Tumi is in the midst of a makeover.
Tumi, of course, is the ever-reliable Nylon travel bag that looks not unlike the wheeled carry-on that flight attendant is pulling, the hanging wardrobe that first-year accountant is flying with or that simple all-black suitcase the woman in front of you has been checking in for over 30 years.
With over 50 retail stores around the world, Tumi is one of the leading brands in the luggage industry known for its muted all-black style and zipper-to-zipper lifetime warranty.
While you wouldn't see it loaded onto your last NetJets flight with the hard-sided Louis Vuitton or flashier Gucci totes, it usually lasts a whole lot longer, wearing well as it was regurgitated onto baggage carousels from Bombay to Berlin.
While not super-stylish, it was super-practical.
Enter David Chu, the executive creative director of Tumi, who has embarked on an ambitious brand expansion and revamp that looks to change everything we think and do with our Tumi.If his name sounds familiar, it's probably because he founded Nautica in the '80s, created a brand with annual revenue in excess of $1 billion and then sold its trademark rights for an estimated $104 million to VF Corp.VFC
After leaving Nautica in 2004, where the designer says he "developed a sense of discipline and consistency," Chu transitioned to his own private-label menswear before accepting his current role at Tumi in 2006.
His position includes an undisclosed equity stake in privately held Tumi, with expansive duties that extend into design, advertising, public relations and retail concepts.
The results of Chu's design work can be seen in the current retail lineup at Tumi stores across the country.
"A new retail concept has been introduced," says Chu. "The new interior was inspired from the sensibility of the new luxury collection, which combines the old world quality with a modern sensibility."