Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Maggie Gerth. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Alright, Maggie thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. What sort of legacy are you hoping to build. What do you think people will say about you after you are gone, what do you hope to be remembered for?
The legacy I hope to achieve with Props Luggage is that the leg system is now a part of most suitcases. Just as we cannot remember cases without wheels, I hope this is the same disruption or enormous change in the industry. The other legacy I hope to achieve is on a much smaller scale but as important to me. I am a mother to four daughters, and I hope from this experience that they realize whatever they dream, they can achieve. We watch to see what our children do with their lives, and they are also watching to see what we do with ours. No matter what happens with Props, I do believe it has been an amazing experience for all of us.
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers
I am a mother to four grown daughters. When they were young, traveling and hotel rooms were always chaos. Six people and one luggage rack. I was always trying to find ways to organize the packing experience and make family trips more relaxing. Finally, it occurred to me, if the bags were not always on the floor, it would be so much easier. Seemed so obvious. The Props idea was born. It was years before I finally decided to act on this idea. With the encouragement and support of my husband, I set off on my Props journey, having absolutely no experience in this industry. I began assembling a team and venturing into design.
It wasn’t until the first prototype arrived that I realized my idea had legs-literally. The case was set up in our family room, instinctively I put my laptop on the propped-up case and began to work. I realized then that this solved more than one travel issue. Props could make your travel more productive, in addition to more organized.
After several years, designs and prototypes, Props was just about to hit production, when the pandemic hit. While the travel industry took a hit, we used this opportunity to further refine Props into the product you see today.
I am incredibly proud of the case. I never wanted to launch until I knew it was a really good product that people would recognize its value. I believe that is true and am so excited that it is finally here and ready to ship to customers. I now understand the statement “If it were easy, everyone would do it”. There was nothing easy about this process, but I would not change a thing.
Let’s talk about resilience next – do you have a story you can share with us?
There are so many moments in my experience that I had to be resilient and continue to push forward. So many times, that I could have thought this is my sign to give up. Perhaps the biggest one for me was developing this new incredible suitcase with a leg-system and travel comes to a halt for years. Covid had a tremendous impact on so many aspects of my development and not in a good way. But I knew this was a good idea and strangely, I never once thought about giving up. Now people are ready to get out there and travel, so I believe the timing of my launch is perfect.
Have you ever had to pivot?
Once I made the decision to move ahead with my idea of a case with a leg-system, a design engineer was hired. An entire year was spent working on the original leg-system, only to have the prototype arrive and it was a complete failure. That was extremely disheartening and one of the major pivots made through this process. We had to begin the process all over starting with a new engineer. I had listened to enough podcasts on entrepreneurs to know this was all part of it. This was the first of many redesigns that would occur over the years.
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