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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Where’s the Beef?

By Nate Herman I am writing at the end of a momentous week here in Washington, DC. President Trump signed the U.S./China Phase 1 trade deal in a big White House ceremony. And Congress overwhelmingly approved the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the successor to the North American Trade Agreement (NAFTA). As I witness these historic events, I […]

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Trying to Dull the Pain – Tariff Exclusions, De Minimis, and MTBs

By Nate Herman The U.S. travel goods industry faces an existential threat not seen in almost 20 years. China, which supplies over 2/3 of all travel goods, is experiencing 25% punitive tariffs. The industry faces skyrocketing prices and crowding out in our second largest supplier, Vietnam, as electronics, toys, furniture, clothes, and shoes rush in […]

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Winter Has Come Early for the U.S. Travel Goods Industry

By Nate Herman To paraphrase one of my favorite TV shows, winter is coming – and it’s not just another cold spell for the U.S. travel goods industry, it has been a blizzard that kicked the industry’s butt. We all felt the chill. On May 10, ahead of the critical back-to-school and holiday shopping seasons, […]

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How Else Can We Stuff Tariffs into the Industry’s Bag?

By Nate Herman All of you know the stories of your customers trying to stuff too much in their carry-ons or backpacks or totes, so much so that the bag in question busts under the pressure, or the airline forces the customer to check their bag. That is pretty much how the industry feels right […]

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The Neverending Story

By Nate Herman This issue’s column is – you guessed it – about the China trade war. As Gomer Pyle used to say, “Surprise, surprise, surprise.” Why? Because there is no end in sight to the existential threat – a man-made threat – that could determine the future, the very existence, of the industry. As […]

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