Five years ago, the luggage/bag industry had a revolution of sorts, and since then, there has been a myriad of innovations and fantastic travel gear to hit the market. From Nomatic to Peak Design to WANDRD to G-RO, these companies led the entrepreneurial charge and traveling has become better for it.
G-RO was the company that first got our attention back in early 2015 with their first crowdfunding campaign, and we plunked down our money to buy a piece of the dream and secure one of the first models to hit the market. Since then G-RO has scaled quite a bit with various models, smaller backpack style bags and now they are looking to raise the bar once again with the new SIX model which is currently in the crowdfunding stage and already sailing past its initial revenue targets.
We caught up with Netta Dor Shalgi, Founder of G-RO, to get an update on this latest innovation and what brought about this next chapter.
The G-RO original was a massive step in the reinvention of the conventional carry-on, how is the new SIX model going to upstage your original design and will you still keep the original in the line-up?
Yes, the original carry-on was a very fresh-looking design that actually was one of the pioneers in the e-commerce luggage revolution (at that time in crowdfunding, a lot of smart luggage was emerging). The innovation of the original G-RO was rooted in the ergonomic benefits as well as the smart features. The SIX is designed for a completely new marketplace that has evolved in the last five years, based on stricter airline regulations, changes to regulations affecting our manufacturing, dismissing of smart features, tighter competition amongst luxury brands.
Combining all of these factors into the new design plus the knowledge and experience - both with the market and execution of manufacturing and supply chains - gathered by the company evolved into a much more elegant, sophisticated and intelligent product. The SIX includes many frequently requested features including four wheels, hard shell and the clam-shell configuration for packing while maintaining the innovative DNA of G-RO. The SIX is also directed toward a much broader audience, whereas the original G-RO was targeting extreme professionals. We still believe the original line-up is the best for the purpose it serves, but as we’ve learned, it’s a very niche product. We will continue to provide this product because there are dedicated consumers who require it and as the only company with real justification to keep the two-wheel configuration, it’s a service that only we can provide.
Will the SIX model also scale out into a full portfolio of bags, or is just a carry on design?
Yes, we’ve introduced the push configuration to the market, and it’s the beginning of a revolution! We’re not going to stop with just one bag. We’re going to enable the world to push all of their luggage, and we’re confident that they’ll love it so much they will never go back to dragging their bags.
Will the SIX work for both domestic and international size regulations?
Currently, the SIX is designed in one size, with exterior dimensions of 22 x 14 x 9 inches. In the future, we plan to create a version for each market.
Has G-RO thought of adding a compression system to this bag to maximize on space?
Since the bag is a hard shell, while closing and latching the bag shut, it automatically compresses the content. Adding additional features like this inside will increase the weight and complexity, and will actually decrease the available space to pack in (you can fit an extra two shirts in the space that this sort of system would take).
This bag has stepped back in the tech side of things, is this because of all the airlines making you remove “smart-luggage” batteries prior to boarding?
Partially, yes. In addition, we discovered through our market research that the smart features are overloading the cost and weight. They’re nice features for a TSA-line conversation, but the cost-effectiveness of having them, plus the space they take from the bag, is not the best design for this high-performance product. Additionally, we learned that all of our electronics - chargers, computers, tablets - and other valuables are almost always carried in a second, smaller bag on top of the carry-on luggage.
If this bag were to be checked, would it withstand the abuse of the luggage jockeys? We were always hesitant to check my original G-Ro for fear of it being damaged.
Yes, yes, and yes! And actually, both the original G-RO and the SIX are some of the toughest bags out there, having passed extremely rigorous testing (see our campaign page for examples of the abuse they withstand).
With full expert style minimalist packing, how long do you think this bag could go as far as trip length for the average creative professional?
This is a tough question because there are many variables that affect this answer: seasonality (winter vs. summer), size of the user’s clothing and shoes, and the type and characteristic of the trip. But, to provide the best answer we can, the SIX can easily be packed for a one week trip without requiring any laundry. Here is a quick clip showing what/how I packed for a week-long trip:
What are some of your design inspirations for this bag?
Some of my main inspirations for the SIX were performance cars, commercial aviation, latte foam art (yes, really!) and the human body.