Friday, December 8, 2023

GREAT News: The Absolute Best Luggage Brand (IMO) Has Finally Arrived in Aotearoa – Kia Ora, July

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If you travel often and you’re now in your 30s and really CBF with that janky suitcase you bought for cheap before you went on your OE, you’ll really understand how valuable good luggage actually is – enter July luggage.

After realising my 30-something body can’t rely on dragging a Country Road bag around everywhere anymore, I caved in and bought a Carry On from Australian brand July and, I can’t stress this enough, my life (well, my travel life) changed (totally saving up for the full set!). Swively wheels?! An inbuilt power pack to charge stuff on the go?! A LIFETIME warranty!? Get off the grass.

And while I had to suck up a shipping fee from Aussie, you’ll be pleased to know that July are now expanding into Aotearoa. To mark the occasion, I had a chat to co-founder Athan Didaskalou about the ethos behind the brand, their NZ expansion and his own top travel tips!

Kia ora Athan – welcome to Aotearoa! Can you give us just a little overview of how and why you founded July?

Richard and I founded July as an opportunity to fix a broken industry. We saw that the consumer’s only choices were cheap bags or expensive luxury items; there was a real gap in the market for quality, thoughtfully designed luggage at a more accessible price point. We’re frequent travellers and so it was also fixing a personal pain point – we couldn’t find a suitcase that met our needs, so we made it ourselves. 

Why ‘July’ as the name of your brand?

The name is quite simple: everyone always has fun in July when travelling! July is the most popular travel month of the year for all to move around, especially for us being from Melbourne, and we wanted that experience to resonate with our products.

Why expand into Aotearoa now?

We’ve been waiting to launch in Aotearoa for a while! Covid interrupted our expansion plans significantly, but now that everyone is back travelling again we’ve seen incredible growth and significant demand from consumers here in Aotearoa. Kiwis, like Aussies, are some of the most prolific travellers, so we’re excited to bring July over here and give our neighbours another option with better features and unique personalisation options.

You guys must be prolific travellers – do you have any other top tips for travelling smarter?

We sure are! Some of my top tips include never bringing expensive sunglasses on holiday, instead, I’ll buy a cheap pair or two when I get to my location so I don’t have to be stressed about it when I inevitably lose them. The best way to keep track of your checked luggage is by adding an Apple Airtag. Even if your luggage ends up lost, it’s reassuring to know where it is in the world! Buying a suitcase with a power bank, such as the July Carry On, allows you to easily charge your devices on layovers so you don’t have to be scouring the airport for an outlet, and a tech kit is a great way to keep all your cords and tech products organised – I recommend bringing one in your carry on. 

You also had to actually invent solutions for problems with luggage – tell us about that?

We did so much research when we started plans for July, including reading thousands of suitcase reviews to find out the key pain points for consumers. Wheels were by far the biggest issue, and we couldn’t find any on the market that would be good enough quality for our case. This gave us only one option, designing them in-house. We actually spent almost half of our initial budget on creating the wheels as they were such a priority for us. Our SilentMove 360° spinner wheels boast a double wheel system that glides effortlessly and quietly across all surfaces and also comes with a lifetime warranty – it’s now one of the things we get the most positive comments from customers about! 

What do you think is the number-one thing to keep in mind when choosing luggage?

It’s important to choose luggage that’s right for the kind of travel you do. Travel a lot on short trips for work? A Carry On Pro, with a laptop sleeve and power bank would be perfect for you to make going through security a breeze. Quick holidays on budget airlines to Bali or Thailand? Might be best to opt for a Carry On Light Expandable, so you can stay within restrictive baggage allowances and still have room to bring shopping home. I always say think about the travel you do and work backwards from there, our products are made to make your life easier, so you can better focus on the parts of travel you love. 

Do you have a personal favourite piece?

I think our Carry On will always be my favourite, just because we spent so much time on it with only Richard and I, it’s the piece that started everything! 

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