A Fall Preview

By Nate Herman We had an interesting summer as an industry. Despite many headaches for our customers, travel this summer returned with a vengeance. And everyone went back-to-school in person this fall, leading to brisk sales of backpacks and related gear. This great news remains tempered, however, by ongoing congestion issues, high tariffs caused by […]

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A Summer of Hope?

By Nate Herman When travel started to recover last summer, we began to see a light at the end of tunnel. But our ability to reach that light was crippled by the shipping crisis, which imposed immense costs on the small, family-owned companies that comprise our industry at a time when we could least afford […]

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When Will Things Get Better?

By Nate Herman We are well into a new year, yet we are still talking about the same old things. The shipping crisis is still bad. Dozens of ships are still sitting off the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Ridiculously high shipping rates are now getting baked into shipping contracts. And carriers are […]

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Rumors on the Death of the Shipping Crisis are Premature

By Nate Herman Everyone from President Biden to port directors and pundits have claimed that we are now seeing the other side of the shipping crisis, the very same shipping crisis that has led to exorbitant and unjust costs, empty shelves, and higher prices at the cash register for the travel goods industry this holiday […]

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The Holiday Blues?

By Nate Herman It was a good summer. Travel surged and kids returned to in-person school. But, by the end of summer, serious cracks were ruining our industry’s pretty summer sunsets. Parents struggled to find backpacks for back to school and the luggage sections of stores looked like they were hit by the hurricanes that […]

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Out of the Frying Pan & Into the Fire

By Nate Herman The last year confronted the industry with unprecedented challenges. Not only did the economy drop off a cliff but travel came to a dead stop. However, the past few months have given us some hope. The high vaccination rates and the subsequent reopening of the U.S. economy are looking to usher in […]

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Another Pothole in the Road to Recovery

By Nate Herman The atmosphere is finally changing. We can see signs of hope all around us. Families are booking summer trips, businesses are talking about in-person conferences and trade shows starting this fall, and President Biden has declared that, if we all work together, we can come together with family and friends to celebrate […]

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A New Year…A New Hope

By Nate Herman As we begin 2021, we say goodbye to a year that will likely go down in history as one of the worst for the industry – worse than 9/11 and worse than the 2008-2009 financial crisis. Yet, we begin this year with a new hope. Two vaccines, and counting, are helping us […]

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The Road Less Traveled

By Nate Herman As I write this, Labor Day is signaling the unofficial end of summer. A summer like no other. Usually at this time, we are capping off huge sales of all types of luggage for the annual surge in travel by air, land, and sea with a spike in sales in backpacks, totes, […]

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Light at the End of the Tunnel?

By Nate Herman First, I must acknowledge the reality from which I am writing to you as we approach the end of May. The industry has suffered a quintuple indignity. Travel has stopped, retail has dropped off a cliff, the government’s bailout program has fallen short, and, as the small guys, we still have to […]

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