Monos-from Luggage Brand to Lifestyle Brand during the Pandemic

Monos Luggage Brand

How the luggage startup managed to thrive during the global pandemic.

Monos, which claims to be one of the first luggage brands to be climate neutral-certified, was launched in 2019. It has only grown more successful during the global pandemic, despite the fact that people can’t travel anywhere. 

Launch of the business

Known as the “Apple of suitcases,” Monos is a travel start-up company that boasts high-quality carry-ons and check-in luggage. The company, started by three young Canadians Victor Tam, Hubert Chan and Daniel Shin, is inspired by the Japanese idea of “mono no aware,” the mindful appreciation of beauty in transience. This philosophy forms the basis of the brand’s conception: to encourage travelers to be fully in the present and greet the world with gratitude and graciousness.

Since its launch, the brand quickly became popular. Customers appreciate the timeless design, the high-quality craftsmanship and affordable price point of the products. Monos luggage is made from aerospace-grade German polycarbonate, which makes it durable and shock-resistant. It is also equipped with YKK zippers, Hinomoto Lisof Silent Run wheels and a multi-stage telescopic handle. The price is also affordable as they are sold directly to consumers, avoiding extra markups of traditional retail. 

The founders also made sure to conduct their business in an environmentally sustainable way. The luggage products are made cruelty-free by using vegan alternatives instead of animal-derived materials. Products are also shipped efficiently to reduce carbon emissions. The company’s focus on eco-friendliness is one of the factors that sets it apart from its competitors.

Effects of COVID on the business

All is well until the first wave of coronavirus spread across the world. The company’s immense growth trajectory was severely affected by the global pandemic in March 2020. During the first two weeks of the pandemic, revenues dropped 90%. With the whole world going into lockdown, there were days with negative revenue recorded due to multiple customer returns and order cancellations. 

However, the company was able to bounce back by cutting ad expenditure by 90% and cancelling their shared office space to cut down their costs. They also had a breakthrough by designing and introducing a new product called the Cleanpod UVC Sanitizer, a portable, chemical-free sanitizing wand that emits high-energy ultraviolet C to kill germs. The eco-friendly alternative to disposable wipes turned out to be extremely sought after at the height of the pandemic. Moreover, Monos leveraged its success to keep marketing its luggage products when all its competitors had given up. The company revenue soared and saw a 500% growth by the end of 2020.

In a way, the pandemic has forced Monos to expand and diversify. In September this year, the company introduced the Everywear clothing collection. The collection not only serves as travel wear for uncomfortable long-haul flights, but also as functional and classic everyday wear suitable for people who work from home. Monos is also launching a new line of backpacks and weekender bags next month to meet the current needs of those who aren’t allowed to travel far but still go on staycations within their countries.

Mono’s quick shift from a luggage brand to a lifestyle brand allows it to thrive at a time when no one is travelling. Its resilience and willingness to adapt is something that all companies can learn from.

Header image courtesy of Monos


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Sophie M
When she’s not writing for Jumpstart Magazine, Sophie likes to spend her time doom scrolling on Twitter, visiting art galleries and listening to true crime podcasts.


Why Your Brand Needs to Think About Unique Value Propositioning

Why Your Brand Needs to Think About Unique Value Propositioning

When you start a business, you want to stand out from the crowd and show your customers how your product is different from others in the market. This is where a unique value proposition (UVP) comes into play. UVP is a statement that tells your customers exactly how your product or service will benefit them.

How the “Value Overflow Incident” Could Have Ended Bitcoin as We Know It

How the “Value Overflow Incident” Could Have Ended Bitcoin as We Know It

As of September 2021, Bitcoin’s market capitalization was US$782.65 billion. The cryptocurrency has been gaining massive ground, with over 2,300 US businesses accepting it as a form of payment and Paypal launching crypto services in their U.K. app. However, in spite of the surge in Bitcoin adoption, the currency isn’t quite as safe as one might think it is.

DABUS An AI Fighting for Its Rights as an Inventor

DABUS: An AI Fighting for Its Rights as an Inventor

As technology becomes more and more innovative, it is becoming easier and easier to imagine that soon artificial intelligence (AI) would be able to make things all by itself. Already, we have seen a rising concern over AI making its own creative works by recognizing patterns in art styles and structures.

Why Your Startup Needs Ethnic Diversity in the Workplace

Why Your Startup Needs Ethnic Diversity in the Workplace

In 2018, footwear giant Nike released an ad campaign to celebrate their 30th anniversary. One of the faces of their campaign was Colin Kaepernick—the former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers who, before a match, kneeled in solidarity with African-American people who were being wrongly targeted by the American police force. Kaepernick had faced backlash for his public protest against racism; Nike faced backlash for supporting him. Nevertheless, Nike won more hearts than it lost.