Jewellery

Meet The Founder Of One Of Meghan Markle’s Favourite Luggage Brands

London: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex leave Windsor Castle in Ascot Landau carriage during a procession after getting married at St Georges ChapelGetty

A former corporate lawyer, Sonja Salmon had clocked a lot of travel miles. But what she couldn’t understand was why there wasn’t a suitcase on the market that catered to the way she packed and travelled. What she wanted was a stylish carryon with an obvious place to put all the things she always packed and needed – toiletries, shoes, lingerie, jewellery, and of course dirty clothes as the trip progressed. Also a case that kept everything slick and neat for that dreaded moment if your bag is flagged and rifled through at security for all the world to see. She spoke to real women, ran focus groups, and out of that created her signature piece the Quartermaster. The Canadian-born brand has grown from strength-to-strength since launching five years ago, including picking up some pretty famous followers along the way. We spoke with Sonja to hear all about how she’s created her cult travel brand Ebby Rane.

1. I know Meghan Markle has called it “the most efficient piece of carry-on luggage” -What was the moment like when you got that coverage? Did you know it was coming?

There is a bit of serendipity in our press coverage including Meghan Markle. She wrote about The Quartermaster when she had a blog called The Tig, when she was an actress on Suits. From the moment her relationship with Prince Harry became public, years later, that quote has been pulled by many different media publications. It’s the gift that keeps on giving! Interestingly, her mother, Doria Ragland was photographed with The Quartermaster and Valise on her way to the Royal wedding and once again on another trip to London. It’s definitely a bonus to have our product associated with the most watched woman in the world… and her mother!

2. What has the “Markle” effect on the business been?

We are grateful for the exposure. Whenever that quote is picked up, we see a surge in visitors to our website. There is no question that it is beneficial to our business to have someone with such elegant and refined style associated with our brand.

Sonja M. Salmon, Founder, Ebby Rane with a selection of the brand’s rangeCourtesy of Ebby Rane

3. Tell me about the design process behind the Ebby Rane collection?

I designed our signature product, The Quartermaster and then brought it to life with the help of some very talented people. After years of traveling for work and frustrated by the carry-on options available to me, one day I drew out what I always wished for in a suitcase. I found it remarkable that no one had ever addressed the differences in the way women packed and traveled, and I knew I was not alone. I started within my professional network and shared The Quartermaster concept to see the response of other business women and the response was overwhelming! I had a rough prototype made and held a focus group in New York to share the vision for Ebby Rane. From that moment, I knew I was onto something. Today, everyone in our team influences the design process. We’ve started to include customers as well, opening a virtual “design studio”, where they can get a sneak peak of what we have in the works and provide feedback.

[“source=forbes]