October 30 2018  |  Fashion, Bags & Accessories

Luggage brand Zero Halliburton takes a distinctive approach to travel retail

By Jas Ryat

Niche brand Zero Halliburton is ready to make its duty free debut

US-based luggage brand Zero Halliburton has launched into the travel retail market with its aluminum range of cases, first entering the market with DFS.

The Geo Collection is the star collection, and the best-selling product is the 22-inch carry-on in aluminum

The 80-year-old brand uses aluminium as its core material

The Classic Aluminum Collection, which recalls the original cases that company founder Earl Halliburton produced in 1938, features a signature double-ribbed design which has been consistent with the brand throughout its history.

Zero Halliburton also produces polycarbonate collections which complement the aluminum collection and mimic the look of classic aluminum. They are made for people that want the look of the aluminum, but lighter.

The company is now breaking into the travel retail market and exhibited at the 2018 TFWA World Exhibition for the second year, where the reception was great, according to Tom Nelson, President & CEO.

“Our business in duty free is really just starting,” he tells Americas Duty Free. “I have been with the company for one year. My mission is essentially rebranding, updating Zero Halliburton, and expanding it more. Travel retail is a channel I am very familiar with as I come from a background with Tumi. Travel retail is spot-on for our brand – since we are, from our origin, designed for travelers - and a central part of our growth plans.”

Zero Halliburton generates 80% of its primary domestic business in Asia. The company is owned by a Japanese firm named ACE, which is the largest luggage manufacturer in Japan and has great distribution strength in the Japanese market.

Half of the brand’s business today is in the Japanese market, while 25% is in other Asian markets such as Hong Kong, China, Singapore, and South East Asia. The rest comes from the Americas, Middle East and “a sprinkling” in Europe, said Nelson.

Plans for 2019 are to launch new products with a modern, updated design and expand the brand awareness, as Nelson explains: “Despite the fact that we are an 80-year-old brand, we are still relatively unknown in our market segment, which is the premium end, where we feel there is tremendous opportunity. We are starting from today from a relatively modest base and believe we can increase that over the years.”

The brand’s target consumer is typically more skewed towards men, but it is looking to appeal to women more with the new designs.

Over the next five years 60% of its consumers will be male and 40% will be female, he said.

The target customer is a frequent traveler who is entrepreneurial or pioneering in their pursuits and seeks a distinctive brand. “We are certainly not a mass brand; we are more of a niche brand,” says Nelson.

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