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 75 countries.
In 1974, Charlie Clifford left a corporate job to start a business selling rugged leather bags in South Plainfield, New Jersey. Nearly thirty years later, he sold his company, Tumi, named for 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 handcrafted leather; 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.
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. “There is no other product made like Tumi”, per a company release which described the company philosophy: unique, lightweight, durable and high-performing are the quality ever present in the wardrobe of businessman and traveller. The company collaborated with 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.
Thousands of travellers lose their bags every year. That’s why TUMI created the exclusive, complimentary TUMI Tracer product recovery program which helps reunite customers with their lost or stolen items including luggage and business cases. How does the brand achieve this? They insert 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 varying aspects of the jet-setter 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.’
In 2004, London-based private equity firm Doughty Hanson and Co acquired Tumi for reported $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 of Board of Directors a few years later. On March 4, 2016, Samsonite announced it would acquire Tumi in an all-cash transaction worth reported US$1.8Bn.
“To help people perfect their journey and make their lives easier.”
“We are committed to sourcing responsibly and minimising our products’ environmental impacts. We take targeted action where we can make a meaningful impact on the environment, building durable and repairable products that are made to last, while increasing our use of recycled, sustainable, and innovative materials. We believe in leaving the world better than we found it, and our efforts in Diversity and Inclusion, Sustainability and Philanthropy are some of the steps we’re taking to get us 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.