Samsonite International is the world’s largest travel luggage company. This brand has been around for more than 100 years and has had difficulties, but it always overcame it’s difficulties by coming out stronger than ever before. Founded in 1910 by Jesse Shwayder, Samsonite first begun business as a truck manufacturing company. Throughout the course of their successful business, the brand would obviously develop a reputation for producing quality and innovative luggage pieces. The brand has a variety of luggage styles that are certain to satisfy almost any traveler. Samsonite’s primary industry focus is to produce luggage, business and computer bags, outdoor and casual bags and travel accessories. Though Samsonite is the company’s most popular brand, it also owns other luggage brands such as American Tourister, High Sierra, Haltmann, Lipault and Speck.
Before founding Samsonite, Jesse Shwayder worked successfully as a salesman in New York. A Colorado native, Shwayder longed to not only return home, but to also pursue his dream to open a business. So, Shwayder went back home and that is how Samsonite was founded. Through a lot of hard work, Jesse and his brothers partnered together to create the successful company that is easily recognized today. By 1918, the brothers were finally able to nationally market one of their quality suitcases for the very first time. For the next eleven years, they would continue to experience many business triumphs as their revenue rose to over 1 million dollars. However, with the infamous stock market crash of 1929 that led to 10 years of the Great Depression, Samsonite would suffer a few setbacks.
The Shwayder brother’s truck shipments dropped by fifty percent in only a couple of years time. People were struggling financially and did not have the time or money to think of purchasing new luggage for vacations. So in 1931, to account for the lack of sales, the brothers turned their attention away from luggage and changed their company name to Shwayder Brothers, Inc. They soon began manufacturing a variety of products such as license plates, card tables, stilts, doggie dinettes and sandboxes.
However, the Shwayder brothers had not come to their end in the luggage industry. They were able to survive the Great Depression and by the 1930′s, their company was considered to be the most modern luggage brand. In 1939, a new and exciting piece of luggage was introduced that Jesse called ‘the Samsonite’. In fact, this is how the company obtained it’s current well-known name. This unique piece had a sturdy fiber coating and was comprised of leather bounding, and it soon became a classic to the luggage industry.
Due to the outbreak of World War II in 1941, the company was forced to quit producing luggage temporarily. With more material needed for producing war materials, the country could not afford to use those materials on luggage. After the war, the brothers were able to sell 7 million dollars worth of luggage one year after the war had ended. They had gained new skills and awareness during the war and began to produce their luggage pieces using new synthetic materials. At this time, the brothers split their company into two divisions: luggage and steel/folding furniture. (more…)