Solgaard is a Brand We Love!
Solgaard defines itself as a “design-driven, sustainable luxury brand always ready for adventure.” Solgaard was launched via Kickstarter in 2018 by Founder and CEO Adrian Solgaard. The company manufactures and sells suitcases and backpacks, as well as watches and a solar boombox. The company’s mission is to offer premium products that improve life on the go. Its Canadian Norwegian founder also wants the products to be ethically made, sustainably sourced, and accessible to all. Those are lofty ambitions, especially pursued in combination with one another. If the first few years of the company’s existence are any indication, Solgaard is well on its way, and it all starts with products. These are only a few reasons why we say Solgaard is a brand we love!
A Stolen Backpack Triggers the Story
A stolen backpack triggered the Solgaard story. When a friend’s backpack was stolen, Adrian asked his friends what features would be required to make the perfect bag. That led to the 2016 Kickstarter launch of the first Solgaard backpack design. The Lifepack—a solar-powered, anti-theft laptop backpack widely applauded for its innovative features. Solarbank and Solar Boombox compatible, the original Lifepack also had an integrated USB port for charging, a patented anti-theft lock, and a water-resistant bottom. CNET called it the best laptop backpack to travel with. In June 2017, Solgaard followed the Lifepack with the Hustle. It was designed with an original shape to be the perfect daily backpack. A year later, Solgaard unveiled their hex watch collection. It features a hexagonal design that, according to the company, allows you to tell time faster.
Solgaard is based in New York City and has remote employees scattered around the world. Solgaard says its audience is “global citizens” who desire premium gear. Adrian Solgaard has a bit of a history of launching premium products. Prior to creating Solgaard, he invented InterLock. A bicycle-locking system that hides inside the seat post of the bike when not in use.
His affinity for product design is clear on the Solgaard.co (not .com) product pages. There you will see suitcases categorized by whether you want to travel with a check-in piece of luggage or a carry-on. From there, each piece of luggage clearly indicates how long a trip you might take with it and how many outfits you will be able to pack inside. Every product page on the website also has a simple section called “Why We Made It.” In the case of the Carry-On Closet, Adrian Solgaard realized after three years of living on the road that keeping a tidy room was impossible. Named one of the best travel inventions of 2018 by TIME, the Carry-On Closet has a patented, built-in shelving system that eliminates the disorganization that comes with unpacking at your destination.
Recycling, Upcycling, and Becoming “Plastic Negative”
The Carry-On Closet product page states the suitcase “saves 229 plastic bottles from the ocean.” That’s because, for every product Solgaard sells, the company has pledged to stop five pounds of plastic from entering the ocean. Recognizing that 1,000 of the world’s rivers are responsible for 80 percent of ocean plastic, Solgaard’s “big mission” is to stop the flow of plastic and help cut ocean plastic in half by 2025.
The company has partnered with various groups in the Philippines, Indonesia, and China who work with local teams to create jobs for communities to collect plastic headed toward the ocean. From there, that plastic can be upcycled to make new products. For every item sold, Solgaard says that it saves 229 plastic bottles from entering the earth’s oceans; with its plastic-collection partners, the company has saved more than 30 million plastic bottles since 2019. In 2021, the company achieved its sustainability goal of being “plastic negative.”
A number of Solgaard products are now constructed from Shore-TexTM fabric and Shore-PlastTM (high-impact, durable material made from ocean-bound plastic). The Shore-TexTM line of Solgaard bags is made from ocean-bound plastics collected in the Philippines. They are recycled, made into fabric in Taiwan, and sewn together in China. In the future, Adrian Solgaard hopes there will be a place to perform the whole process in one place. The company also uses recycled polycarbonate to make the durable, hard-shell exterior of their luggage. They also use ReLux, a fabric constructed from excess luxury-handbag material. The frame in the Carry-On Closet is made from recycled aluminum.
All those recycled materials don’t compromise durability, either. Solgaard has a 10-year warranty on all suitcases, a 24-month warranty on all bags, and a one-year warranty on all electronics. By the way, the company also promises that all orders will be processed within one to two business days. Free shipping is available on orders over $100 in the continental United States.
Content, Digital, and Social Marketing
On the content and digital marketing side, Solgaard, co-features a “Stories” section with travel tips. They also provide lifestyle tips, city guides, and advice on battling jet lag. Want to know where to catch the best spring flowers around the world or how to travel like a pro in Lisbon? Solgaard’s blog has you covered. On YouTube, the brand’s video content includes three-minute videos with tips for traveling to cities such as London, Paris, and New York City. They also have how-to clips offering lessons on packing your stuff into certain suitcases. Solgaard also offers instructional videos on how the Solarbank works and how to pair your Solarbank Boombox.
On Instagram, Solgaard shows off its personality to 100,000-plus followers. They share witty travel videos, humorous photos of people on their adventures, and beautiful snaps from far-off destinations such as Iceland and Norway. They also use social media to do promotional giveaways with partners such as Kosan Travel, a clothing brand with a similar ethical mindset. But it’s not all about self-promotion.
Solgaard has earned its fair share of press coverage the old-fashioned way. They have an innovative product design that draws the attention of the media. The big media fish who have been hooked by the Solgaard PR line include Rolling Stone, Esquire, Popular Mechanics, and Wired. The latter listed the Carry-On Closet as one of its “27 Favorite Products Made of Recycled and Upcycled Materials” in 2022. While Fast Company called Shore-TexTM one of 2020’s “world-changing ideas.”
Building Community through Digital Marketing
Solgaard also hosts an online travel club, the Solgaard Circle, which is accessible through the company website. The Solgaard Circle allows members to come together to share travel insights. This includes popular destinations, getting advanced looks at new products, and listening to experts talk about travel, sustainability, and productivity. One recent post encouraged members to enter a contest to win $50 in Solgaard credit by simply sharing a photo that shows how they pack for a weekend getaway. The Solgaard Circle even boasts private spaces where members can connect and hang out while talking about travel destinations. It seems there are plenty of global citizens who want to shop responsibly. They are willing to choose sustainability without sacrificing premium quality, as Solgaard’s founder likes to say.
For their commitment to environmentalism, product ingenuity, and community building within their target audience, we are excited to call Solgaard a Brand We Love!