First up

The Australian - The Deal - - News -

A com­pany founded by bike couri­ers wins an Olympic role

IT started out mak­ing bags for bike couri­ers around Mel­bourne – bags that were big enough for them to carry home a slab of beer. Twenty years later the iconic lug­gage com­pany, Crumpler, has been sworn to se­crecy as it de­signs the lug­gage for the Aus­tralian Olympic team next year’s Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The ath­letes will be given a ver­sion of Crumpler’s dis­tinc­tive light­weight Vis-a-Vis check-in lug­gage – a hard shell de­sign that of­ten has Aus­tralians stopped at air­ports by other trav­ellers want­ing to know where to buy them.

The com­pany’s his­tory goes back to the 90s when two school friends – Dave Roper and Will Miller – set up a bi­cy­cle courier busi­ness in Mel­bourne. They had trou­ble with the bags the couri­ers used. They were dis­cussing their prob­lems when one of their part-time couri­ers, Stu­art Crumpler, of­fered the so­lu­tion. The three founded a com­pany in 1995, choos­ing Crumpler’s name as the most in­ter­est­ing. Roper and Miller took the bags to a trade show in Europe af­ter at­tend­ing the world bike courier cham­pi­onships in Barcelona in 1997, mak­ing their first in­ter­na­tional sales. They sold the courier busi­ness and threw all their en­er­gies into mak­ing prac­ti­cal bags for ac­tive peo­ple. They opened their first store in Mel­bourne’s Fitzroy in 1995.

The com­pany has steadily ex­panded its range of prod­ucts in­clud­ing bags for lap­tops, cam­eras and surf­boards. It now has 18 stores in Australia and an­other 17 in Asia, in­clud­ing four in China. Two years ago it ex­panded into check-in lug­gage when it launched its Vis-a-Vis col­lec­tion. Made from a poly­car­bon­ate/ABS blend, the bags are light­weight and strong with re­cessed glide wheels, in-built TSA locks and bright red zip safety straps.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Peter Stock­dale says the com­pany saw the Olympic spon­sor­ship as an op­por­tu­nity to drive more aware­ness of the com­pany. “Although Crumpler has been around for 20 years, it has flown un­der the radar with a loyal core of cus­tomers, mainly in the CBDs of Syd­ney and Mel­bourne, where the brand has ap­pealed to ur­ban com­muters trav­el­ling by foot, bike or public trans­port,” he says. “The Olympic spon­sor­ship will also help Aus­tralian cus­tomers un­der­stand that Crumpler is more than just mes­sen­ger bags and back packs.” But the ac­tual de­sign of the bags will have to await the launch of the team uni­form more than a year away.

Stock­dale, who took over as chief ex­ec­u­tive late last year, has ag­gres­sive plans to ex­pand the com­pany. He plans to have 30 stores in Australia within the next two years and a sim­i­lar num­ber in Asia. Af­ter that the next fo­cus will be the US.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.