver it flashes, beeps and vibrates ment bags — it’s name from protecting people from the when your bag gets within 60 feet so a full-line travel elements to protecting computers and solution for the other personal valuables. fashion forward Kobold’s luggage is very design-driv- traveler. en, aiming to eschew the typical boxy, rectangular shape for more esthetically pleasing curves and shapes. Zendo piec- es range from $50 to $600, with high- end design touches like Zendura fab- ric, which changes color with viewing angle, yet still provides the protection and durability of ballistic nylon. LAT56°® LAT56°® IS A DESIGN COMPANY first, and a luggage company second. The Easy 2 Pick Wireless Luggage Founders Lawrence Broadley and Kevin Finder ends the scavenger hunt at the Guess Travel offers customers fashion Fox are Scottish designers who met at baggage carousel. luggage with a brand they trust. CalPoly Pomona, hit it off over their love of design and adventure sport, and you’ll know when it’s arrived on the founded LAT56® (short for Latitude 56 carousel. Intelligent Luggage Degrees). The Easy 2 Pick Flashing adds flash- WEIGHT COSTS — ASK ANYONE The duo brainstormed “around 40 ing LEDs to the luggage tag, making it who’s been hit by an overweight bag- different ideas for products in the area that much easier to spot at baggage gage fee. And while there are numerous of adventure sport and travel,” said claim areas like cruise ship terminals, luggage scales on the market, and some Broadley. A friend mentioned the trou- airports and the like. cases and bags with scales built in, none ble he had traveling with suits — and C o n tin u e d o n p a g e 40 38 February 2010 Travel Goods SHOWCASE Con t in u e d f r o m p a g e 3 8 everything under $100.” a stretcher) to provide basic survival With such aggressive pricing, and elements, the kind of thing you’d need Oxford & Wells use of eco-friendly materials like sus- to survive that critical 24- to 72-hours AS A FREQUENT BUSINESS TRAVEL- tainably grown cotton and bamboo, after a big disaster. er, Oxford & Wells Founder Ken Swenke Planet Earth lets consumers get fash- “We took that same concept and knows it’s important to look your best ion-forward, eco-friendly and value-ori- expanded it into the mass market, on an on a business trip, and that sometimes ented all at once. individual scale,” said Relief Pod’s presi- those hotel room irons and ironing dent, Debbie Coleman. “Everything is boards just can’t cut it on their own. organized and color-coded — first aid is “Hotels don’t typically provide red, tools are yellow, food and water are starch, and those big cans of aerosol blue, etc. These kits organize and guide starch are poor quality, and not a good you through an emergency, whether solution for travelers,” Swenke said. “So it’s natural disaster, fire, or terrorism; we developed the finest ironing starch in these situations there’s something in the world and packaged it in 2-ounce that prepares you for individual self- non-aerosol packages so travelers can sufficiency.” quickly get that back-from-the-cleaners With Relief Pod kits small enough look before a meeting.” to fit in a file folder for the workplace; to travel-size kits that go in a suitcase or car, the company is really living up to its motto — preparing the world one With nature-inspired design cues and kit at a time. heavy use of sustainable fabrics and recyclable materials, Planet Earth’s luggage line brings together afford- Return If Found ability, eco-friendliness and trendy SOONER OR LATER, IT’S INEVITABLE fashion in a single package. — you’re going to lose something. Return If Found’s mission is to help you get that something back, by helping Relief Pod International you label those valuable items before High-quality spray starch makes it WITH THE RECENT EARTHQUAKE you lose them. easy to look snappy and crisp during in Haiti foremost in people’s minds, Return If Found’s Label and Tag business travel. Its small pump the timing of Relief Pod’s Travel Goods system sets travelers up with 57 labels package makes it TSA- and airline- Show debut couldn’t be more fortuitous. in eight sizes, including key tags and friendly, too. The company’s motto, “Preparedness on luggage tags that make it easy for peo- Demand,” couldn’t seem more timely. ple who find lost items to report them Relief Pod’s signature item isn’t through an 800-number or website. Planet Earth Eco-Friendly something you’d find in a travel store “When an item is found, Return If luggage — it’s for large-scale, government-level Found will call up to three telephone THE BBC’S “PLANET EARTH” MINI- emergency preparedness, the kind of numbers and email the owner with series was a television phenomenon, thing you airdrop to provide food, shel- details on the location of their found with a worldwide audience of over 100 ter and medical care (it even turns into item,” explained CEO Andrew Levine. million, and hitting at just the right “The found item reporting center is time to ride the growing wave of public never closed, 24 hours a day, 7 days a environmental awareness. And now it’s week.” a luggage brand. Granted, a Return If Found label “The plan is to design and pro- alone doesn’t guarantee a lost item’s duce eco-friendly fashion travel goods,” return. But it can’t hurt, and adds an related Sean Shalam, national account additional level of