Anyone who’s had the pleasure of going luggage shopping will learn a couple of things very quickly: it can be expensive and uninspiring.
But Melbourne-based direct-to-buyer start-up July is selling a carry-on that is not only chic and functional, but relatively low cost. The July Carry-On sells for $295, compared with $775 for a comparable Samsonite model.
The low pricepoint is possible because July is sold online only (introverts, no longer must you awkwardly wheel a case back and forth in front of an eager salesperson spruiking its virtues), bypassing the traditional manufacturer-to-distributor-to-retailer model.
“All we want to do is make better products at a respectable pricepoint,” says Athan Didaskalou, who co-founded July with Richard Li. “It’s the Samsonite killer,” he laughs.
Didaskalou is hoping to disrupt the travel goods market in Australia in the same way Koala and Ecosa’s mattress-in-a-box model highlighted the overpriced sins of the mattress world.
The suitcase arrives in a premium-looking box with “JULY” stamped on the side in huge letters. Inside that box is a bag. Inside that bag is the case. Inside the case there are more bags. It’s all very Russian doll-esque, but the experience feels luxurious, and so does the luggage.
From the practical standpoint of carrying things, there are two separate compartments and a compression strap to keep everything stable. The USB and USB-C ports are a big drawcard, enabling you to charge a phone and laptop at the same time. The battery is removable and sits just beneath the handle, which has more than 20 different stops – as opposed to the usual three or four – which Didaskalou says is to accommodate people of all heights. It’s these thoughtful additions, and others including the water and smell resistant laundry bag, that make you appreciate the consideration that’s gone into every detail.
It’s also quite a beautiful piece. The July Carry-On comes in burgundy, charcoal, navy, emerald and nude, all with a matte finish. It looks sophisticated, but also reduces the appearance of scratches (as demonstrated by this writer’s awkward fall-and-slide on asphalt). The case has a combination lock, and the outer shell is made of made of polycarbonate, which can handle the rough and tumble from budget airline baggage handlers – or being sat on when you inevitably overpack.
The wheels have been custom-designed to ensure silent movement – and on smooth surfaces, the wheels are indeed whisper-quiet. Does this mean you won’t sound like you’re dragging a wheelie bin when walking across coarse concrete? Unfortunately not – but that could be a job for the CSIRO.