Nomad Lane Co-Founder Vanessa Jeswani is Pivoting her Travel Brand to Cater to Road Trips and Remote Work Needs.

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Explore how Nomad Lane is adjusting its product line and messaging and giving back to the community in the face of COVID-19.

About Nomad Lane

Founded by Vanessa Jeswani and Kish Vasnani, Nomad Lane is focused on creating versatile bags for professionals to transition from business to leisure to travel. Nomad Lane is a great example of the kind of digital-native, direct-to-consumer brand helping men and women dress sharp in the digital age.

Their well-regarded signature “Bento Bag” can pull duty as a briefcase, duffel, weekender, or under-seat personal item on an airplane. The company advertises the Bento as “the most thoughtful travel bag ever” in its extremely successful Indiegogo campaign.

Photo courtesy of Nomad Lane.

Pivoting to cater to road trips and remote work needs

I asked Vanessa about the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on her business.

She told me that, prior to COVID-19, Nomad Lane’s average monthly growth rate for the last 6 months was an astonishing 2,783%.

“As expected, the travel and hospitality industries have been severely impacted by COVID-19,” she observed, adding that, since business travelers have been grounded, “our sales dropped overnight.”

Like other brands such as Stryx, which adjusted its messaging to emphasize how its products can help you look good on Zoom calls, and Ministry of Supply, which shifted to 3D-printing washable face masks, Nomad Lane is working to pivot its positioning and product road-map.

Vanessa says their goal is “to cater to the new habits of our customers, which will most likely involve more road trips versus traveling by plane.”

They are also looking to meet new work-from-home needs as well as greater attention to sanitation when traveling by plane.

Photo courtesy of Nomad Lane.

The benefits of a global supply chain, and honesty

From a manufacturing standpoint, Vanessa noted that Nomad Lane spent the past year “creating a more global supply chain, so we were able to pick up fairly quickly once safety precautions were in place.”

She observed that, “we experienced some minor delays in our supply chain, but we were able to be transparent about that with our customers.”

Understanding their customers’ new normal

Vanessa mentioned that Nomad Lane is a small team that has always worked remotely, so their day-to-day has not changed dramatically.

“We’re actually in a good position to understand the new normal for our customers,” she said.

“We’ve always relied on virtual chats and video calls to keep in contact with our partners and continue to do so with increased frequency.”

How Nomad Lane is contributing to the community

Nomad Lane is a member of the Brands for Better coalition, which brings together 100+ brands committed to providing aid during the COVID-19 crisis.

Companies involved in the coalition pledge to adhere to the “10+ movement,” which involves donating 2% of sales or 10% of their profits to charity during the coronavirus crisis, delivering “additional value” to customers who support their brands, and tracking and reporting contributions to COVID-19 relief.

Nomad Lane has committed 2% of all sales to Direct Relief.

“We’ve also recently donated to the Loveland Foundation, which provides financial assistance to black women and girls seeking mental health support,” added Vanessa.

Photo courtesy of Nomad Lane.

Supporting small businesses like Nomad Lane

“Small businesses were severely impacted by COVID-19,” notes Vanessa, “so we encourage others to shop small wherever possible.”

She added that, “it’s also important to support businesses that align with your beliefs.”

For more ideas of brands to support who are making a difference, explore how founders leading other brands involved in the Brandsxbetter campaign are giving back including Wolf and Shepherd’s Justin Schneider, Rumpl CEO Wylie Robinson, and Ministry of Supply’s Aman Advani.

With localized travel starting to pick back up again, Nomad Lane offers an attractive option for travelers who need a bag that can help keep them organized on the road.

Their hero product, the Bento Bag, has pockets for everything a responsible traveler might need, including hand sanitizer, face masks, and cleaning wipes.

As of this writing, Nomad Lane is running a sale, taking a $30 discount off its Bento Bag (coupon is automatically applied at checkout).

If you need to buy a washable face mask to stash in that travel bag, see Modern Fellows’ guide to where to buy reusable facemasks for adults and kids.

For even more ways to support innovative startups and small business, grab a pair of blue-light blocking glasses, explore performance professional clothing options to get through video-conferences in comfort and style, check out direct-to-consumer alternatives to J. Crew and discover fresh brands like Brooks Brothers.


About Jake

Jake is passionate about exploring entrepreneurs' global journeys. He founded Modern Fellows in 2012 to get to know the entrepreneurs behind the innovative brands helping men dress sharp in the digital age.  Jake has written about entrepreneurship, international business and/or fashion for outlets including Business Week, Forbes, Inc., Details Style Syndicate and Primer Magazine, and has provided analysis on international business for BBC Radio, NBC News, CNN and Time Magazine.

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