security for cautious manager of Shalam Imports, which has travelers. acquired the Planet Earth license from the BBC. “We’ve developed a fabric that’s SPIbelt ROHS-compliant — very low chemi- THE SPIBELT — FOR SMALL PER- cal, low- or no-lead so it doesn’t harm sonal item belt — was originally con- the environment when it’s recycled,” Relief Pod’s portable, personal- ceived by athlete Kim Overton as a way explained designer Phil Myers, who size kits are personal survival units, of carrying essentials while running and added that the Planet Earth line will designed to get you through that criti- working out. Think of it as an ultra- include luggage, duffels, backpacks, cal 24- to 72-hour window it takes for minimalist fanny bag, or an elastic belt totes, cooler bags and “pretty much help to arrive. That’s peace of mind with a miniature pouch sized for an all kinds of travelware, trying to keep while traveling — or at home. C o n tin u e d o n p a g e 42 40 February 2010 Travel Goods SHOWCASE Con t in u e d f r o m p a g e 4 0 schlep your bags through the terminal. behind you,” noted Topzip’s President iPhone, passport, ID and keys. The Strandle is almost too simple a Jon Bihn. “Ours points it up at maybe “We’re well established in the run- problem solver. But its potential useful- a 30-degree angle, for better aim at the ning and athletic community,” SPIbelt’s ness almost makes it too good to pass sun and it works better.” Bobby Overton said, “but we’re receiv- up as an add-on. Can you say “impulse Another advantage for Topzip is its ing more and more comments about buy?” pack design philosophy, which starts how our users are using the product to with the wearer’s back and moves travel the world.” outward from there. “The back, what In addition to the signature SPIbelt, Topzip International touches your back first, that’s the most there’s the Solo Pocket which attaches IT’S A RARE, RARE PERSON INDEED important — the front, the part people to any belt and provides the same small- who travels without electronics. And see, that’s just the pretty face. Our packs item carrying capacity, like a passport that presents a problem, not with the fit properly, and they way these bags wallet you wear around your waist. electronics, but with what they need wear and carry makes a big difference — juice. Just look in any airport termi- for the consumer.” nal, and you’ll see travelers clustered around 110-volt power outlets like kit- tens around a bowl of milk. VinniBag by Ellessco Topzip aims to relieve a little of THANKS TO THE PHENOMENON this electronic stress with its signa- of FoodTV, “Iron Chef” and the like, ture item, a sub-$100 solar backpack the world is a more gastronomically The SPIbelt is the ultra-minimalist enlightened place. Culinary travel is fanny bag. a growing travel segment, as budding gourmands and oenophiles venture to locales like France’s Burgundy region, Strandle or Italian Tuscany, hoping to sip wine THE STRANDLE IS ONE OF THOSE and try their favorite foods in situ. super-simple, super-useful items you Of course, no tourist jaunt is com- see and go, “Gee, why didn’t I think plete without souvenirs, which is where of that?” The Strandle is a universal Ellessco’s VinniBag comes in, to help handle — part strap, part handle (hence bring those precious bottles of vino and the name) that helps you carry most high-grade olive oil home. anything. The company website shows The folks at Ellessco seem to have it being used to tote grocery bags, thought of everything. “It started with clothes-laden hangers, paint cans, or one part wine industry veteran, one even luggage. part biotech executive, a small slice Cleverly, attaching the Strandle to of investment advisor and a chunk of rolling luggage handles lets you cock engineering,” said Ellessco owner and your wrist at a more natural angle. Or CEO Elizabeth Scarbrough. VinniBag’s you can use it to bundle together a cou- Topzip’s philosophy of building a inflatable compartments shape them- ple of handles, like those on a computer backpack outward, starting from the selves to the bag’s contents to suspend a brief and rolling bag, making it easier to wearer’s back, helps give it top-level bottle using air, which protects it from fit and carrying comfort, while the Strandle is a universal patented solar array lets travelers handle that helps charge cell phones and MP3 players you carry most on the go. anything. that will charge most cell phones and music players, including the near-ubiq- uitous BlackBerrys, iPhones and iPods The VinniBag by that have become standard travel gear. Ellessco helps to Next up, chargers for portable gaming transport liquids of devices like Nintendos and PSPs, to be fragile items that can break or leak. followed by packs capable of charging laptops sometime in 2011. impact and also provides thermal insu- There are other solar bags on the lation. Its roll-up closure is leakproof, market, but Topzip has a couple of key and it packs flat when empty. innovations. One is their solar bag pat- “Our customers keep adding to the ent, which governs the angled mounting list of uses — perfume, shampoo, maple for the solar array. “Other bags, when syrup, grandma’s preserves, Hummel you’re carrying them, the panel points figurines, antique tea cups, medica- straight behind you, at the guy standing tions…” b 42 February 2010 Travel Goods SHOWCASE