The Melbourne-based luggage startup will be the official luggage supplier for Australia’s 2022 Commonwealth Games team in July.
The partnership will see July provide luggage to Australian athletes taking part in the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, with the opening ceremony taking place on Friday morning (AEST).
Co-founded by Athan Didaskalou and Richard Li in 2018, July quickly went from strength to strength with a $10.5m funding round secured just nine months after launch.
But with the COVID-19 pandemic bringing the entire travel industry to a halt, the past two years have been tough for the luggage industry.
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Less travel means less suitcase shopping, after all.
Talk with SmartCompanyJuly chief executive Zhoe Low said the brand’s revenue was down 90% during the pandemic.
The team spent time working on its comeback and doubling down on product development, Low says, and despite the challenges, July overcame the turbulence head-on, focusing on the US market in 2021 while travel was still on. stalled in Australia.
And the pivot paid off, with the co-founders reporting such strong success in the US market that they “couldn’t keep up.”
With Australia travel back on the radar, the Founders’ focus has shifted back to Down Under – and to our homegrown athletes.
Low says a partnership like this – “being the official luggage supplier for Australia’s top athletes on the international stage” – is a huge achievement for the company.
“We’ve only been around for four years, first launching a single product, the July Carry On, in 2019, so we’re truly honored to be a part of it in what still feels like the early stages of our brand journey. “said Low.
This first July Carry On product is exactly what Australian athletes will be using, with July working closely with the Commonwealth Games team to create a limited, personalized version of the suitcase for Australian athletes.
From Beijing to Birmingham
News of the Commonwealth Games partnership comes just months after July became the official supplier to Australia’s Winter Olympics team.
In February, the start-up provided its branded lightweight cases – branded with the Australian Olympic badge – to those taking part in the Beijing Winter Games.
Low says the two partnerships were struck by the Olympics and Commonwealth Games committees in the run up to July, which is a “true testament” to the brand’s products.
Talk to SmartCompany earlier this year about the Olympic partnership, Didaskalou said it was “every brand’s dream” to work with and support the national Olympic team.
The July team submitted an offer, explaining what they could offer and what the business was about, he explains. The fact that July – a relatively young Australian startup – was selected, marked a moment of “maturity” for the company.
“These types of organizations are looking for young Aussies to help support the team,” he noted.
“We were thrilled with the opportunity.”
For Didaskalou and Li, these national victories are also symbolic for July in a different way, as it is an immigrant-run business.
Li is originally from China and Didaskalou’s grandparents arrived in Australia around 70 years ago.
“They would think it’s a proud moment for them – that their grandchildren have a business that supports the national team,” Didaskalou said. SmartCompany last year, a sentiment that will also ring true for the Commonwealth Games opportunity.
“It’s just like a really special thing.”