Rob Law MBE is the founder and CEO of Trunki, the innovative brand behind the much loved children’s ride-on suitcase. The company has been a game changer in retail; creating a new retail category of Children Travel Products and offers a whole range of innovative solutions that help families on the go.
While the road to success was not a quick or easy one, Rob’s Bristol-based company now turns over in excess of £8m a year and a Trunki suitcase is sold every minute. In just seven years of trading, the company’s reach expanded to 97 countries across the world with all Trunki creations designed in England, and the suitcase being manufactured at the company’s UK factory in Plymouth.
Since Trunki launched in May 2006, the company has sold 2.8 million suitcases in 100 countries with consumers spending over £100 million on his brand. Trunki employs 30 people at its Bristol head office and a further 44 people at its manufacturing and distribution facility in Plymouth.
Rob Law’s story...
An inventor and successful entrepreneur, Rob Law studied Product Design at Northumbria University where he first came up with the concept for his ride-on suitcase in 1997. When asked to design luggage as part of his course, his “Eureka!” moment came when he couldn't find much inspiration in the luggage section of his local department store, finding himself wandering into the children's section and spotted ride-on toys. The rest is history; the children’s Trunki suitcase was born!
Rob is a wonderful example of perseverance. When he first set about pitching his idea it was rebuffed by toy companies insisting his product was luggage and luggage companies maintaining it was a toy! After putting his plans on hold and going travelling, Rob returned to the UK in 2002 and at once turned his attention to securing funds for Trunki’s licence.
Rob Law’s first real success was in being awarded a grant from The Prince’s Trust and in finding a licensee for his product. However, this early success was to be short-lived as the licensee went bankrupt, so Rob took out a £10,000 loan to start producing Trunki himself. He suffered several major setbacks including faulty production, the bankruptcy of a crucial supplier and terror alerts resulting in a ban on aeroplane hand luggage. Yet Rob refused to give in!
In 2006, Rob’s luck looked set to change when he appeared on the BBC’s Dragons’ Den but, despite a promising start, a strap broke on one of the cases causing all the investors to walk away. In response to this disaster, Rob added a survey to his company website, inviting customers to leave suggestions and feedback. Despite his on-screen calamity, positive comments and orders flooded in. Rob secured an interview with the John Lewis Luggage Department and Trunki’s fortunes took an upward turn.
The company has now won over 100 awards from the consumer, trade, toy, design and business sectors; its most prestigious accolade being named SME of the Year at the National Business Awards in 2012. On New Year’s Day 2011, Rob Law was awarded an MBE for “services to business”, and went on to receive an honorary degree of Doctor of Engineering from Bath University in 2015. In 2018 Rob was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Business Administration from UWE.