Starting with his Airforce career, G-RO founder Netta Dor Shalgi found himself traveling aggressively around the world, lugging lots of equipment, and ultimately breaking every single piece of luggage he used. Seeing the world from this perspective, with his extensive experience with luggage wheels he quickly realized that the industry standards and the offerings on the current market are not in line with the requirements of people with an aggressive/busy traveling profile.
The Luggage Industry vs The Modern Traveler
After completing his service, while in university studying industrial design, he began to take his first steps as a designer, and immediately saw that luggage can and should be better. But, the process that leads to the construction of luggage today is lead by an industry that has only marginally evolved from the past – beginning in the days of traveling with trunks to the days of passengers crossing the Atlantic in ocean liners. No one has ever revolutionized the luggage concept.
Meanwhile, the behavior of traveler has been affected by many factors and has changed entirely. First with the continuous advances in technology – computers that have dramatically shrunken, and smart phones that together let people work remotely from anywhere. Second, the revolution in air travel that has made it much more accessible, both with reduction in prices and increased availability of flights. Third is the general globalization trend. Between these dramatic changes, a new type of traveler has emerged that simply didn’t exist before.
A Gap in the Industry
This evolution in the traveling profile has really emphasized the fact that the current luggage industry is not supporting the new lifestyle of modern travelers. The new traveler is still restrained by the notions of the old industry because no one has constructed luggage accommodating those modern needs. The luggage industry is an old, traditional industry – the disconnect has become increasingly larger between the real needs of modern travelers and the industry offering.
So, how do you build a better luggage? How do you actually execute this concept?
By changing the process.
1. Researching & Understanding: Instead of starting with the industry capabilities, we researched extensively the different problems that people have with luggage. This helps us prioritize what to solve first and what will be solved later, with the intention to solve every problem.
2. Moving Forward: developing our own components according to our research, that go along with solving the problems that we’ve found, primarily not using off-the-shelf components, instead of accepting the industry standards, taking the same components, and getting essentially the same result as everybody else. Since we are inspired to create a different result, we needed to create a different process.
3. Achieving Results: we understand the toll it will take on the company in R&D, development, and material science, and then with an understanding of what is achievable , what needs to be done, and what is correct commercially, we hit the ground running and don’t stop until we achieve the result we want.
We are a very small company with a small R&D team and we’re conducting large operations through our own unique method. We are a paperless company, mainly because our R&D team members are constantly traveling and collaborating remotely. Our process begins with LOTS of very extensive research, the findings of which are eventually narrowed down to a singular document: the design brief. This document takes these findings and translates them into clear objectives to deliver in our product design. It acts as the architectural framework for the design and includes every detail that will be incorporated in the product.
Then, there are three steps in our design process:
1. Architecture: the “pillar” of the design. This includes all the detail about what the product will do, how it will function, what features it will include, and what the product will accomplish for the user.
2. Mechanics: after we know what we want to build and we’ve laid out the frame, we begin to execute it and decide on the materials, how things are going to perform, and how everything will work mechanically. This is where many considerations come into play, such as manufacturing and logistics capability.
3. Cosmetics: the cosmetic decisions complete the process and include all of the aesthetic and branding decisions that do not affect the performance of the product. This includes commercial aspects such as color (outside and inside), textures of the lining and exterior, density of the mesh, and zippers that are not structural, as well as identifying and addressing potential concerns like scratching or fading.
As we go through each step, factors inevitably arise and affect the previous steps. For example, we might find that a certain feature we planned to include in the architecture was not mechanically possible to implement. At that point, we would revisit the previous step and find the best way to update our plans and move forward.
At G-RO, everything we do is driven by a unique philosophy: “Serve. Heal. Inspire.” Based on our core values, this concept was coined by our founder, Netta Dor Shalgi.
This philosophy centers on the belief that happiness is driven by a person’s sense of purpose, and that everyone should work throughout their life to find and pursue their unique purpose. This is usually related to something that is much bigger than us and ultimately comes down to service.
This service to a greater purpose is something that is not done for egotistical or superficial reasons, although it is likely to result in a feeling of fulfillment for the servant. The focus is on serving the purpose as best as possible and the reason for doing it is not for any sort of personal gain. How to reach and serve this sense of purpose depends on each person’s unique gifts and passions.
NDS channels his talent for design into serving travelers all over by creating products that improve the way they travel and ease their burdens. Because he’s so passionate about this and it gives him a strong sense of purpose, doing the work never feels like a job to him. When he and the rest of our design team create a product, they are constantly considering how that product will serve all of its users and never about their own preferences of the affect of its success on their lives. For instance, we want to create the best bags for our end users to travel with, but we don’t want that product to be difficult to produce and make our production line workers’ lives difficult and unenjoyable. So, we work hard to create easy-to-assemble products.
We also serve our customers by making as many of the parts of our bags replaceable as possible, and easily replaceable for anyone. For instance, we secure our components with screws instead of rivets so that special tools are not needed. We also incorporate modularity in our designs – meaning that as you assemble more of the product, it doesn’t block access to earlier components – so you don’t have to disassemble the bag to change one component. These features of the design make things easier on the users in case anything ever goes wrong with the bag.
“Heal” refers to a specific way of channeling service. It refers to taking a place, physical, conceptual, spiritual, or even a person, and healing that place—improving it in some way. The goal should always be to leave each place a little better than you found it. You should be focused on that place and not on yourself, and specifically focused on how you can improve it. This is a natural continuation of service – to serve by healing. The most effective form of healing is achieved through conduction; instead of just healing a place yourself, improve it continuously and, when possible, teach it to heal itself.
To help somebody heal themself requires a lot of energy from the healer. Ideally, we want to awaken this desire in everyone to heal themselves, but it takes motivation and inspiration. You can push someone to do something, but that you are limited in energy and you can only do so much. So, to ignite this process on a larger scale, you have to help others by inspiring them to find their own energy internally and push forward. By moving people to push themselves, you are creating real, lasting change instead of short-term, local results.
When someone is inspired, they are healed and can then spread the action and energy by serving, healing and inspiring others – this cycle creates a ripple effect. Inspiring people is like a call to action for those you inspire to continue the cycle.
At G-RO, we inspire people to think outside the box. We dare to create new solutions, dare to make mistakes, dare to reach and go to places where nobody else is going because it’s hard. By doing this, we’re inspiring a lot of people work on themselves and to do what they need to do in their own life and path toward self-fulfillment.
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