40 Days on the Road with #BRXTravelGear
I destroy luggage. Not for fun, mind you, it’s just a by-product of my travel schedule. This year alone, I am at 90 flight segments, 50 room nights and countless car rentals. My luggage is a trusted travel companion and friend, so it hurts me to see it suffer so.
As part of my job at Collective Bias, I frequently get to participate actively in client campaigns. It helps me to understand the process, work directly in the social media content production space and try the products our clients produce from a consumer point of view. Rarely am I an expert, Nestle Ice Cream may be the closest to a true power user as I’ve come.
Business travel is a different story. I’ve got this. I am one of the fortunate souls that can wake up in the morning, flip on the weather channel, and with almost precise accuracy, tell you how long my delay is going to be at DFW. Exciting stuff, huh?
I had heard of Briggs and Riley Travelware (so much more elegant sounding than luggage and baggage is what we all carry from our old relationships right?), but I had never experienced it before. I began my search at ebags.com, an etailer I’ve used in the past for backpack and luggage purchases. I needed a new business backpack as my trusted Patagonia was showing some signs of fatigue. I also needed a second roll-aboard that was larger than my 19″ bag that I use for most trips. It’s solid for two day trips, but longer trips require me to basically wear the same outfit, which can be challenging if you’re with the same folks for the whole trip.
I found a smart looking backpack, part of the Verb work line. It was more compact than my current model but my computer size has shrunk along with the need to carry printed materials so I don’t need as much room. The backpack also seemed to be well thought out with regard to organization and adaptability to quick travel access to phone, iPad, computer and corresponding accessories. I added to my cart and proceeded to look for the roll-aboard.
I found a smart looking 22″ Briggs and Riley model that seemed to fit the bill. As with the backpack, a great deal of thought (and research) had obviously been given to the functionality and how the device would be used. I added the slate color to my shopping cart in addition to a toiletries case as mine has that perma-film of Colgate (also a client) toothpaste inside from a tragic cap mis-application incident. Being a somewhat savvy shopper, I cross-checked pricing and found prices to be the same, so the free shipping deal carried the day.
I received several communications from ebags about the process of my order including the precise estimate of arrival date, which was as efficient as Apple, who I consider the best in ecommerce customer service. I arrived home from work to find the bags delivered right on time and it was like Christmas in July. Mary Catherine helped me open the boxes and once her 5-year-old curiosity was satisfied that there was nothing interesting to be seen, I got to explore my new luggage, ahem, travelware on my own.
Attention to detail is the hallmark of Briggs and Riley I’m discovering. The Verb packaging was playful and not what I expected from the black business backpack set. Branding a different type of business traveler reminiscent of the positioning used to define the Mac user. Each of the items included a user’s manual describing the features and build of the product. Even before I had used the product, I knew I was in for a good experience.
For more than a month, I’m going to put these products through travel trials to see how they perform. Will they hold up and receive the order of the battered ticket jacket? Only time will tell.
Trip One – Detroit, Greenville, Atlanta
A very typical trip for me is to build multiple client and partner visits around a key trip. I needed to visit our strategic partner, MARS Advertising in Southfield, MI, for some business planning and relationship building. Later in the week, we had a new business pitch at Bi-LO grocery in Greenville, SC, and finally a media company and new client meeting in Atlanta. This trip requires a wide variety of clothes from business formal to completely casual and my running gear. The smaller bag would not have worked and would have required me to carry two bags.
My new BRX bag handled everything I needed with some room left over. I even packed some extra shorts as it was going to be north of 100°F in each city. The compartments in the bag let me actually segment my clothes for each venue. I really like the large front pockets where I could put things I had worn away from my clean clothes. The bag has expandable tie-down straps and expands easily so I could change the overall capacity of different sections very easily.
Initial impressions are very good. I even got the ultimate test on the return home as my bag did not make it back with me. Due to American Airlines, they rerouted me through DFW, and away from Chicago after I had checked my bag (something I don’t often do). Had they not, I wouldn’t have made it home due to the weather in the area. The bag was delivered to my home late that night –trip 1, complete. Stay tuned…