Tumi helps the well-heeled get where they're going in style. The high-end designer and manufacturer, named after an ancient ceremonial knife, makes travel gear (including suitcases and backpacks) and caters to corporate travelers with precious cargo, as the company has its own Tumi Tracer tracking system for retrieving lost bags. Tumi, which makes Ducati luggage under license, also offers laptop covers, wallets, belts, phone chargers, and other accessories. Its products are sold in the US and in 70 other countries through about 100 of its own retail stores, websites, and upscale department and specialty stores. A unit of investment firm Doughty Hanson, Tumi went public in 2012.
Netting about $264 million through its initial public offering, the luggage and accessories retailer plans to use the proceeds to repurchase preferred stock and some of its common stock as it reorganizes its business, including rolling Doughty Hanson-owned subsidiary Tumi II, LLC, into its operations.
Beyond Tumi's IPO, the company's is expanding its network of company-owned stores. It targets affluent markets with locations in upscale malls as well as street boutiques. Through 2015, Tumi plans to more than triple its company-owned stores in North America and internationally.
Tumi's business is divided into two segments: direct-to-consumer and indirect-to-consumer. Representing 47% of its 2010 sales, Tumi's direct-to-consumer business operates 96 company-owned locations, which include full-price stores, outlet stores, and e-commerce websites. The company also sells its products indirectly through partner stores, specialty luggage wholesale distributors, retail concessions within upscale department stores, and third-party websites such as Amazon.com, Zappos.com, and those operated by major department stores. This segment generated 53% of Tumi's 2010 revenue.
The company sells its products at Bloomingdales, Harrods, Lane Crawford, Neiman Marcus, and other leading retailers. Tumi's own stores are located in major cosmopolitan cities, including Chicago, London, Los Angeles, Rome, New York, Paris, and Tokyo. New markets for Tumi include Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. To support its international reach, the company boasts global distribution through three warehouses located in the US, Europe, and Asia. Tumi sources its products through suppliers based in Asia and the Caribbean.
Aiming to take a larger share of the luxury goods market, Tumi has been positioning itself as a lifestyle brand in recent years. It makes a line of motorcycle-inspired bags through a partnership with Ducati, sells Tumi-branded activewear via a deal with Umbro, collaborates with Germany's Carl Zeiss for lenses that can repel dirt, dust, oil, and water, and pumps out travel speakers and phone chargers. The company also unveiled its Traverso collection of eyewear in 2011. By expanding its accessory offerings, Tumi believes it can better compete with well-known luxury brands, such as Coach and Louis Vuitton.
Tumi executives are focused on growing the company's upscale (virtually recession-proof) clientele. To this end, Jerome Griffith was named CEO of Tumi in 2009 following the retirement of Laurence Franklin in April. Griffith had been president of Espirit North America from 2002 until early 2009. He has logged more than 20 years in the retail industry, working with such brands as Coach, Tommy Hilfiger, The Gap, and Lord & Taylor.
Charlie Clifford founded Tumi in 1975 after a Peace Corps stint in Peru. – less