There are many laptop backpack providers to choose from, but Solo stands above the rest. Founded in 2008, Solo provides thoughtfully-designed bags and tablet cases. Its collection of backpacks, briefcases, totes, and duffels are incredible. Inspired by the streets of New York, Solo offers some of the most well-designed laptop accessories in the market.
As Solo launches its newest collection, Tech Times decided to sit down with Serkan Ozturkcan, the company's Vice President of Marketing, to discuss its history, its mission, and what drives Solo's success.
How did Solo New York begin? Who is the founder?
Serkan Ozturkcan: Solo New York started out back in 2008 with — admittedly — some pretty nondescript black attache cases and briefcases for business travelers and professionals. Jon Davies is the President of Solo, and we are a division of US Luggage Co., a private, third-generation family-owned and -operated company based in New York. We're excited to be celebrating our 10th Anniversary this year.
What was the first product sold by Solo and when?
Serkan Ozturkcan: Our first line of products were attache bags and rolling bags but we quickly expanded and started to integrate more robust and youthful designs and styles into our assortment. Today, we offer a sizable line of backpacks, totes, sleeves, duffels, briefcases, hybrids, and tablet cases. True to our roots, we still make bags for the urban professional and are coming out with new collections all the time.
What is the best selling/most popular product now?
Serkan Ozturkcan: Our Duane hybrid backpack/briefcase, according to data by The NPD Group, is one of the top sellers in the entire U.S. market in NPD's backpack and briefcase categories. But our newest collections — Varsity, a collegiate athletics-inspired collection; Roadster, a luxury black leather collection with heritage moto feel and tones; and the Highland collection, soft waxed-canvas backpacks and briefcases, are all really hot right now.
What is the biggest business challenge ever faced by Solo?
Serkan Ozturkcan: About eight years ago we started to bring some really unique - and in the industry one might say radical - designs to the market, and we certainly shocked a few people. But we kept at it - changing our designs and bringing new concepts and new materials to the table. It was a big challenge at that time but it really paid off for us to stick with our desire to shake things up and keep looking ahead.
What is the price range for each type of Solo's products?
Serkan Ozturkcan: Our products range from tablet and laptop sleeves starting around $20 to our the Bayside Leather duffel at $300, part of our Roadster Collection. But our best selling bags are typically in the $50 to $80 range, demonstrating our commitment to making great design accessible to the masses.
What are the latest and upcoming Solo products?
Serkan Ozturkcan: We've got some very exciting new designs in the works, as well as additions and changes to existing collections. The Upland Collection will be out soon, and we'll have several totally new designs for the Varsity Collection, as well as new colorways for the popular Varsity Draft backpack. We're also at the concept stage of some collaborations, and very excited about that potential.
What countries are Solo products sold and what platforms?
Serkan Ozturkcan: We sell in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, online at solo-ny.com, and on Amazon.com. Select Solo New York collections are available in Macy's, Best Buy, Staples, Wal-Mart and Target stores. We have a new collection coming out in collaboration with Macy's soon and we also recently started working with several airport retailers, so travelers will be able to check out and pick up Solo New York designs on the move.
Name the three best testimonials from Solo customers.
"Not only does Solo have excellent, well-designed products, but the customer service I experienced was second to none. Many thanks again to all involved."
"I am a customer for life."
"I love my Solo bag. I have owned this bag for over 10 years. It is very durable and always looks great!"
How are Solo New York products different than those made by competitors?
Serkan Ozturkcan: We put a huge amount of time and emphasis on design. It's an incredibly thorough and meticulous process. Where we stand out is in the unique blend of design, functionality, and style — all of our bags have storage and protection for tech — and all at a fair price, and all come with great style. There are very few companies at the level of national distribution and partnerships with major retailers who are bringing different designs to the table, year-after-year. As can be expected, every bag design is not always a hit, but you have to keep trying new things to keep it fresh, exciting and to bring winning designs. It's similar to the style of New York — it can move fast, but certain designs are timeless.
Where are Solo's customers mostly located?
Serkan Ozturkcan: The majority of our customers are based in North America, but we are expanding overseas with distribution partners and seeing a solid response worldwide. It's always fun to see images come in from across the globe on Instagram and other social channels with people carrying our bags in Tokyo, Berlin — you name it. We love to see this and encourage people to jump in and share their Solo bag moment with us with hashtag #MySoloBag.
What is Solo's business mission?
Serkan Ozturkcan: Our mission is to keep you moving in style. We are part of people's everyday life, we understand our customers are carrying their lives with them every day and we want to facilitate their journey and do it in style and feel good about themselves. This also ties back to our founding motto which was to shake up the boring bag industry.
Is Solo doing anything to help the environment?
Serkan Ozturkcan: Our global headquarters runs entirely on solar power to reduce our carbon footprint.
What drives Solo's success?
Serkan Ozturkcan: It's the design piece and the dedication to consistently coming up with the new and unique that appeals to our customers, urban creatives, young professionals and people who look for stylish products at accessible price points. People have loved all of our new collections, and it's quite common for people to be absolutely shocked (in a good way) when they hear the price. Solo New York products punch way above the price tag in terms of style, functionality, and durability. Our customer service team is also a huge asset, and they're really good at working with people to make sure they're happy. In the end, it's all about happy customers who become Solo fans for life, and giving them a reason to come back and see what's new on a regular basis.