About this project
For years we have stood at boarding gates in airports listening to gate agents tell us that we were allowed to bring on board one 'carry-on bag' and one 'personal item'.They were clear that the carry-on bag must fit in their sizer-box and they gave us dimensions. However, the definition of the 'personal item' was unclear. Recently an industry friend pointed out that the airlines finally quantified the 'personal item' dimensions and mentioned that there aren't any travel bags that fit these new specifications.We quickly went to work with our factory designing a bag that fits those dimensions and our travel needs, and also our daily lifestyle. We wanted quick access pockets tailored for today’s electronic devices, space for our most common everyday items, flexible ways to comfortably carry the bag depending on the circumstances, and expandability when we need more space.
Our list of must-haves for the bag included:
- Maximum versatility: 5 different ways to carry it: Backpack for casual hands-free carrying, Cross-Body for a more professional look, Haul Handle for low-profile short trips, Top of Rolling Bag for quick trips through the airport, and Front of Rolling Bag for the long haul.
- Compliance: Dimensions that ensure we would never be forced to check this bag: We made the overall size compliant with commercial airline specifications for your 'personal item': 17" x 10" x 9".
- Expandability: Sometimes we need a bag to be more than it is, so we made it expandable by adding a 3” zip-around panel to give you over 35% additional capacity in an instant.
- Efficiency: We need what we need when we need it. So we designed separate individual quick-access pockets for a laptop, a tablet, a smart phone, a water bottle, and desk tools.
- Comfort: The carry straps will be constructed with the most comfortable foam and air-mesh available and we'll add a strip of Tough-Tek to prevent it from slipping off the shoulders.
- Eco-Friendly: Recycled Fabric made from post consumer recycled plastic bottles.
- Dependability: Finest expedition grade raw materials, all seams to be constructed extra strong with triple stitching and reinforced stress-points so this bag will never let you down.
- Security: We added an RFID blocking pocket to store your Passport and/or credit cards to prevent identity theft.
- Details: Once we worked out the big issues, we spent time fine-tuning the details. We reversed the zippers so that they would be more water-resistant and to protect the coil of the zipper from abrasion. We chose zipper pullers that are comfortable and easy to use even with gloves on. We chose a light-colored lining to be able to see in the bag easier. We added a key clip so that when you get home you know where the keys are.
Apps: We knew there was so much more we could do to make this bag the Ultimate Smart Bag! So by adding Apps we made this bag the most organized and efficient bag ever created.
Cord Manager: This uniquely designed neoprene cord manager has enough capacity to fit at least six oddly shaped power cords while keeping them organized and ready for use when you need them. Just zip it up and slide it into its own pocket.
Document Holder: With three separate transparent sleeves, this folder organizes copies of travel documents, reservation confirmations and calendars. And it fits in its own pocket in the main compartment of the bag.
Thermal Food Container: Sometimes we need to grab food when we can so that we can eat when we want. This bag is insulated to keep food at temperature much longer than the plastic bag it’s served in. It’s sized to fit in the main compartment of the bag.
Accessory Pouch: Small stuff is important too. Simply designed to carry lip balm, mints, tissues and all of the other little essentials for the road. Tucks away in the front vertical pocket.
Mini Flashlight: To bring it all together, we attached a small powerful mini flashlight to an elastic leash to light up the inside compartments of the bag.
So once we designed this fabulous bag and tested it out, we knew it was too great to keep to ourselves, we had to get this produced for the public. After being involved in other Kickstarter campaigns, we thought this would be the perfect way to get the backing and exposure for the product. 100% of the funds will go to manufacture the product and execute the marketing plan.
After many years of working together using our talents to build other brands and companies, our small group of hard working women decided it was time to start our own company and officially work for ourselves. So about a year ago we formed a company called LifeGear Design: a full service design and sourcing company. We secured a small line of credit and a unique space to work in, and we created our own collection of thoughtful travel bags and accessories under our new LiteGear brand that we debuted in March 2014.We are travelers, designers, wives, mothers, entrepreneurs, and friends. We are curious, determined, committed, courageous, and we are now the creators of the Ultimate Smart Bag.
Magi Raible: Born in Oakland, California as the fourth of five children, Magi started her career at The North Face in 1983 purchasing fabric, zippers, tent poles, and every other raw material their Berkeley factory needed to produce the world’s best tents, jackets, sleeping bags and backpacks. She became their Director of Product Development & Product Acquisition, making her first trip to China in 1991 to expand production to Asia. She then became part of the leadership team at KIVA Designs, Inc. heading the sourcing and design efforts where she stayed until 2013.
Veronica Lerer-Woerz: Born and raised in Argentina with a passion to travel the world. After college, she left home with her best friends, a one-way ticket to Europe and a few hundred bucks in her pocket. After a year of exploring the continent she returned home to Argentina, but soon found herself heading to Northern California to start her life in the Napa Valley. She was hired by KIVA Designs, Inc. in 2003 as the Purchasing Manager where she spent 10 years traveling throughout Asia visiting factories, ensuring they were safe, clean, competent and compliant with strict codes of conduct.
Cabrini Chavoya: After graduating from Cal State Hayward, Cabrini pursued a career in early childhood education with a focus on special needs children. Looking for a change, she joined KIVA Designs, Inc. in 2001 as the office manager. Her calm demeanor and thoughtful perspective led her to become the Director of Client Services – Ensuring that the customer’s needs always came first.
Trisha Mobley: The oldest of seven sisters, Trisha was born in a small town north of San Francisco. She joined KIVA Designs, Inc. in 2008 bringing with her experience in customer service.She quickly became the Sales and Fulfillment Manager, in charge of running the warehouse, order entry, customer compliance, and EDI.
We are diverse, determined, and unstoppable. Together, we are a group of passionate women all about being something bigger than our individual selves!
Our Goal is to ship the first run of Mobile Pro in April. This is our timetable:
Product development / Sourcing / Campaign updates
Kickstarter Campaign end / Source final raw materials, approve lab dips, develop hangtags, and collateral
Approve final sample
Place first orders with factory in Shanghai
Start production of Mobile Pro
Chinese New Year – Factory closes 3 weeks
Production of first order is finalized
Shipment of first Purchase Order for Early Bird backers to LifeGear Design Fulfillment Center in CA
Ship to Early Bird Backers
Shipment of second Purchase Order to LifeGear Design Fulfillment Center in CA
Ship to all backers!
Risks and challenges
Bringing a new product to life is always a little challenging, but our expertise allows us to always be ahead of the curve.
We know exactly what goes into the process of manufacturing luggage and travel gear; together we have over 40 years of experience in this market. We have designed, manufactured and distributed products for the most renowned brands of the US as well as internationally.
Our team has worked with countless overseas and domestic factories; has numerous freight forwarder relationships and excellent logistics and distribution capabilities.
There can always be risks and challenges when developing, manufacturing, shipping and distributing a new product, but we are confident that our team will be able to work through any issues that might arise, and we will make sure to keep you up-to-date to ensure you will receive the Ultimate Smart Bag.
We have selected a top of the line factory to manufacture our Mobile Pro, we've had a long term relationship and are confident in their abilities: They produced the prototype seen in the video and photos, which we have tested every detail to ensure perfection. We can assure you that they can provide excellent quality and service in a timely manner.
Thank you so very much for your support, we look forward to delivering your Mobile Pro: The Ultimate Smart BagLearn about accountability on Kickstarter
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