Since its inception in 1975, Tumi has delivered world-class business and travel essentials, establishing itself as a leading brand in the field by merging functionality with a sense of innovation.
Today the brand boasts a global presence, reaching over 75 countries worldwide with an extensive network of more than 2,000 points of sale.
In conversation with Retail in Asia, Tumi creative director Victor Sanz, who has helmed the brand since 2016, talks about the brand’s fall/winter 2023 collection, and how he and his team are catering to an evolving audience through their design as well as other channels such as travel retail.
RiA: Tell us about Tumi’s fall/winter 2023 collection. What inspired this collection’s aesthetic and features?
Victor Sanz: When it comes to product design at Tumi, we seek inspiration from our customers, constantly re-examining how they move and finding ways we can support them better on their journeys – wherever they may go. We are also relentlessly examining the world around us, taking inspiration from the most creative industries – from aeronautics to automotive to sports – to develop products that perform exceptionally well. This is what we call ‘The Tumi Difference’, and it’s what motivates us to stay ahead of the curve.
Together with my team, we are continuously propelling and evolving ourselves and our collections forward, crafting high-performing products that not only meet but exceed the needs of our customers. The brand-new Alpha X and Alpha Hybrid collections launched this fall not only serve as a testament to our dedication to precision and detail but also exemplify our tireless quest for enduring quality and longevity. These new collections highlight our one-of-a-kind designs with over 600 Tumi patents, and the ways that they all work together to create bags that are not only beautiful, but also perform beautifully.
RiA: What are some strengths of this collection?
Sanz: The Alpha X collection is engineered to exceed all 40 of the brand’s endurance tests, making it our strongest softside collection to date. It is crafted with PX6, an ultra-durable fabric with a unique combination of high strength and thermal stability.
Our new Alpha Hybrid collection features the X-Brace 45® handle, an aircraft-grade aluminum telescoping system built to take on every twist, turn and tarmac, and dual recess wheels that are made to carry through the smoothest travels.
RiA: You mention seeking inspiration from your customers. Now that we’re entering this post-pandemic era of travel, are you discovering shifts or trends in consumer profiles and their requirements?
Sanz: People are looking for peace of mind and security during their travels, which is shown in the increased demand for Tumi’s reliability. People are going on longer trips and investing in quality bags to accompany them. As a result, you will see our increased focus on high-performance, extremely durable and multi-functional collections.
As people have become increasingly focused on health and well-being, their demand for versatile solutions and multi-purpose bags that effortlessly transition from work to sports or outdoor activities continues to grow. To cater to these evolving needs, we are expanding our active product line by introducing new offerings specifically designed for outdoor enthusiasts, gamers, yoga practitioners, golfers, and snowboarders.
RiA: How are these consumer trends being reflected in your latest designs at Tumi?
Sanz: Luxury travellers today don’t want to compromise on style, durability or functionality – each quality is equally important to them. We have evolved our styles to help improve the journeys of our customers through their functionality, while also remaining stylish.
Whilst design excellence is integral to the products we make, what you might not notice on the surface is all the beauty you find when you look beyond. An example is our latest Alpha X Slim Backpack and Alpha X Short Trip Expandable 4 Wheeled Packing Case that are becoming seasonal staples. With these products the true beauty lies in the details, like the ultra-tough PX6 material or the expandability feature which allows you to expand the capacity of your luggage. We call our design process “hypercraft”, defined as extraordinary attention to care, skill, and ingenuity in every detail of our designs.
RiA: How important is travel retail for Tumi, and how does the channel impact your work?
Sanz: Being a luxury travel brand, the travel retail channel is incredibly important for us. It is also a really interesting space for me as this is where travel is top of mind for people, and their recent packing experience is very fresh.
I glean a lot of information by speaking to our travel retail store staff and observing people’s movements and habits as they pass through. It’s also a great opportunity to showcase Tumi’s ingenuity as a travel brand and one focuses on creating effortless journeys. It is here that we want to showcase those often hidden features and finishes that make our products ones you can count on during your travels. Features like our add-a-bag strap, that you can find on most of the Alpha X bags, allow you to stack your pack on top of your carry-on luggage to make travelling around the airport seamless.