World-renowned luxury luggage brand, RIMOWA, is celebrating its 125th anniversary with a global exhibition, new collaborations, and an even better customer experience. Retail Mashup takes a memory walk to the iconic brand’s rich history, its contribution to brand design, its customer experience excellence, and its future through enriched connections.
Table of Contents
Introduction – RIMOWA’s Rich History
What is RIMOWA?
RIMOWA is a luxury luggage manufacturer founded in Cologne, Germany, in 1898. The company is known for its iconic aluminum suitcases with parallel grooves, which are both durable and lightweight. RIMOWA luggage is also known for its high quality and craftsmanship, with each suitcase being carefully assembled by hand.
The brand was founded by Paul Morszeck, a locksmith who began making wooden suitcases. In 1937, Morszeck’s son Richard introduced the first aluminum suitcase, which was inspired by the design of the Junkers F13 aircraft. The aluminum suitcase was a revolutionary product at the time, and it quickly became popular among travelers for its durability and lightweight construction.
After World War II, RIMOWA began to produce luggage for international air travel. The company’s suitcases were used by celebrities and dignitaries alike, and RIMOWA became a symbol of luxury and style.
RIMOWA’s Biggest Milestones
1937: Morszeck’s son Richard introduces the first aluminum suitcase, which is inspired by the design of the Junkers F13 aircraft.
The 1970s: It introduced the Tropicana collection of waterproof luggage.
In the 1990s: It became a symbol of luxury and style.
2016: It was acquired by the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton group.
2023: It is celebrating its 125th anniversary with a retrospective exhibition titled “SEIT 1898.”
Today, it is one of the most prestigious luggage brands in the world. The company’s suitcases are used by travelers from all walks of life, from business professionals to celebrities to royalty.
What Makes RIMOWA Special?
Over many decades, RIMOWA prided itself on high product quality, high product durability, iconic designs, and customer experience. These characteristics allow the company to establish its value with its customer base expecting the best product and service in the industry.
The company’s products are made with the finest materials and craftsmanship. It was the first brand to use aluminum as a material that contributed to distinctive and lightweight designs. Each suitcase is carefully assembled by hand. Today, the brand extends to a polycarbonate blend to create a lower price point without sacrificing quality.
The company’s aluminum suitcases with parallel grooves are instantly recognizable. It also uses a unique manufacturing process that creates a seamless bond between the aluminum and the grooves. The design is both functional and stylish, and it has become a symbol of luxury and style.
The iconic groove design is instantaneous recognizable Source: RIMOWA
Today, the brand offers a wide range of other luggage products, including polycarbonate suitcases, backpacks, and carry-on bags. It also has a line of lifestyle products, such as watches, sunglasses, and wallets.
The company’s brand of luggage is used by travelers from all walks of life, including celebrities, dignitaries, and royalty. The brand is associated with luxury, travel, and adventure. Many airlines including Thai Airways, All Nippon Airways, EVA Air, and Lufthansa have collaborated with the brand to create their premium-class amenity kits.
Lufthansa and RIMOWA collaborated on a series of premium amenities kits for passengers traveling in business and first class over the years (Source: RIMOWA/Lufthansa)
The company has a distinct advantage over its competitors by offering one of the best customer experiences globally. It is one of the few in the world to offer a lifetime warranty. Each piece of luggage takes 90 steps to make. Its components fit have high precision and can be repaired and remade around the world. Similar to Apple, anyone can bring their RIMOWA luggage to any store around the world and receive service (including repairs).
If a store is not nearby, the brand also has a hotel repair service at participating luxury hotels globally. The service is free for customers with damaged luggage.
Personal shopping and luggage personalization are also key cornerstones of the brand’s commitment and attentiveness to customer needs. It is easy to make an appointment to meet with a personal shopper who can assist with meeting travel needs. There are also stickers, custom text, and initials that could be tagged on to make any piece hyper-personalized.
Here are some testimonials from RIMOWA customers:
“RIMOWA customer service is the best I have ever experienced. They are always willing to go the extra mile to help me with my luggage needs.”
“I had a problem with my RIMOWA suitcase while I was traveling, and the hotel repair service was amazing. They had my suitcase repaired and back to me in less than 24 hours.”
“I love the RIMOWA personal shopping service. My personal shopper helped me find the perfect luggage for my needs, and she even helped me get a discount.”
“I had my RIMOWA suitcase personalized with my initials, and it looks amazing. It’s a great way to add a personal touch to my luggage.”
RIMOWA “SEIT 1898” Exhibition
The brand is celebrating its 125th anniversary with a retrospective exhibition titled “SEIT 1898.” It is free to attend and showcases over 100 archive cases, telling the story of the company’s evolution from its humble beginnings in Cologne, Germany, to its current status as one of the world’s leading luggage brands.
SEIT 1898 Exhibition Source: RIMOWA
The exhibition explores the cultural and technological forces that have shaped RIMOWA’s design and innovation over the years. It will also feature experimental artistic partnerships, rarely-seen privately owned cases, collaborations with iconic brands, unique purpose pieces, and items that mark milestone advancements.
“SEIT 1898” comes at a fitting time to reflect on what it means to move. After an unprecedented pause in global travel, destinations have finally returned to our calendars. The exhibition considers the many departures of the past that still define the present, and how RIMOWA has been a trusted companion for travelers on every journey.
The exhibition made stops in Tokyo, Japan (June 2023) and New York City, United States (September 2023). It will next travel to Shanghai, China before returning to its birthplace of Cologne, Germany. This is a unique opportunity to learn about the rich history and heritage of RIMOWA, and to see up close the iconic luggage used by travelers from all walks of life for over 125 years.
A visit from the exhibition in Tokyo (Source: YouTube/Matt From Tokyo)
The future is bright for RIMOWA. The brand continues to build on its core values of excellent product innovation, product quality, and customer experience. In addition, it has continued to collaborate with other brands to bring a fresh take on products. In 2022, it worked with Porsche on a limited-edition Hand-Carry Case Pepita that was well received and sold out.
In 2023, ahead of the holiday season, RIMOWA is partnering with LVMH staple mate, TIFFANY & Co. to bring a new line. While very little is known at this stage, this collaboration is already getting significant attention from luxury shoppers and fashion enthusiasts.
A teaser video was released on September 19, 2023, showcasing the limited edition collaboration that would be released in select countries on September 26, 2023.
The new RIMOWA and TIFFANY & Co. collaboration teaser video Source: YouTube
RIMOWA and TIFFANY & Co. embarks on a once in a lifetime collection that is gathering significant interests from luxury shoppers. The items are priced from US$2,250 TO $4,875 and will be available at select RIMOWA and TIFFANY and Co. stores. They will not last. Source: RIMOWA
Over the years, RIMOWA’s iconic designs and craftsmanship have been adopted by other luggage brands. To stay on top, it will need to invest additional resources to maintain its leadership position in best-in-class customer experience, innovations, and sales channels.
Five years ago, it worked with Lufthansa on a new format that embeds a digital baggage tag into the case itself. While the innovation was ahead of its time, the industry and customers may be ready within the next five years to adopt a digital approach to baggage tags.
The brand also introduced a dedicated mobile application for its partnership with MONCLER. The app was designed to build on digital engagement.
With the foundation in place, RIMOWA should introduce the technology to all its customers so that the brand can extend its digital presence with shopping, repair updates, partnership awareness, sticker creation, and beyond. While in-person store experiences will always take precedence, the digital experience will solidify customer relationships with younger demographics looking for inspiration and community.
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