I was surprised from the first words out of Robert’s mouth. We launched last year and have received press in almost every major publication possible. All the people that call and email are amazed by our service. People I tell on the street always love what we are doing, and they can’t believe they’ve never heard of it before. I spent many months preparing for the show as my business was doubling in sales each month on nothing more than $100 Google Adwords budget and free PR I was able to get for us with some help from my friends. So, yes, I was very surprised that they never embraced it. Lori is the only one that said she liked the idea. I think Kevin thought it could work under the right partnerships. Robert wanted it to be a premium service at double the price, and Mark wanted it to be simpler to understand and marketed more aggressively. Overall, I was prepared for multiple offers because of our business model and 33 percent margins (that part didn’t air). I thought they would see the value and how scalable the service is since we are relaying on existing infrastructures with larger couriers with a little local support from our private courier network for white glove service options. LugLess, can literally be run from anywhere in the world with only a phone and Internet connection.
The LugLess Angle
Q: Mark at one point said that you need an angle that differentiates you and smacks people in the face. Do you feel like LugLess, now as opposed to when you went on the show, has that angle completely figured out?
I think it was good advice. I think we are in a tough growing industry. We are a disrupt brand and changing the travel habits of people conditioned to lug their bags everywhere since the caveman days. Also, since 2008 travelers have been conditioned to slowly pay more each year on baggage fees and pay to lug their bags. We are now at 6 billion in revenue collected from baggage fees and airlines still lose over 25 million bags at the same time. I think enough travelers know this and see us as a great alternative. However, we will be making our service even easier to understand to cut through the clutter of anyone else in the space. We are fully automated with our order process, however we now realize that we need even simpler messaging to get this new concept and service understood by the masses.
Q: We asked fans of the show on Twitter if they’d use a door-to-door luggage service such as yours and the response was very positive. Are you still looking for an outside investment?
I am sure the response was positive. We’ve had positive responses from all Shark Tank fans so far. I am blown aback by the support so far on Facebook, Twitter, and in emails. Yes, we are actively seeking investment. We placed our valuation for show lower than it should have been based on the show dynamics and our revenue at the time . We are seeking 200,000-300,000 to rapidly expand.
The Future of LugLess
Q: What’s next for LugLess?
We are finalizing partnerships with a few boutique hotel chains and travel portals. This should help define us and place us in the booking path for hotel guests around the world. Once we can prove we belong in the booking path as an option for travelers, we should see our service take off rapidly with other travel partners that want a new service perk or value add on for their customers. The problem is people do not know we even exist, hopefully the show and these partnerships will tip the scale for us and expand our customer base and marketing capabilities for 2013.
Q: How can fans of the show show their support for LugLess?
They can help spread the word on Facebook and Twitter. They can sign up for our service at lugless.com and give it a test drive. Once someone uses LugLess, they often come back. Once you know how it feels to travel without the baggage and get to avoid long check in lines, extra security, and baggage claim areas it’s a no brainer for savvy travelers.