Folding Luggage – Biaggi

folding luggageWhen Stephen Hersh pitches Biaggi, his proprietary line of folding luggage, in Shark Tank episode 613, he hopes the Sharks will see an investment worthy business. Hersh partners with a Taiwanese factory to produce his folding luggage, but he has lots of experience in the industry: he's the son of the former president of Rosetti Handbags and Accessories. He launched Biaggi in 2012 to meet the growing need for luggage that's functional and easy to store at home and on the road.

The Biaggi folding luggage is much like other rolling, four-wheeled luggage, except it folds flat and uses about a third less storage space. It can fit neatly under the bed or take up a lot less space in a closet. When in use, it's stylish and durable: there are dozens of colors and it's tough enough to handle even the most reckless baggage handler.

There are other folding luggage options on the market, but the Biaggi line (at around $200 per bag) is on the lower end of the price spectrum. Other folding luggage sells for as much as $500 a piece!

Hersh also introduces his lower priced folding luggage called Zipsak in episode 613. The Zipsak is more like a duffel bag with four wheels: it's made from lightweight nylon. The Zipsaks come in a lot of colors, too, but they are far less expensive than the “standard” Biaggi luggage. The Zipsak also folds up into the size of a small lunch box.

Mr. Hersh knows his business and his folding luggage line has received accolades from a multitude of media touting the durability, utility, and price of the products. The company is doing quite well and appears to be on the upswing. Whether Hersh gets a deal or not, there will be a lot of interest in Biaggi after the show.

My Take on Folding Luggage

I travel by plane about 4-6 times a year. Back in the day when I worked for “the man,” I'd travel about once a month for business plus another 4-6 times a year for pleasure. When I travel by plane, I pack light so I don't have to check bags and endure the added cost of the nearly ubiquitous bag fees and the inconvenience of lost luggage.

I have one very raggedy rolling bag (it does not fold) and several duffel bags I use when traveling. All told, there are four rolling bags, one over-sized suitcase, and at least a dozen duffel bags in our family luggage collection. We have an entire large shelf in our walk-in closet dedicated to luggage. If we could just fold up our rolling bags, we'd triple our storage space. I can see how buying folding luggage has its appeal.

I would definitely buy a Biaggi bag the next time I need a new carry-on. It's about the same price as other quality carry-ons on the market and the color selection would let me get luggage in a color that would stand out among the common “black bags.” I think Hersh's folding luggage is a winner.

Do Sharks Pack it in and Invest?

I know all the Sharks travel a lot for both business and pleasure. They probably have some serious luggage! Biaggi's luggage might not be high-end enough for a Shark to actually use, but it could be a good investment.

Hersh has a pretty solid team in place at Biaggi and he's marketed the products well, so he isn't going to be an entrepreneur seeking hand-holding help. He's looking for cash to accelerate distribution and growth. Any of the Sharks could have an interest in the company if the numbers and valuation are good.

I saw luggage on QVC over the Thanksgiving weekend, so perhaps Lori would be interested. Lori also has a lot of solid retail connections that could amp up distribution quickly. Daymond would be another choice since luggage can be a fashion accessory. As for Mark, Robert, and Mr. Wonderful, they could get involved if the money is right. I expect an offer for Biaggi, I'm just not sure which Shark bites.

***SPOILER ALERT***

In a Cigar Aficionado article, author Mervyn Rothstein provides an eyewitness account of the Biaggi pitch. Kevin, Robert, and Mark all go out. Both Daymond and Lori make offers and Mr. Hersh retreats to the hallway to make a call. There is no other information about what happens, but it looks like a deal could be in the bag!

About Rob Merlino

Entrepreneur, auteur, raconteur. Rob Merlino is a blogger and writer who enjoys the Shark Tank TV show and Hot Dogs. A father of five who freelances in a variety of publications, Rob has a stable of websites including Shark Tank Blog, Hot Dog Stories, Rob Merlino.com and more.

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