TGA Product Awards

Show-Stoppers from New Orleans and The 2020 Travel Goods Show

No one travels alone. We might venture forth without a companion, but no one journeys unaccompanied – we always bring stuff. This is the foundation of our business, the travel gear that enables us to bring our essentials – and by extension, shapes the way the world travels.

The Product Innovation Awards recognize the new items that are poised to make the most impact for travelers, and stand out on the sales floor. Products are vetted from exhibitor rank submissions found in the New Products Pavilion and are analyzed and discussed by the Product Innovation Awards Committee’s six retailer members. The criteria are simple: Will the item have a positive impact on travelers, and will it sell at the retail level?

Show exhibitors submit items for consideration in their categories:

  • Best New Design – Luggage
  • Best New Design – Backpack
  • Best New Design – Accessories
  • Best Use of Technology
  • Most Eco-Friendly Product

The committee evaluates, discusses and muses – its members include independent stores, online vendors and national chains – and based on what they feel will generate the most excitement and sales-floor snap, they vote on the winners.

A winning lineup: Product Innovation Award winners. From left to right: Lisa Ligon of AeroPress, Muri Mahmoud of Standley, Eyal Azoulay from Rollink Smart Products, Product Innovation Awards Committee Chair Jerry Kallman, George Wheeler of Lightload Towels and Jason Wang and Angela Tien of UNO Voyage.

Best New Design – Luggage:

Rollink Flex 21”

The concept of a collapsible, folding suitcase is an idea that never goes away. But while the concept has undeniable appeal, the execution has been elusive. Until now.

First-time exhibitor Rollink Smart Products debuted its Rollink Flex 21” suitcase in New Orleans, and it was an instant attention getter. The design is best described as a hardside/soft case hybrid, with polypropylene front and back panels spanned by polyester fabric that enable the case – nominally 21.6” x 15.7” in profile – to collapse from its 7.8” fully packed thickness to a slender 2”.

At 2” thickness, the Flex 21” easily slides under beds and even into gaps like that wasted space between the wall and dresser. It’s only a 2-wheeler, not a spinner, but makes up for it with its clever fold-up feature. To fold you simply unzip, open, reposition the four hinged panels within and the Flex 21” collapses to minimal width like a house of cards.

It’s also admirably light, with 2,440 cubic inches/40 liters of capacity but weighing in at 4.8 lbs. It comes in a fun array of colors: black with yellow, turquoise, pink, mint or gray.

And with an MSRP of $80, the Flex 21” fits slender budgets as well as it fits in tight quarters.


The Buzz Award:

Rollink Flex 21”

Rollink Smart Products was able to double dip at this year’s TGA Show awards, landing the Best New Luggage prize with its clever collapsing luggage. And it took home the Buzz Award, voted on by attending retailers and media, as the most attention-getting item in the New Products Pavilion.

The Flex 21” was helped, no doubt, by its intuitively understood benefit – tiny storage volume – and its fun array of available colors, which made for an eye-catching backdrop in Rollink’s booth.

If this was able to catch retailers’ attention, it will likely work the same magic with consumers who get to witness its shape-shifting transformation from easily stowed 2”thick storage mode to cabin-size carry-on. And if consumers buzz about it, they’ll hopefully buy as well.

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