In this review of Paris-based lundi’s luxurious travel bags, briefcases and minimalist backpacks, I interviewed founder Vincent Roussel to dig into the story behind the direct-to-consumer brand.
lundi boasts in its lookbook that the company “will forever change the way you travel.” Based in Paris, entrepreneur Vincent Roussel founded the travel company in 2014. It’s an excellent example of a stylish menswear startup helping men dress sharp for the new normal.
lundi, which means Monday in French, is meant to get you ready for your week. “lundi’s DNA is to create nice products to be used in your daily life,” Vincent told me. Currently, the company focuses on a tight collection of luxurious travel bags, briefcases and backpacks aimed at men (though I’d argue their products are unisex, and they are currently working on a lineup of women’s bags).
The company works with a family production workship in Istanbul, Turkey, which has, according to Vincent, “incredible expertise in high-end leather goods.” lundi’s bags are made from vegetable-tanned, full-grain leather that is designed to develop a rich patina over the years, and feature high-end details like YKK and solid brass snap hooks.
How Much Do lundi’s Bags Cost?
lundi’s luxury briefcases cost around $559-672, while their backpacks sell for about $632-672, and their 36 Hour and weekender bags run approximately $756-$835.
The Initial Spark for Founding lundi? “Functionality”
Several years ago, Vincent told me that he was sharing a coffee with a friend of his. “This guy is a company director,” he explained, “and is used to travel very often on short journeys.”
That day, he told Vincent that he was looking for non-iron shirts. “When he was traveling, he used a classic large briefcase in which he slipped his shirt, his underwear and all he needed for the next day,” Vincent recalled.” Since he was jamming all of his stuff into a regular old briefcase, “his clothes had to withstand a lot of contortion,” he said.
So Victor decided to help him. Instead of developing non-iron shirts, he put his mind to a bag that would thoughtfully carry everything his friend needed for an overnight trip.
Voilà. lundi was born.
From that early moment, Vincent said he “decided to create bags and accessories for business men who were looking for elegant products with a strong functionality.”
Thinking about functionality, he told me, “is a different way to develop products,” where he takes a minimalist approach “where every detail counts.”
The First Item from lundi a New Customer Should Consider
I asked Vincent what the first item he would recommend for someone who has never tried lundi.
He started with the caveat that “choosing a product in our collection depends of your needs.” It’s “difficult to pinpoint any particular product as our collection is organized by usage,” he added, pointing to lundi’s One day bag, 36-hour bag and travel bag.
“But of course, the first and most iconic products is our 36-hour travel bag,” he said. lundi’s 36-hour travel bag boasts a compact form factor that gives you the possibility to travel for 2 days and 1 night with only one bag.
“Thanks to its 2 different compartments, you can easily store your office accessories like a computer, cables, battery, and documents, as well as your pants, shirt, underwear, and toiletry bag.
“You can choose a briefcase format or a backpack, depending on how you like to carry your bag. That kind of bag is unique on the market,” Vincent observed.
How lundi is Serving the New Normal of Mobile Work
I asked Vincent what he expects the new normal of work to look like and how lundi is planning for it.
“Thinking about new ways of working is part of our daily work at lundi, as we try to anticipate new behaviors and new needs,” he said.
Vincent reflected that two main things have already changed in our working behaviors:
The first one is flexibility. For most people, working from Monday to Friday in the same office is a thing of the past. I mean, you don’t want to spend all your time at the same place.
This is particularly true for people who work behind a computer. They know they can do their job in many different places. This is why we are thinking about our bags as a mobile office, with all the needed storage for your daily accessories.
Vincent noted that lundi’s GIANI and MATTEO backpack have been designed with this function-first approach to taking your mobile office along with you. (Both the Giani and Matteo are gorgeous options for minimalist backpacks for work.)
He suggested that the second important change in the new way of working is the desire to be self-employed.
Many people prefer to work for their own company, and to sell their services to others rather than working for a company. For many people, Vincent believes that “freedom is more important than a secured contract — and that means a lot of people want to work from their home.”
lundi recently launched a new collection of office accessories, including leather “desk mats,” to create a professional and inspring workspace at home.
How lundi “Creates Contact” with Customers
One challenge for Direct-to-Consumer brands is how to get in front of customers and get them to trust your brand. A number of brands are experimenting with Brick-and-Mortar 2.0, developiong wholesale and distribution relationships, pop-ups, brand collaborations and sending old-fashioned catalogs through the mail.
“From the beginning,” Vincent told me, “we wanted to showcase our collection in physical stores.” Vincent worked hard to build relationships with physical retailers, and today has about 50 stores who distribute lundi’s collection, mainly in Europe.
Those physical stores offer “a very important way to create contact with our customers — We are present in beautiful textile stores, independent boutiques as well as big department stores,” he said.
He also points back to lundi’s website, where sales have increased steadily over hte years. “Nice pictures and videos are a good way to help appeal to customers who might be choosing their product behind their computer or smartphone,” Vincent said.
Other entrepreneurs, like Seph Skerritt, founder of online made-to-measure shirting company Proper Cloth, that I’ve interviewed here at Modern Fellows have emphasized how important their product photography and presentation is to their ability to attract customers. lundi’s website is awash in vivid product and lifestyle imagery that help potential customers imagine themselves holding their bags, backpacks and briefcases.
Vincent also pointed to the importance of lundi’s no-hassle return policy as helping build trust with customers, noting that, when you buy on lundi’s web shop, you have 14 days to send us back your product if you are not happy with it.
That kind of guarantee helps people become more comfortable buying without touching the product in advance.
Looking Ahead: Women’s Bags and Office Furniture Further Expansion
I asked Vincent where he wants to take lundi in the next couple of years.
He noted that lundi started deliberately with men’s bags and has already expanded to developing office accessories.
“The next step will be to launch a woman collection of business bags,” said Vincent, which lundi expects to launch in 2023.
From there, Vincent is thinking through additional product lines, including office furniture, which will be designed with the same thoughtful focus on minimalism and functionality.
“This has been our goal since the beginning,” said Vincent.
Photo credit: All photos courtesy of lundi
About JakeJake is an expert on men’s style and fashion based in Washington, DC. He founded Modern Fellows in 2012 to get to know the entrepreneurs and innovative clothing and lifestyle brands helping men dress sharp in the digital age. He has published hundreds of articles on style and apparel, and regularly interviews small business CEOs and startup founders about industry trends. Jake has written about entrepreneurship, international business and fashion for outlets including Business Week, Forbes, Inc., Details Style Syndicate and Primer Magazine.
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