Feature Article - November/December 2009

Luggage Takes Flight

Trends in Luggage & Leather Goods

By Emily Tipping

hen I was a kid, my family had this nice set of light blue luggage. (Hey, this was the '70s, after all.) Every time we would go on a trip, my parents would drag out those suitcases and we'd pack. There was something joyful about seeing those cases open and waiting for their family-vacation cargo.

Then I got older, moved out and started traveling with nothing more than a backpack. And that lasted a long time. Longer than it should have, perhaps.

Until this summer, in fact, when I finally broke down and purchased a piece of luggage for the first time ever: a reasonably priced upright. No more hand-me-downs. No more trying to cram the overstuffed backpack into the overhead. No more worrying about fitting in my sensible work shoes and my running gear.

I never realized before what a difference a piece of luggage can make. Why did it take me so many working years—years that involved travel for work—to figure this out? Well, for one thing, until I thought I really needed it, I didn't want to spend my hard-earned dollars on it. And also, how many times do you go out with the intention of purchasing luggage? In fact, I found mine on sale when I was in a department store for a completely different reason. It might never have caught my eye, if it weren't for the fact that it's hot pink.

What's the point of all this?

Your program participants might be in the exact same boat. They might appreciate a piece of luggage, a handbag, a tote or some other travel-related item more than you realize. The point is, despite the reduction in travel this year, despite the fact that people are vacationing closer to home, the employees you want to inspire, the customers you want to influence, the sales reps you want to motivate and the business partners you want to recognize and encourage might find luggage, leather goods or other travel gear and gadgets to be the perfect reward.