Aussie start-up transforms luggage into art
In recent years, technological advances have seen large-scale disruption and widespread consumer empowerment. As a result, people can now custom design anything from their shoes to their superannuation fund.
Curiously, the luggage industry has remained stubbornly set in its ways. When it comes customisation, most baggage manufacturers still take the Henry Ford approach. A century ago, Ford famously told those wanting to buy a Model T – “You can have any colour you want along as it’s black.”
The Carry On Watson story began at a luggage stand in a Singaporean shopping mall. It was there that travel lover and globetrotting executive Catherine Bell had an epiphany. “I was searching for a new travel bag. Everything was black and nondescript, as tends to be the case in luggage stores the world over,” explains Bell. “There was nothing that reflected my personality. Nothing that allowed me to express any creativity. Nothing that conveyed my mindset that travel was a joyful and enriching experience.”
Bell got to wondering why she couldn’t create her dream suitcase; one with eye-catching artwork plastered across it. Before too long, she had set up Carry On Watson and set about turning her vision into a reality.
The business’s name derives from a Sherlock Holmes quote. It reflects its founder’s philosophy: “I know, my dear Watson, that you share my love of all that is bizarre and outside the conventions and humdrum routine of everyday life.”
Bell discovered a way to transfer images onto polycarbonate. She found a factory willing to do small production runs. She designed a quality bag featuring a TSA-approved lock, four high-grade swivel wheels, an aluminium telescope handle and a bonus storage bag.
Then she sought out accomplished artists and licensed their designs. Finally, she invested in user-friendly technology – specifically an interactive platform enabled by a 3D visualisation tool – that allows people to ‘co-create’ a bag by selecting the designs that appeal to them. The end result is that you can now head to www.carryonwatson.com and order your own eye-catching bag. All for $299.
For its first production run, Carry on Watson is showcasing the vibrant paintings of Californian native artist Sarah York (www.sarahyorkdesigns.com). York has supplied floral country destination designs that will chiefly appeal to women. But there will soon be designs from other artists available, including ones that will appeal to the other half of the population.
Carry On Watson is for all those who want a travel companion that will make them feel special without swallowing all their holiday money. Not to mention travel lovers who never want to waste another minute trying to work out which bag is theirs at airports, train stations and bus stops.
The business aspires to undertake out of the box collaborations with artists and communities to create some story-telling around the bags, giving them purpose and meaning. Rest assured that we’ll keep you updated on that. As well as all the other exciting, yet-to-be-written chapters of the Carry On Watson story.
For media interviews:
Catherine Bell, Catherine@carryonwatson.com, 0422 897 131
- As featured on Escape Magazine website
- As featured on Bondville - a lifestyle blog
- As featured in TravelTalk Magazine - page31