What's the problem with airline travel today?
Air travel seems to get more difficult all the time, here are just a few reasons:
1) Airlines are charging more and more for checked luggage, leading more people to switch to carry-ons, which puts overhead bin space at a premium..
2) If you need to pack suits & dresses you have to fold them to fit inside carry-on luggage, this results in wrinkles and creases, not a good look for your big event or business meeting.
3) Business people usually travel with laptops in a separate bag, but this often means having to check their main luggage, which means more fees and more waiting at baggage claim.
What's our product idea?
We thought we could design one suitcase to address all these issues and make business travel a little better.We already had the basic design of a suitcase with a wrap-around garment bag worked out. The idea is that you wrap suits and dresses around the outside of the suitcase, instead of folding them to fit inside. This not only means no more folding your suits, it also frees up the space inside the suitcase for your other stuff.
The next question was where to put the laptop. This was not so obvious. We put pockets on the outside of the garment bag so this is the first place we tried, but it didn't work so well. With the garment bag packed, the pockets were not really deep enough to hold the laptop. It also meant the laptop would be exposed to damage if the bag bumped into anything. The solution was to put a dedicated padded laptop sleeve inside the suitcase.
Because of the wrap-around garment bag design, there is a top door that accesses a top compartment where you can put stuff you might need to reach while traveling. The idea behind this was so you wouldn't have to unwrap the garment bag in the middle of an airport. So we got out our utility knife and started slicing up some suitcase samples trying to make a slot in the top door. This was another dead-end. It looked bad and interfered with the operation of the door, so we tossed these in the trash. Then we came up with the design that worked, putting a dedicated padded laptop sleeve inside the suitcase against the back wall. When you open the top door there is a flap that lifts up and lets you slide your laptop or tablet into its very own padded sleeve.
The padding protects the laptop, and so do your clothes inside the suitcase. And the laptop sleeve is out of the way and takes up almost no space if you don't use it. Your clothes in the garment bag that wraps around the outside add even more protection. It might be the safest place to put a laptop or tablet when you travel.
There is an organizer in the top door has pockets to hold small items. The earlier prototype version in the video has mesh pockets but we decided to change to a dedicated smartphone pocket and a large zippered pocket to make it more useful for today's business travelers.
Finally, we decided to go with 4 spinner wheels that give you the option of rolling the suitcase without tilting it. None of the available off-the-shelf wheels were exactly what we needed so we made our own. The image below shows some of the design details with the wheels that we played around with.
What is the Finished Product and How Does it Work?
So SkyRoll Spinner is a wheeled suitcase, a garment bag, and a laptop bag in one convenient piece of carry-on luggage, it makes traveling easier.
SkyRoll Spinner comes with our patented wrap-around garment bag so your suits, dresses, and larger clothes gently wrap around the outside of the suitcase, you never have to fold them. When you open the top door you'll see the top compartment that holds the toiletry kit which is included free with your SkyRoll (or you can use this space for other things). With the toiletry kit removed you'll see the flap to the laptop sleeve shown in the the sequence below. Because you can fit a 15" laptop or tablet into the internal padded sleeve, you don't need a separate computer bag.
SkyRoll Spinner comes in a men's version and a women's version. They work the same way but the women's version has a longer garment bag to hold long dresses. They are both black but the men's version has gold accent colors while the women's version has silver accents. The sequence below shows how the garment bag wraps around the suitcase and clips together at the end. You can also see the mesh pockets on the inner side of the garment bag to hold small items like ties or a few more T-shirts.The video shows this process in much better detail so be sure to watch it.
What is Involved in Getting SkyRoll Spinner off the Ground?
We try to use off-the-shelf parts when we can but sometimes we can't, so we have to design new parts and make new injection molds to produce those parts. This is for things like wheels and parts with the SkyRoll logo on them. We also have to pre-order all the fabric needed to produce the first order of SkyRoll Spinner. The money we raise will cover part of the cost of designing and making the molds, ordering materials, and setting up the production line to make the first batch of SkyRolls. All of this takes about a month, then production starts which takes about another month. Then we ship them to the USA and yes, that takes about another month. If all goes to plan we hope to ship you your SkyRoll Spinner in September, and with any luck maybe a bit sooner. If you just want the toiletry kit you won't have to wait long, we have a bunch of them already produced so we can start shipping them as soon as this campaign ends.
Who is Behind SkyRoll?
My name is Don Chernoff and I'm the founder and inventor of SkyRoll. I'm a former silicon valley engineer at Intel, and a few other places. I've made computer chips, developed software, and worked with electron microscopes, but my real passion is designing products that make my life and yours a little easier. SkyRoll was born out of this philosophy.
Thank you for supporting our small business and helping us create new innovative products!!!!
The SkyRoll team
Risks and challenges
Most luggage these days is made in contract factories in Asia. The factory we'll be using makes luggage for many of the biggest brands you've heard of. They require a minimum order quantity to start production on a new product. In our case this is about 1,000 units. Before they can start production they need to order all the parts like wheels, handles, fabric, logos, etc... The suppliers of all this stuff also have minimum orders so we need to guarantee payment for all this stuff.
Because we don't have anyone lined up to sell this new product we are taking a risk by having to order and pay for everything that goes into the first 1,000 units without knowing if we'll sell any of them, but that's our risk not yours. By launching the product on Kickstarter we hope to find out how many people are interested in this new type of luggage. With any luck we'll be able to sell the first production run and even make more of them!
The design of SkyRoll Spinner is complete and is ready to go into production. We've designed and produced other luggage this way so we know what to expect and how long it takes, and we don't expect any major problems. If we get too many orders there is a risk it will cause delays in shipping the product, but that is the kind of problem we'd love to have!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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