Since 1975, TUMI has been optimising world-class business, travel, and lifestyle essentials with elevated, considered product design to uncomplicate, beautify and complement customers’ lives on the move. Designed in America, the luxury brand is sold in New York, Paris, London and Tokyo as well as the world’s top department and specialty stores and travel retail in over seventy-five countries.
At TUMI, the core team is committed to a diverse and vibrant culture, welcoming people from all walks of life. It has people with unique backgrounds, skills and personalities in the workplace, making for a vibrant culture and a talented workforce who are committed to sourcing responsibly and minimising the brand’s products’ environmental impacts. They take targeted action where they can make a meaningful impact on the environment, building durable and repairable products that are made to last, while increasing their use of recycled, sustainable and innovative materials.
In 1974 Charlie Clifford– a former Peace Corp volunteer and importer of leather bags from South America- started his own business selling rugged leather bags in South Plainfield- New Jersey. Nearly thirty years later he sold his company (named Tumi after an ancient ceremonial knife from Peru) to a private equity firm. He had always listened carefully to consumers, salespeople and employees and that paid off in spades.
In the Seventies post-hippies loved the handcrafted leather and in the Eighties he hired Jeff Bertelsen to oversee production and quality control and created the iconic Tumi look in 1983 — a wide opening with a U-shaped zipper and organisational pockets that made packing easier for frequent-flyers. Shortly the iconic luggage brand began trading on the New York Stock Exchange… pricing its initial public offering at $18 a share.
During this time, he decided not to limit the look to leather and began using heavy-duty ballistic nylon that was originally designed for flak jackets. People could buy small leather carry-on pieces and check the larger nylon pieces without worrying about damage. Shortly he discontinued the rugged leather products and developed a line with Bloomingdale’s using soft napa leather.
“While some travelers like to pack light, others prefer to have enough wardrobe options to survive an apocalypse. Every traveler is different and therefore his needs are also often starkly different. TUMI recognizes the unique way in which every traveler packs for his trips be it for work leisure or both…” per GQ. “There is no other product made like Tumi”- per a company release- that described the brand philosophy: unique, lightweight, durable and high-performance luggage and travel accessories including men’s leather wallets and agendas.
The luxury luggage brand collaborated with fashion designer Anish Kapoor to produce “PowerPack Backpack” that used solar technology for charging phones and PDAs and shortly inked a licensing deal with Italian motorcycle manufacturer Ducati for a collection of eight co-branded pieces. Aware that thousands of travellers lose their bags every year.. TUMI created the iconic TUMI Tracer product recovery program which helps reunite customers with their lost or stolen luggage and business cases. How does the brand achieve this? The team inserts a metal plate with a unique registration number in each of its bags so customers can register for Tumi Tracer and be reunited with their bag if it is lost and found.
Per Forbes “The brand is well known worldwide as the leading luggage and accessory-maker for those whose lifestyle involves world-class business, performance luxury, and of course, travel. Since 1975 Tumi has created essentials designed to upgrade the different aspects of the jet-setting traveler’s lifestyle with masterfully crafted and functional products. TUMI has been expanding its view on the globe-trotting man since that first stitch including fragrances in its offering of premium luxury products.”
Sustainability lies at the core of the luxury luggage brand. TUMI continually explores new and different recycled materials and components. Its recycled collections use fabric made from post-consumer recycled plastic bottles as well as from recycled nylon. Per the company: “Sustainability affects all of our operations and so we’ve created a roadmap to help us on the journey. It has four areas: Innovative Products- Carbon Action- Thriving Supply Chains- People Focused… We’re working with our operations around the world to reduce carbon emissions by 15 per cent and transition to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2025, doing our part to preserve the world’s beautiful places.”
In 2004 London-based private equity firm Doughty Hanson and Co acquired Tumi for a reported sum of $276M. The takeover came with a reduction in price of their product line and a change in warranty from lifetime to five years. Jerome Griffith was appointed CEO in 2009 and Joseph R. Gromek was named Chairperson a few years later. On March 4, 2016 Samsonite announced it would acquire Tumi in an all-cash transaction worth a reported sum of US$1.8Bn. Today, TUMI is well-known to frequent travelers for its high-end quality luggage and travel accessories.
“To help people perfect their journey and make their lives easier.”
TUMI is committed to sourcing responsibly and minimising its products’ environmental impacts. The core team takes targeted action where they can make a meaningful impact on the environment, building durable and repairable products that are made to last, while increasing its use of recycled, sustainable and innovative materials. The team envisions leaving the world better than they found it and their efforts in Diversity and Inclusion, Sustainability and Philanthropy are some of the steps they’re taking to get there.
Jerome Griffith, former president and chief executive officer of The Warnaco Group Inc., became CEO of Tumi Holdings Inc. in 2009. In December 2013, Joseph R. Gromek was named Chairperson of Board of Directors.
Luggage, backpacks, bags, accessories and men’s colognes.
TUMI is recognised worldwide for its durable, luxurious luggage and travel accessories.