Mesa company looks to make luggage different - East Valley Tribune: Mesa

Mesa company looks to make luggage different

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Posted: Wednesday, December 15, 2010 1:45 pm

The holidays are here and people are traveling every day.

For some people, the most stressful part of a trip is dealing with luggage. Imagine waiting at the luggage carousel to locate your ordinary black suitcase, thinking you’ve got it only to look at the tag and realize it’s not yours. Repeat this a few more times until you find your bag.

In 2007 Rebecca Myers and Rhonda Hunt, an aunt and niece, were at an airport in Las Vegas when they encountered a similar situation.

They reached for bags that weren’t theirs, and realized they were tired of doing that.

Myers and Hunt were on vacation to come up with an idea for a business, and after they went through the baggage experience, they realized that they wanted to create something to differentiate suitcases.

Myers and Hunt went to the nearest store to purchase colored tape, and immediately started experimenting with different designs on their suitcases, and so BagTats was created.

BagTats produces stickers for luggage and backpacks. The name BagTats stands for “baggage tattoos.”

Each bagtat can be easily put on suitcases and easily removed. The average life of a bagtat is five trips.

“You can see your bag the minute it comes down the vault,” Hunt said.

BagTats is run out of Hunt’s home in Mesa. The company sells its products from its website BagTats.com.

Having a company that does everything online is ideal for BagTats since it has a third employee, Cheryl Gleich, who works out of her home in Texas. Gleich is in charge of the technology aspect of the company; she does all of the troubleshooting and processing of images.

Some of the company’s images have been purchased from companies that sell images, and others have been custom designed.

“Some are custom images from tattoo artists,” Myers said. “There is no limit to what you can do.”

Customers can also submit images of their children or pets to create their own bagtats.

The biggest challenge for BagTats has been publicizing the company.

BagTats recently started a trial commercial with As Seen on TV.

“We have a commercial airing right now with marketing company in Kansas, and we’re anxious to hear about the success of that,” Hunt said. “We’ve also seen an increase in business since the holidays are here.”

The commercial airs in Dallas, New York, Los Angeles and Florida. There are four designs offered through the commercial and four price packages. The most popular package is the one for $19.99, which offers six bagtats.

Myers and Hunt are working on redesigning the packaging to make it more appealing.

“As soon as we change our packaging, we’re going to hit the streets and do word of mouth marketing locally,” Hunt said.

BagTats has already made small strides towards reaching the local market.

In 2009 BagTats reached out to the speech and debate team at Dobson High School in Mesa to offer them a trial of BagTats.

Myers and Hunt designed bagtats for the team that displayed Dobson’s mascot, a mustang, along with the speech and debate lettering and the name of each individual person.

Dobson’s speech and debate coach Jane Trayer said that team now uses bagtats every time it travels. The team comprises about 30 people who all have luggage and boxes of evidence to take with them.

“It cut our time in half,” Trayer said. “All of those bags look alike, and you just spot your bag with the big sticker on there.”

Before using bagtats, each student had to find his or her individual bag, and now the whole team is able to recognize each other’s bags.

The Dobson speech and debate team plans to use the bagtats again this year, and will purchase new bagtats for new members.

BagTats now works with schools in Mesa to provide opportunities for fundraisers. Rather than selling candy to raise money, students can sell bagtats.

Hunt and Myers hope to see BagTats expand, and be something that every traveler needs.

“We’re trying to get into retail,” Myers said. “With this commercial, we’ll hopefully be in Walgreens and other stores that carry As Seen On TV products.”

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